Macklowe’s brazen Hamptons act recalls Times Square scandal

Developer once demolished Midtown buildings without a permit

Harry Macklowe (Credit: Getty Images)
Harry Macklowe (Credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to construction, Harry Macklowe’s M.O. seems to be act first, seek permission later.

Last week, the real estate tycoon was reprimanded by the Village of East Hampton after he destroyed wetlands on his property for construction of his mansion.

It’s not the first time the billionaire developer has pulled such a move. In the 1980s he hired a construction company led by mob figure Eddie Garofalo to demolish four buildings in Times Square. The desperate move was done hours before enforcement of a city ban on razing single-room occupancy properties was to begin. The buildings, on West 44th Street, were cleared to make way for a Hotel Macklowe.

For that escapade Macklowe paid $2 million to settle a civil suit brought against him by the city. Garofalo, who was linked to the Genovese and Gambino crime families and was assassinated in 1990, was indicted for the illegal demolition.

While the Hamptons saga doesn’t have the chime of a Scorsese film, a lawyer for Macklowe told the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals on Friday that several structures had been built at the property without a permit, according to the East Hampton Star. Locals claimed the changes to the property, which faces Georgica Pond at 64 West End Road, increased the flood risk of the area.

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“The great majority of the improvements that we’re coming to you for approval have already been done,” Richard Whalen, Macklowe’s attorney, reportedly told the board.

In response, the chairwoman of the board, Lys Marigold, told the attorney that the board must take action. “You can’t buy a property on the pond and do anything you want without any permits,” she said, the Star reported. “It’s just not okay.”

Neither Macklowe nor his attorney could be reached for comment. A spokesperson for the Village of East Hampton did not respond to a request for comment.

The saga is the latest headache for Macklowe, who underwent an acrimonious divorce with Linda Macklowe in recent years. He recently married Patricia Landeau and celebrated by posting mammoth photos of himself and his bride on the exterior a tower he developed at 432 Park Avenue.

— David Jeans