A "revenge hedge" is turning heads in the Hamptons.
Or at least, that's what some residents of the exclusive Long Island enclave are calling it. Howard Lutnick (pictured below), CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, has allegedly planted a 10-foot hedge that blocks his neighbors' views of his protected agricultural preserve.
"This is definitely the revenge hedge!" Realtor Beate Moore, who lives near Lutnick, told the New York Post. "He's blocked everybody's view!"
The reason Moore and other neighbors think that Lutnick grew the hedge out of spite is because, in 2008, he filed plans to build a 300-foot barn. Neighbors, worried that it would obstruct views, fought the plan, and the town eventually rejected it in 2010.
Though the hedge is on Lutnick's private property -- and blocks views onto his own farm -- the land is an agricultural preserve. So while Lutnick may farm the land, he doesn't have the right to develop it. Typically, taxpayer funds are used to keep the land pristine, so neighbors feel that they have a right to the views.
Town officials have ruled that Lutnick's hedge is illegal and have ordered him to "remove or relocate the hedge" so that neighbors can enjoy the "natural scenic beauty."
"What would it say about the Town of Southampton if someone with enormous wherewithal could buy the right to re-write the law?" wrote neighbor Robert Rosenthal in a statement to town officials.
It might be tempting to paint Lutnick as another entitled rich guy, but he does have a humanitarian side. More than two-thirds of Cantor Fitzgerald's workforce died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and over the five years following, Lutnick donated 25 percent of the firm's profits to their families. He also provided them with health care for 10 years.
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