As those of you familiar with the mating, social, and land-acquiring habits of the uber-rich know, when it comes to Hamptons real estate, this subset of the population holds two guiding principles close to its heart: one, thou shall not block my view, and two, I don't cross other people's properties to get to the beach. This isn't Daytona. Marc Helie knows what we're talking about.
The battle royale began after Suffolk -- which acquired the wooded ribbon of land in 2003 for nonpayment of taxes -- tried to sell the 1,885-foot-long 1 foot wide strip of land in Napeague to any of the six adjoining land owners for $10. Four of the owners didn't respond to the offer to submit a bid but the other two were so interested the county set up a face-to-face auction and imposed a $1,500 minimum bid. When Marc Helie [of Chevalier Investments] and Kyle N. Cruz [a managing director at Centerbridge Partners LP] showed up with checks for $1,500 and the title to their properties on May 30, they were escorted to a small conference room in the county's Division of Real Property Acquisition and Management in Hauppauge, Thompson said. And the bidding began. Back and forth they went, 34 times in all, he said. The price rose quickly from $1,500 to $2,000, to $5,000, then to $12,000 and $17,000 . . . until Cruz's bid of $115,000 was topped one final time by Helie, who successfully bid $120,000.
The winning bid was disclosed Wednesday, when the county legislature's finance committee voted 5-0 to recommend the full legislature accept the bid when it meets next week. The auction "caused quite a stir," Thompson said. Based on reports from staffers who ran the auction, he said, "I gathered one guy really did not want the other one walking over his property to the water." Helie's purchase effectively gives him narrow slivers of property on both the east and west sides of Cruz, who would have to walk on Helie's property to reach the ocean beach a few hundred feet away.