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Is Oceanfront Gem Sold?

Conor Berry | April 15, 1999

    Helmut Lang, the Austrian fashion magnate known for androgynous, utilitarian designs, and Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian known for an accessible, utilitarian brand of humor, had "no comment" on press reports that they had engaged in a bidding war over an Amagansett house that reportedly wasn't even on the market.

     The property, owned by Robin and Frederic Seegal since 1991, includes a more-than-modest colonial with a guest cottage and a large garage on five acres of rolling oceanfront in the Tyson compound off Further Lane, just outside East Hampton Village. The Seegals also live in Rye, N.Y.

     Elizabeth Clark, Mr. Seinfeld's Miramax spokeswoman, was quoted last month as saying, "Business is business," after a deal was reportedly made with Mr. Lang. She denied rumors that Jerry was brooding over the matter.

He Looked

     "He definitely looked at that house," Ms. Clark confirmed, adding that Mr. Seinfeld would continue hunting for the ultimate vacation house in Amagansett or Montauk.

     Teddy Kopoulos, the owner of Cafe on Main in Amagansett, confirmed that Mr. Seinfeld was a customer there "a few months back." He couldn't recall what Mr. Seinfeld ordered.

     "He came in for brunch with a young lady," said Mr. Kopoulos. "He said he was looking for a house in Montauk."

     Press reports have suggested that Mr. Seegal, a principal in the local radio stations WEHM and WBEA who is the president of the Wasserstein Perella Group, a Manhattan investment firm, was approached by a broker from the Tina S. Fredericks real estate agency in East Hampton on behalf of Mr. Seinfeld.

The Gem

     According to an article in The Star in the summer of 1997, the house, known as the Simons house, is considered the gem of the compound. It has a saltbox center section, circa 1940, and two newer wings. It was leased once to Barbra Streisand, while other buildings in the compound have been leased over the years to Ralph Lauren, Calvin and Kelly Klein, Jann Wenner, and Itzhak Perlman.

     Ms. Fredericks did not return calls and Mr. Seegal said he would neither confirm nor deny what had been reported elsewhere.

     A Miramax spokesman said, "Mr. Seinfeld appreciates the offer to participate in this story, but we're going to have to decline. Thanks anyway."

Fashion Force

     "Jerry likes people to fax their questions to him so he can answer them in person to cut down on miscommunications," said the spokesman. He would neither confirm nor deny that Mr. Seinfeld had offered Mr. Seegal a whopping $14.5 million before Mr. Lang, who is said to have used the same real estate broker, offered Mr. Seegal $1 million more.

     Mr. Lang, a force to be reckoned with in the fashion world, is poised to become a major player in the United States, according to those in the know, especially since signing a recent deal with Prada, the ultra high-end clothing and accessory line.

     All a spokeswoman at Mr. Lang's New York office would say is, "We don't comment on Mr. Lang's personal life."