About a month after hosting a big Fourth of July bash—one that drew criticism that it was not the fundraiser it was purported to be—the Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina last week donated $8,000 to the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation, announcing that the sum was more than twice what was originally promised.
The resort presented the check last Wednesday. It later explained that it initially committed about $3,500 to the playhouse—roughly a dollar per $46 ticket sold—but ultimately decided it could give more based on its profit from the Shark Attack Sounds party on July 5.
“We decided that we were able to double the donation amount in order to benefit the Montauk community further,” Lloyd Van Horn, the resort’s general manager, said in a statement.
The Montauk Playhouse, which plans to use the funds toward the construction of a new aquatics center that will include a six-lane, 25-yard pool and community rooms, was chosen as the beneficiary because the yacht club wanted to support a local Montauk charity, and because the playhouse is family oriented, as Ben Watts—the party’s founder, a New York-based English photographer and the brother of actress Naomi Watts—has small children.
The party previously drew some heat because it had been described as a fundraiser for the playhouse in resolutions passed by the East Hampton Town Board approving its mass-gathering permit—when, in actuality, it was not a fundraiser.
“The party had a fundraising element to it, but it was not a fundraiser for the community. Just a portion of the proceeds were to go back into the community,” said Rebecca Kollaras, a spokeswoman for the resort. “It was a party. A big one.”
She added that the resort wanted to donate as much as possible to the community.
Maureen Rutkowski, the project director for the Montauk Playhouse, said her organization was thankful for the funds.
“We’re thrilled with the support of the yacht club,” she said last week. “I think they sort of got banged around in the press. They really came through with some wonderful support in the community.”
The playhouse’s goal is to raise the funds for its construction project by the end of 2014 and break ground soon thereafter, she said.
Shark Attack Sounds ran smoothly overall this year, in contrast to last year, when it was held at another venue in Montauk, and East Hampton Town Police shut it down early after too many revelers showed up.