Myself, Wade St. Germain and my husband, RJ Baker are a married gay couple who own and operate 2 businesses on Main Street in Parksville, NY. Our attorney, civil rights lawyer, Michael Sussman is filing a lawsuit on our behalf against our neighbors who have waged a hate filled anti-gay campaign directed at ourselves, our businesses and our clients. The complaint states
“the defendants have engaged in a concerted pattern of harassment based upon sexual orientation and preference and repeated tortious acts of assault, battery, stalking and harassment.” We are raising funds to cover our legal costs.
In 2003, we bought the building at 36 Main Street in Parksville which we finally opened in 2015 as Beaverkill Studio, a green screen film studio. That same summer we purchased the building formerly known as Big Willie’s restaurant- where we served our wedding reception dinner after making our vows over at Beaverkill Studio. In the summer of 2016 we transformed the Big Willies’s into our own restaurant and music venue, Cabernet Frank’s.
Our wedding and opening of Beaverkill marked the onset of the harassment by our neighbors at 34 Main Street. Our neighbor states online “the bottom line is he will close if it takes every bit of my breast [sic] out of me I will make sure he closes I will take it to the grace [sic] that we will close that’s the last thing I do in my life I will make sure that motherfucker closes his restaurant.”
We have a full stay away order of protection. By law, he must stay away from myself and RJ as well as “the home of , the school of, the business of , place of employment of ….Refrain from communication or any other contact by mail, telephone, e-mail, voice-mail or other means. Refrain from assault, stalking, harassment, menacing, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, intimidation, threats or any criminal offense….
In November, 2018 he was found guilty in 2 separate trials; 1) for calling RJ a fa**ot and then head butting him and 2) for disorderly conduct, charging at a patron of the restaurant. He has yet to be sentenced. And still, he continues to harass us online, in person, our businesses and our customers.
Aside from the signs that he posts continuously accusing us of “killing stray cat with antifeez Don’t eat here” (sic) that are all over his property, and on the easement which is our property (!), on his car which he parks across from our front door. He calls the State Police regularly, the Sheriffs Dept, Health Dept, the Town Building Dept, the SLA (NYS liquor authority) and the DEC. His complaints have all been found to be without merit.
The restaurant has lost wait staff who are afraid of him, patrons who he intimidates when they are walking from their car to the restaurant, or from the constant barrage of police who respond to his unfounded complaints. Patrons and staff don’t want to be harassed when they are going for a fun night out, and some do not return. In spite of this, the restaurant still has a faithful following.
The studio however, which is located directly next door, cannot function as a business in this intimidating environment. The concept of Beaverkill Studio is a media production center where people can “shoot, edit and stay” providing a full working retreat for maximum production . Unfortunately, our neighbor videotapes friends, clients, potential clients, air bnb guests as well as delivery personnel who come in and out of the building . This aggression, along with the stalking, the taunting, the threats, the dog feces & cat litter thrown at our building, the lights aimed at us, the trespassing and the noise has discouraged our clientele.
Parksville is a small hamlet in the town of Liberty. One other business besides ours is currently operating on the Main Street. Beside the emotional and physical toll, this has created a large financial burden especially not being able to operate Beaverkill Studio as intended and so we must look to you for help. We want to stay in Parksville among our community of great friends, neighbors and customers; we will not be chased out by one neighbors’ relentless campaign of hate.
Any surplus funds raised will be used for a privacy fence and well lit parking lot.
Thanks for supporting music and artistic production in Parksville.