Sophie Bubis’ epic 11-year battle to preserve what she believes is her right to sit on privately owned beach property—and to maintain an unimpeded ocean view from her home—has taken a toll on her finances, the Star-Ledger reports today.


Friends are planning a fundraiser to help the 83-year-old Loch Arbour resident, a retired bookkeeper whose savings have been nearly depleted by litigation with Jack Kassin, the owner of a beach club who has built a dune and taken other steps to block public access the beach. Bubis has had to take a job selling tickets at a movie theater to cover debts from legal fees, according to the story by reporter Maryann Spoto.

From the article:

Bubis said she has spent more than $200,000 in legal fees over the years. She paid some of that bill with the proceeds of the sale of her former home in Passaic, but had to take out a home equity loan and max out credit cards for the rest. She said her outstanding loans total about $90,000.

“I’m not broke, but it’s getting less and less,” Bubis said of her nest egg that she planned one day to leave to her son and daughter. “I’m spending their inheritance, but neither of them has said ‘Don’t do it.'”

… So now three days a week, for a total of 10 hours, Bubis can be found in the cashier’s booth at the Baronet Theatre in Asbury Park, earning $8 an hour. “Whatever I get, even if it’s not much, I’m trying to accumulate it. I’m putting it against my loan,” she said.

To help defray her debt, CRAB, the American Littoral Society and Asbury Radio are sponsoring a fund-raiser at Red Fusion restaurant in Asbury Park on Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. All the proceeds from the $20 tickets will go to Bubis.

Bubis isn’t roundly viewed as a champion of the public’s rights. The story notes that surfers’s rights and some environmental groups have stayed on the sidelines of her fight with Kassin. And William Rosenblatt, a former Loch Arbour mayor who is national chairman of the Surfrider Foundation, is quoted as saying that Bubis has used important public issues to camouflage what in essence is a private dispute between neighbors.

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