Stay out of trouble or face assault charge, Hamptons builder told

Jeffrey Colle Warned In East Hampton Justice Court




Jeffrey Colle is seen here this past January leaving East Hampton Town Justice Court. Independent/T. E. McMorrow

If Jeffrey Colle, who designs and builds luxury homes in the Hamptons, is to build a new home on one of Andrew Saunders’ properties, he will have to practice more than social distancing on the job.

That is because on Thursday, East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana issued court order requiring Colle, a 68-year-old Wainscott resident, to stay away from Saunders, as well as his wife Colleen Saunders, for the next year.

The order of protection, called an OP in court parlance, was issued as part of a two-step process that will, if Colle stays out of trouble for the next year, result in the dismissal of the misdemeanor assault charge brought against him for an alleged attack at the East Hampton Grill in East Hampton the evening of October 4 of last year.

Saunders, 64, is the founder and president of Saunders & Associates, one of the powerhouse real estate brokerage firms in the Hamptons.

Last year, Saunders and his wife, along with the maître ‘d that evening, all told police that the couple were about to be seated that evening, when Colle walked up to Saunders and, without warning, kneed him in his upper thigh, then stepped away saying, sarcastically, “Sorry.” Saunders is said to have responded by striking Colle across his face, after which Colle, who is much taller than Saunders, knocked his glasses off, breaking them, police were told.

At that point, Colleen Saunders told police, she and a couple of employees stepped between the two men. Colle “angrily screamed, ‘Your husband is a dirt bag,’ ” Colleen Saunders said in her statement, adding that Colle followed that with a stream of obscenities.

The maître ‘d told police that Colle was escorted out of the restaurant and was told “he was not welcome to dine at the restaurant anymore.”

Andrew Saunders also told police that it was not the first time Colle had physically confronted him on the East Hampton Grill property. He said that a week earlier, Colle had accosted him in the parking lot, squeezing his arm, causing Saunders pain. “He then asked me for money he claims I owe him,” Saunders told police.

A violation of an order of protection can result in a new charge at the misdemeanor level, or, depending on the circumstances, a felony, Justice Rana told Colle. She then asked the builder if he understood the order. Colle replied that he did. The OP also demands that Colle have no third-party contact with Saunders and his wife.

The case is scheduled to be dismissed on August 19, 2021 as long as Colle has no more brushes with the law.

t.e@indyeastend.com