Class Warfare: Billionaires vs. Millionaires
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Ira Rennert's enclave
The Hamptons’ life of luxury has devolved into upper-class warfare replete with battles over helicopters and gargantuan mansions.
In what’s been billed as the (moneyed) fight of the century, as reported by Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones, billionaire Ira Leon Rennert has thoroughly ticked off his millionaire neighbors, who have banded together to stop him from using a very large (Sikorsky S-92) helicopter to commute from Manhattan to Sagaponack.
Leader of the opposition is millionaire Frank Dalene, founder and CEO of a successful luxury homebuilding company, whose Quiet Skies Coalition accuse Rennert of noise and air pollution, as well as exacerbating global warming.
It was Dalene who said Rennert was “practicing class warfare,” claiming the helicopter noise was like throwing “garbage on the other side of the tracks for us poor folks to live with.”
Rennert’s helicopter delivers him home to the third-largest private home in the United States consisting of an 110,000-square-foot villa complex that sprawls across 63 acres. The colossus represented the first battle between the billionaire (estimated worth: $5.4 billion) and the millionaire locals who fought unsuccessfully to halt the home’s construction.
Rennert is no stranger to controversy. His career on Wall Street has involved junk bonds, bankruptcies, polluting the environment (some of his companies include smelters that have covered nearby areas in lead and sulfur dioxide), and war profiteering, according to Harkinson.
Upper-Class Warfare in the Hamptons (by Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones)
Class Warfare Gone Wild: Billionaire Fights Millionaires in the Hamptons (by Bill Berkowitz, BuzzFlash)
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