An East End judge in Southold Town Justice Court has dismissed harassment charges against former Lutèce chef Eberhard Muller, co-owner of the organic Satur Farms in Cutchogue, said the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. But Justice William H. Price Jr. also rendered a 30-day protection order on Friday for a tenant who claimed Muller hit her during an August 3 dispute at an apartment building Muller owns in Greenport. Muller had pleaded "not guilty" to the charges.
Paulette Satur, Muller’s wife who was present during the incident, said today that her husband was "in a field in Florida," but continued to insist that he never laid hands on Araceli Domingo, one of Muller’s former tenants who filed a complaint against him with the Southold Police ten days after his purported abuse. "We did not go to our tenant’s apartment to collect rent that evening, we went to break up a fight," Satur said in a comment posted on Grub Street. "It was not the first time we were called to do so, but this time Araceli’s roommate called us hysterically crying that Araceli had pulled either a knife or a fork (Eberhard’s skill in Spanish is a bit lacking) out and threatened her during an argument. I usually handle this myself, but asked Chef to accompany me since dangerous kitchen cutlery was involved."
In a conversation with Grub Street today, Satur speculated on the nature of the assault charge. "Maybe she was insulted because Eberhard dressed her down" on August 3, Satur speculated. "Or maybe it was an easy way out of the (rent) money owed. ‘He hit me. Now I don’t owe him anything.’ I don’t know. But my husband is an honest man. He has more integrity than anyone I know. That’s why he isn’t in the restaurant business anymore."
Diana Gordon, a volunteer for the North Fork Spanish Apostolate who accompanied Domingo to the police station and was present in court Friday, regards the matter as a case "that fell through the cracks. The complainant didn’t get help quickly, the police were reluctant to file charges, and the complainant’s statement to the prosecution was not handled well. The outcome in the court does not reflect the events of August 3 as several people have reported them to me."