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10-Year Sagaponack Land Fight Ends with Deal of the Century

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An epic fight between a Sagaponack farmer and a land buyer may have finally come to a close, after a federal appeals court panel dealt a final blow last month. As the story goes, John C. White had struck a deal with attorney Anthony Petrello in 1998 to sell a 9.6 acre parcel of his 57 acres of land for $2.1 million in an effort to keep estate taxes on the farm down. Petrello had rented one of White's summer cottages and offered to assist White in estate planning and subdividing other parts of the land. By 2000, when the deal was ready to be finalized, the price of the land had soared to $16 million and White attempted to back out of the deal. Petrello sued (breach of contract). White countersued (fraud). And the fight has continued until the end of last month, when a Court of Appeals deemed White's charged of fraud to be unfounded, and orderedthat the contract be upheld. No comment from the White family and its attorney, but the only further action they could take would be to bring this to the United States Supreme Court, an unlikely outcome for a land parcel fight. Petrello may have just gotten himself the hardest-earned bargain on the East End.
· Sagaponack Farm Family Loses in Court [EH Star]