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The Dory ownership revealed: Jack Kiffer and Milen Planas listed as owners

No lawsuits have been filed affecting The Dory — which has been declared an unsafe structure by the Building Department — but it now appears several people are lined up to sue the Building Department, or long-time Dory operator Jack Kiffer.

The latest information to emerge revolves around a suit threatened by an owner of 49% of the Bridge Street bar and restaurant , according to legal papers signed by both Mr. Kiffer and Milen Planas.

In 2009, Mr. Kiffer and Ms. Planas signed an agreement that Ms. Planas would become a 49% owner of the business, the building and the land on which the structure sits.

Besides naming Ms. Planas as a 49% owner, the agreement, attested to by attorneys and notaries, states if either of the principals were to die, the other would become a 100% owner. They also provide that if the Dory is sold, Ms. Planas would receive a 1% addition to her holdings and become an equal partner with the new owner, or be compensated for her half of the profits.

In a letter from New York City attorney Max Leifer sent to Doug Cabral of Excelsior Realty in Bohemia — real estate agent for Mr. Kiffer — Mr. Leifer established himself as Ms. Planas’ lawyer, referring to her as “co-owner of the restaurant by having shares in both the restaurant and land upon which the restaurant is located.”

He warned that “any sale or transfer will be deemed fraudulent and a lawsuit will be brought for damages.” Mr. Leifer advised Mr. Cabral to advise any potential purchaser of the property of the “pending inappropriate transfer.”

Ms. Planas is an Ethiopian woman who came to the United States and settled in the Washington, D.C.-Maryland area before moving to New York. She first came to Shelter Island in 2000 and by 2002 was working at the Dory, she said.

“I did everything from washing toilets, washing floors, handling food preparation and accepting deliveries of food and liquor,” she said in an interview  with the Reporter.

She loved the restaurant and bar, she said, and had a vision of what it could be with, “Good food, good drinks and good music.” Mr. Kiffer agreed to a partnership, she said, and the Reporter has seen a document dated May 9, 2009 substantiating the agreement.

What also kept her at the Dory for eight years were the friendships she made, she said, mentioning Herb and Yvonne Loenig, long-time proprietors of the nearby Belle Crest Inn, and the Piccozzi family. She loved the people of Shelter Island but through friends secured a job as a sous chef aboard a yacht.

When the Soloviev Group expressed interest in purchasing the property, Ms. Planas said she was pleased, but eventually the deal fell apart.