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Part owner of Dory seeks Shelter Island Town’s help: Claims on ownership disputed

Milen Planas, the owner of a 49% stake in The Dory restaurant and bar on Bridge Street, has sent a letter to the Town Board asking for assistance in correcting violations that have banned use of the building since August 2021.

The ban was issued by former senior building inspector Chris Tehan, who posted it as unsafe in the wake of a fire in the building that month. Mr. Tehan cited concerns about electrical conditions, Which were confirmed on May 11, 2023 by current Senior Building Inspector Reed Karen.

Maintaining that she is a co-owner of the property, Ms. Planas said in her letter to the Board that the building has “fallen into disrepair due to disagreements with my business partner.” That would be Jack Kiffer, who operated The Dory for many years. He entered into an agreement with Ms. Planas giving her the 49% ownership while he retained 51% of the corporation.

Those certificates were dated June 1, 2009. An agreement was signed by both parties the month before, providing that a business partner who outlived the other would gain 100% of the corporation. It further provided that The Dory could not be sold without agreement from both partners and, that in the event of a sale, the 49% Ms. Planas holds would increase to 50%, meaning each partner would own 50%.

The Reporter is in possession of copies of those documents.

Mr. Kiffer has tried to sell the Dory but has yet to consummate a deal.

Now, Ms. Planas has told the Town Board, “My desire is to improve the property and contribute to the community. I am passionate about the property and want to see it restored to its full potential. In doing so, it will be a thriving asset to our community.”

She said she is interested in working with the Town to identify code violations or areas where the property doesn’t meet Town regulations. “I am committed to collaborating with the Town to address these issues and bring the property up to Town standards,” Ms. Planas said.

She said she envisions several possibilities, including renovating it for commercial use either as a restaurant or other local businesses.

“Alternatively, it could possibly be transformed into a beautiful park, offering a green space for residents to enjoy,” Ms. Planas wrote. “My goal is to transform this property from an eyesore into a flourishing and positive addition to Shelter Island.  I am confident that with the town’s guidance, we can achieve this goal.”

She said she would be open to any suggestions and would make herself available to discuss the possibilities.

Building Inspector Karen said the Town would need proof of the majority ownership of The Dory before any permit could be issued or to take any action.

Ms. Planas had indicated earlier she would be filing a suit to stop Mr. Kiffer from ignoring the paper work showing her 49% holding in The Dory and the provisions limiting any sale of the property without her agreement.

Manhattan attorney Max Leifer and Southampton attorney Steven Altman are working on that filing together, Ms. Planas said.

 Mr. Kiffer has not responded to requests for comment.