East Hampton's Most Expensive Election Ever

As East Hampton Town’s re-elected supervisor and town board members prepare to be sworn in next week for new terms, the book is mostly closed on the 2015 election season here — the most expensive one in the town’s history.

Total election spending in East Hampton Town topped $650,000, according to campaign finance reports filed with the New York State Board of Elections, and that does not include spending by the East Hampton Town Republican Committee in the final weeks of the campaign. The last reports of the election year, covering Oct. 20 through Nov. 26, were due at the end of November, but as of Tuesday the Republican Committee had not yet filed its final report. (The committee filed that report on Jan. 13; details can be found in an update at the end of this story.)

Even without those numbers, records show that the Republican candidates for town supervisor and town board — Tom Knobel, Lisa Mulhern-Larsen, and Margaret Turner — and the committees supporting them spent nearly $414,000 on the campaign. Well over half of that came from the East Hampton Leadership Council, which was bankrolled almost exclusively by YGB Holdings, an anonymous limited liability company with an address at 767 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. YGB put $257,000 toward the effort to oust the Democratic incumbents. Another L.L.C., MLFC, which lists an address at 546 Fifth Avenue, gave the Leadership Council $25,000.

The Leadership Council threw its money equally behind Mr. Knobel, Ms. Turner, and Ms. Mulhern-Larsen, allocating almost $87,000 for each candidate, much of which was spent on a blitz of 11th-hour campaign mailings.

Ms. Turner and Ms. Mulhern-Larsen each had their own campaign committees. Mr. Knobel did not. All three received additional financial support from the East Hampton Town Republican Committee.

The Democrats — Supervisor Larry Cantwell, Peter Van Scoyoc, and Sylvia Overby — and the committees backing them spent almost $240,000 on the 2015 election. The bulk of Democrats’ spending came from Campaign 2015, the party’s main campaign committee. Mr. Cantwell had his own committee, which spent $50,820, as did Ms. Overby, but her spending was minimal. The East Hampton Town Democratic Committee spent modestly between July and November, but funneled some spending through Campaign 2015. Democrats also got a slight boost from the East Hampton Conservators, a political action committee, and the Quiet Skies Coalition PAC.

Among individual contributors, the Democrats’ heavy hitters between July and November were Katherine Rayner, who gave $16,000, and Janet Ross ($10,000), both of East Hampton and New York City; Anna Gilchrest of Wainscott ($10,000), David Gruber of East Hampton (just under $10,000), and Alec Baldwin of Amagansett and New York ($7,500).

The biggest contributors to the Republicans’ cause were Donald R. Mullen, a part-time East Hampton resident ($47,300), and others who share his West 47th Street address including Anne and Isabelle Mullen ($5,000 each), and the limited liability companies MVRE III, Wilson Ridge Properties, FREI, MFLC, VREI, and MFLC ($5,000 each). In all, $87,300 flowed from 114 West 47th Street into the Republican election effort in East Hampton Town.

MVRE II, with an address of 546 Fifth Avenue, and MVRE, with an address at 15 Brewster Road in Newark, gave $5,000 each, as did HeliFlite Shares, which shares a Newark hangar building with MVRE.

Bonnie Krupinski of East Hampton gave the Republican Committee $15,000 in the home stretch of the campaign. Other top donors to the East Hampton G.O.P. from July onward were David Heller ($10,000), a retired Goldman Sachs executive; Marc Spilker of Garden City and East Hampton ($10,000), president of the private equity firm Apollo Management, and Andy Sabin of Amagansett ($10,000).
Update, Feb. 26, 2016: The East Hampton Town Republican Committee filed its final campaign finance disclosure reports for the 2015 election on Jan. 13. The party reported raising $45,099 between Oct. 20 and late November.

The largest donation during that time came from the Helicopter Tourism and Jobs Council of Scottsdale, Az., which gave $16,000 to the East Hampton Republicans on Oct. 26. Although the New York State Board of Elections requires that any contribution or loan in excess of $1,000 that is received less than 11 days before the election be reported within 24 hours, this contribution was not reported until Jan. 13.  

The second largest contributor during that period was Ben Krupinski. The Republican Committee reported that he gave $15,000 on Oct. 26. Although this contribution was also not included in the 24-hour notices, one for the same amount by Mr. Krupinski's wife, Bonnie Krupinski, was reported in the final days before the election and does not appear on the final disclosure report.

The Republican Committee paid out just over $46,000 in the final days leading up to the election and the weeks following it. It transfered $29,000 to the Friends of Amos Goodman to aid in his unsuccessful bid for county legislator, $3,000 to Lisa Mulhern-Larsen's campaign for town board, and $2,000 to Margaret Turner's town board campaign.