Homeowner Makes Big Donation To Protect Party Plans

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A wealthy Water Mill homeowner whose raucous parties have drawn complaints from his neighbors on numerous occasions in recent years was cited again on July 4 for noise violations because of a party—one that was allowed to proceed after the owner pledged to make a sizable charitable donation and curtail his celebratory activities in the future.

The homeowner, banker Marc Leder, pledged to make a $10,000 donation to Southampton Youth Services, post a $50,000 bond toward any potential fines from the party, and agree to not have any more large events at his estate this summer as part of a negotiated settlement with the town. In exchange, Mr. Leder was allowed to go ahead with his Independence Day bash despite not having required permits for a tent erected in his backyard, according to town officials.

The tent had been erected on the property early in the week. Representatives for Mr. Leder had applied for a requisite tent permit but it was turned down because the paperwork was deemed incomplete, Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato said this week.

Ms. Scarlato noted that since the party was to be attended by fewer than 100 people and was not a sponsored event, the town could not flatly prevent it from taking place. But a stop-work order was issued for the erection and use of the tent. An attorney for Mr. Leder, Edward Burke Jr., appealed to the town attorney’s office to allow the tent to remain, noting that it would help contain the noise that has been a major complaint of neighbors.

“When the permit was denied, we spoke to them about controlling the parking and the noise and, as part of a negotiated settlement, they agreed to not have any additional parties,” Ms. Scarlato said. She said that no permit for the tent was ever issued, but that a violation has not been issued, either.

Mr. Leder placed $50,000 in escrow as a bond against any fines he might incur as a result of the party. One noise violation was issued by town code enforcement officers because the party was still creating excessive noise after 11 p.m. An arrest at a nearby residence also apparently was associated with the party when a woman was charged with trespassing at a neighbor’s house, apparently having come to the wrong address.

Ms. Scarlato said the charitable donation did not weigh in the consideration of her office’s handling of the negotiation with Mr. Leder’s representatives.

“They volunteered the contribution to local charities—that has nothing to do with the town,” she said. “No matter what he did, if he’d offered nothing, we’d be in the same position today with regard to the disposition of this issue.”

Mr. Burke Jr., who is a board member of SYS and the son of Town Justice Edward Burke Sr., would not comment on the agreement between Mr. Leder and the town, nor the donation to the youth group.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that the consideration of a charitable donation is a caveat in the town’s special events permits, and while it is not required for private events, it is sometimes suggested by the town in instances where an applicant is seeking a late or rushed permit for a party.

“When these parties come in late or don’t have a permit, we ask that they make a donation to a local charity,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “It’s an effort to share the wealth, so to speak.”

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