How do you get half of the Hamptons to hate you instantly? Destroying the 3,000-year-old sand dunes on your property is a good way to start. Billionaire fund manager Ron Baron now stands accused of razing part of the beachfront property he purchased in May 2007 when he spent a record $103 million for 40 acres of prime East Hampton real estate. Baron has since constructed a 30,000-square-foot mansion on a nearby parcel, but it was the recent destruction of the historic dunes near his house that now has environmental groups up in arms.
East Hampton's natural-resources director, Larry Penny, is pushing the local authorities to issue a stop-work order on the construction site as well impose a $500-a-day fine until the problem is rectified. (Something tells us this may not be much of a deterrent considering Baron is worth $1.4 billion, according to Forbes.) But no matter what happens, at least Baron can rest assured there's at least one other local who will be able to relate to his run-in with local environmental groups. Three months ago, real estate mogul Aby Rosen was accused of allowing his sons to drive their ATV scooters through an endangered bird habitat, an encounter that almost got Rosen arrested.