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Wed, 09/09/2020 - 19:13

Editorial

It is a mark of extraordinary hubris that Jerry Larsen would seek to be mayor of a village that he does not even live in. Though he grew up in a house on Buell Lane in the village, he has had a house in Northwest Woods, way beyond the village line, for years. And, for all his ideas and promises, too many to count, it is difficult to assess just why he took on this difficult task. A notable misstatement about his current work may provide a clue.

Asked what he does for a living now that he is retired from the East Hampton Village Police Department, Mr. Larsen has repeatedly said he is the director of security for MacAndrews and Forbes, which is not true, and that he owns his own security company, which is true. He makes the same false claim in his biography on his NewTown Party website and in campaign handouts.

Ronald Perelman owns MacAndrews and Forbes, which is his holding company, and Mr. Larsen is not its “director of security” as he claims; someone else has that title on LinkedIn; a call and an email to the MacAndrews and Forbes press office was not immediately returned.

People seeking office exaggerate all the time, but it is also that Mr. Larsen is downplaying his role managing security at Mr. Perelman’s 57-acre Creeks estate. Why is a puzzle. We are concerned that he is Mr. Perelman’s Manchurian candidate, put up to it by the village’s largest taxpayer, one who has run afoul of building, zoning, and environmental regulations in more than one instance on his Georgica Pondfront property.

Mr. Perelman’s wealth has decreased from nearly $20 billion in 2018 to about $7 billion, according to Forbes, and he has been engaged in a personal and corporate selloff of some of his assets, including millions in art.

With a more compliant village leadership, he could be in an advantageous position should he decide to subdivide or otherwise prepare to put the Creeks — or parts of it — on the market.

Voters entrust elected officials with making good decisions on their behalf. If Mr. Larsen cannot even be trusted to be honest about who he works for, it sharply erodes the faith that East Hampton Village residents can put in him. One should be proud of one’s work, not try to hide it. When Mr. Larsen says he wants East Hampton to be a “village of ‘yes,’ ” what he may really be saying is “yes” to Mr. Perelman.

Our position on Tuesday’s choice of mayor is that residents who care about East Hampton Village must coalesce around Barbara Borsack. The other candidate, Arthur Graham, has risked throwing the election to Mr. Larsen by also seeking the job.

We have also endorsed David Driscoll and Ray Harden for village trustee. This is not to disparage any of the other candidates — they help complete arguably the best group of people seeking any local elected office in a long time. The village will be well served if they continue to be involved.


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