East Hampton Goes Broke, Other Hamptons Shudder in Disgust

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Heading to East Hampton this weekend? Better be careful, you don't want to catch poor! We hear it's really been going around out there — it's so rampant that the town itself is infected! The municipality is likely to end the year with a $12 million deficit, and only has $900 in its bank account at the moment. That's not even one Hermès bag! East Hampton is hosting the big Water Mill benefit tomorrow night, and we have NO idea what it's going to wear.

The town — which encompasses Montauk, Amagansett, part of Sag Harbor, East Hampton Village, and Wainscott — received a loan last month from the State Legislature for $15 million to pay the debt off over ten years. But it's accused of financial mismanagement. Having one of the largest tax bases in the area (remember, Jerry Seinfeld, Sean Combs, Ron Perelman, Martha Stewart and Steven Spielberg have houses there), it should be flush with cash. But it's operated on a small-town level, with no comptroller and only a bookkeeper to keep track of everything.

This must be so awkward for Bridgehampton and Southampton, to see their neighbor cast into poverty and debt. They're going to see East Hampton at parties (if it still gets invited anywhere), on the beach, and even on the Jitney. What are they going to say? They're just going to have to start ignoring East Hampton and pretending that it isn't right there, right beside them. They'll have to start treating it like, gasp, West Hampton.

'LEA$T HAMPTON' IS GOING BROKE [NYP]