In perhaps one of the most bizarre stories ever to come out of Riverhead, the mystery surrounding a man who called himself Beach Boy Mike Love continues to grow.
On Monday night, friends of the Riverhead woman who said she was told by a man who called himself Mike Love to take the stage at the event and say that she would be on "American Idol," came forward to defend her reputation.
Wesolowski, said her friend Caitlin Padeletti, of Riverhead, never meant to "mislead" anyone. "She's got a lot of heart," Padeletti said.
Padeletti came forward to recall the zany events of Sunday, as she remembered them. Both she and Wesolowski were volunteering to raise money for a non-profit organization at the boat races, manning a booth and selling waters and sodas along with Padeletti's mom, Cindy Padeletti, who worked for a time in Riverhead law enforcement.
According to Caitlin, a man came up to the booth and asked for water, explaining he was diabetic and couldn't have a sugary drink. Padeletti offered him a seat inside the tent so he could get out of the hot sun.
"I'm Mike Love," Padeletti said he told her. Padeletti, 20, did not immediately recognize the famous name. But then, he told her he was a member of the Beach Boys; she initially told him she didn't believe him.
Padeletti said "Love" showed her a New York State driver's license -- a photo ID -- and a business card with contact information. "He wasn't creepy in the least," she said.
Once "Love" saw her friend Wesolowski, whom Padeletti said is "beautiful," she said he took an interest in her.
According to Cindy Padeletti, "Love" asked Wesolowski if she had a boyfriend.
"Love," the Padelettis said, told them that "American Idol" was "rigged," and that one needn't have a good voice to win -- only to be beautiful -- and that they had equipment to alter a voice to improve its quality.
The story, they agreed, was just believable enough. So much so that Cindy Padeletti took a photo with "Love" and got his autograph. And so much so that they could understand why Wesolowski might get swept away by the excitement of the moment.
"Who would turn down a a chance to be on national television and earn a lot of money?" she asked.
Still, Padeletti said, she was surprised to see Wesolowski, who is "shy," and doesn't sing -- although she studied dance for years -- take the stage.
After the moment when Wesolowski announced to the crowd that they'd have to watch "American Idol" to hear her sing, Padeletti said, her friend didn't come back to the booth. A while later, Wesolowski texted her to say she'd left something in her car; the friends agreed to meet at Wesolowski's house.
"Mike drove her home in this beat-up, turquoise car," Padeletti said. Wesolowski's parents, she added, became nervous and worried about the stranger who had driven their daughter home.
The entire situation, Padeletti said, was zany. "This guy was with us for several hours," she siad. "It wasn't just a passing 15 minutes of weird. This was a whole day event."
Some moments raised suspicion, Padeletti said, such as when some called the man "Rusty," leading them to wonder if he was, in fact, former child actor Rusty Stevens from "Leave it to Beaver."
Despite the doubts, Padeletti said she did not believe "Love" was dangerous. "I don't think he had any ill intentions or would hurt anyone -- or intended to scam anyone," she said.
After media reports made it seem as though her friend, Wesolowski, meant to deceive the Riverhead public, Padeletti said she decided to speak out. While she admits her friend may have been "naive," she says the whole situation was, "funny, and freaky," but that Wesolowski was there on Sunday to volunteer, not to grab the spotlight or make headlines.
Cindy Padeletti agreed. Wesolowski, she said, "was not trying to draw attention to herself. She was there as a volunteer -- she's a good girl."
As for "Love," both are still not sure if he's a Beach Boy, a former "Beaver" star -- or just a misguided but benevolent imposter. "I still haven't ruled out the possibility that he is Mike Love," Padeletti siad. "He had the same chin, the same eyes."
Added her mom, "He was very charming and charismatic. And if it wasn't him, and I didn't really meet Mike Love -- well, it makes a good story."