Probation, order to pay back taxes and fine for Island couple

James and Linda Eklund, owners of the Chequit and Ram’s Head inns, were each placed on probation for three years Friday after pleading in February to misdemeanor charges of failing to report required information on a tax return. Felony charges that had been brought against the couple in 2010 were dropped.

The Eklunds were each fined $7,500 and ordered to pay up to $63,400 in back taxes by July. That amount could be reduced because Judge Denis Hurley, sitting in Federal Court in Central Islip, gave them time to negotiate a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service.

“There was a dramatic outpouring of support” from Shelter Island friends of the Eklunds, according to their attorney, Peter J. Tomao, of Garden City.

He said the probation department had recommended community service, but Judge Hurley said that would be superfluous since both Eklunds already render a great amount of service to the community. Ms. Eklund is a member of the Shelter Island Board of Education while Mr. Eklund serves on Waterways Management Advisory Committee. They both also have volunteered and donated to support many Island causes.