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Apr 19, 2017 5:34 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Della Femina Sells The Independent Newspaper To Billionaire Ron Perelman

The Independent's new owner Ronald Perleman announced the sale to readers in the April 19 issue.
Apr 20, 2017 3:26 PM

Jerry Della Femina, the outsized Manhattan adman who was one of the inspirations for the television show “Mad Men,” has sold the The Independent newspaper, based in East Hampton, to billionaire investor Ron Perelman, owner of the guarded Georgica Pond estate The Creeks.

Mr. Della Femina said on Wednesday that he had simply decided it was time to sell the paper. He will continue writing his often acerbic, occasionally soulful weekly column for the foreseeable future, he said.

“I like what we do now and I think he help them continue to do it,” Mr. Della Femina said of Mr. Perelman. “He’s a guy who wants to do a lot of things. He’s a good guy to have a newspaper. I think it will be good for the paper.”

The Independent was co-founded in the early 1990s by Mr. Della Femina’s daughter, Jodi, but Mr. Della Femina took over ownership after becoming embroiled in a battle over a display of pumpkins in front of Jerry & David’s Red Horse Market, which he owned at the time. The imbroglio led to his arrest. “Arrested! In handcuffs, in the back of the car, the whole thing. Can you believe that? Over pumpkins,” he exclaimed during an interview. For much of the next few years The Independent was the bee in the bonnet of East Hampton Village officials.

“As someone said in ‘Philistines at the Hedgerow,’ every Wednesday when the paper came out they were incredibly unhappy waiting to see what we had written about them that week,” Mr. Della Femina said, with a dash of wistful relish. “And so we became an independent voice in a town where the only newspaper was decidedly [one-sided].”

For some years, Mr. Della Femina wrote headlines for The Independent, seeking to emulate the New York Post’s sardonic and eye-catching headline style. “We’re Toast!” read one of his old favorites, accompanying a story about fears over the difficulty of evacuating the East End of Long Island if there were ever a disaster at a Connecticut nuclear power plant.

The famously publicity-shy Mr. Perelman penned a letter to The Independent’s readers, which ran on the front page of the paper’s April 19 edition, saying that the company will be launching a website this summer and expanding its coverage of “community service, charity and not-for-profit work.” The front page also featured two stories about charity fundraising events directly below Mr. Perelman’s letter.

“Our readers can look forward to a beautifully redesigned paper and website launching Memorial Day, as well as many exciting new contributors,” Mr. Perelman said in his letter. “We are going to preserve, invest in and grow The Independent to deliver the East End’s go-to paper, one that showcases all that we love about our community.”

For most of the last couple decades, Mr. Della Femina’s only involvement in the paper’s weekly offerings was his column, in which he waxed philosophic about life and, often, excoriated public officials both locally and nationally. His first column, he recalled, was about “a guy named Larry” who had been charged by local authorities with violating local codes by offering swimming lessons at his East Hampton home.

“I simply had to say ‘My God, who are these people running our town,’” he said. “And it branched out from there.”

When Mr. Della Femina sold his eponymous restaurant to the Hillstone Restaurant Group, owners of the Houston’s chain of steakhouses, he blamed President Barack Obama in his column.

The column has often laid bare his disdain for left-leaning politicians (though he did endorse Hillary Clinton last fall) and Mr. Della Femina quipped that perhaps there is an opportunity, suddenly, for him to expand his commentary horizons.

“I’m moving,” he said, joking: “I’m taking over Bill O’Reilly’s spot.”

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A far better publication than this one and its monolithic, leftist viewpoint.
By MoronEliminator (83), Montauk on Apr 19, 17 7:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good riddance. I thought that over rated blowhard was going to move to Italy some years ago because of some change or political election.
By Rich Morey (291), East Hampton on Apr 19, 17 9:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
Hey Rich, kind of like the dozens of statists and left wing radicals that promised to move to Canada if trump ever got elected be we the people !

TIM MILLER: (8/18/16) Trump is gonna get killed in the general election.

ALEX CONANT: (8/18/16) Trump is gonna suffer an embarrassing loss this fall.

RACHEL MADDOW: (7/29/16) Unless this election happens on Mars, Donald Trump will lose.

KARL ROVE: (11/2015) Republicans are not going to win this next election.

MARK ...more
By 27dan (2080), Shinnecock Hills on Apr 20, 17 2:08 PM
You forgot about Hollywood

1. Jon Stewart "I would consider getting in a rocket and going to another planet, because clearly this planet's gone bonkers," he told reporters.

2. Chelsea Handler "I did buy a house in another country just in case, so all of these people that threaten to leave the country and then don't, I will leave the country," she said on Live with Kelly and Michael.

3. Neve Campbell "His honesty is terrifying," she told Huffington Post UK.i will be moving ...more
By Ditch Bum (286), Water Mill on Apr 20, 17 2:20 PM
Respectfully:


http://www.27east.com/mobile/article.cfm//East-End/59007/As-Housing-Prices-Rise-Younger-People-Take-Off
By Mr. Z (9321), North Sea on Apr 20, 17 6:42 AM
Egomaniacs
By even flow (451), East Hampton on Apr 20, 17 8:48 AM
Hopefully Mr. Perelman can bring a bit of decency and relevance back to that rag. It became the soapbox for mouthpiece Della Famina. Good riddance indeed.
By johnj (667), Westhampton on Apr 20, 17 8:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
If you think that, then I question your reading comprehension skills.

JDF may have owned the Indy, and wrote a weekly column, but that was it. Whatever editorial policies you may have issue with, take it up with Editor Rick Murphy, because they are all his. Della Femina gave him wide latitude and only stepped in when Murphy screwed up, to talk to him like a Dutch uncle. Last happened several years ago when Murphy's job seemed to be hanging by a thread.

You don't have to like JDF, ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1724), Northampton on Apr 21, 17 12:01 AM
Billionaires buying local restaurants and now a local paper. Not surprising. Did anyone ever read that rag? Guess we can look forward to lots of pictures of old men with young wives at fundraisers that don't benefit our community. Oh well.
Sorry to see you go Jerry.
By harbor (288), East Hampton on Apr 20, 17 9:04 AM
Love the Indy, glad to see Jerry will still be writing his column! Nothing wrong with billionaires , lotsa trickle down for the local economy.
By bigfresh (2906), north sea on Apr 20, 17 9:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
One would think so but that's not what happens...I know one who gets his food delivered by truck from NYC and is prepared by a private chef. His NYC home staff is moved out here for the summer.
By harbor (288), East Hampton on Apr 20, 17 10:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
Harbor that is unusual. Most of them employ local trades people and pay taxes. They benefit the local economy and if you think that's not the case your nuts
By razza5350 (1858), East Hampton on Apr 20, 17 11:30 AM
"he is risen"

No wonder you're so gullible.
By Mr. Z (9321), North Sea on Apr 20, 17 8:15 PM
Most wealthy people who have 2nd homes out here DO go out to eat, DO belong to golf or tennis clubs, DO pay homeowner taxes, DO have trades people tending to their homes and many contribute to local charities.
By razza5350 (1858), East Hampton on Apr 20, 17 9:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
There'd be less need for charity if **** didn't cost so much.
By Mr. Z (9321), North Sea on Apr 20, 17 9:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
It doesn't cost so much but you choose to live in the Hampton's Duh
By joe hampton (2869), The Hamptons on Apr 22, 17 10:40 AM
It's not solely in the Hamptons, DUH.
By Mr. Z (9321), North Sea on Apr 23, 17 5:26 PM
Uh yes it is... sounds to me like if you were to move to an area like brookhaven you will have a much easier time.
May 1, 17 2:55 PM appended by joe hampton
not every one can afford to live here you know
By joe hampton (2869), The Hamptons on May 1, 17 2:55 PM
What to say about Jerry Della Femina that he does not reveal in almost every column ? You either get it or you don't. Egotistical narcissist. 'Nuff said.
Perelman is another matter. Paranoid to a degree that I would say nothing about him, lacking the armed guards he surrounds himself with. As owner of a local paper ? laughable.
Luckily, The fate of The Independent should matter to no one.
I always wondered about the name though, Independent of what ? Common sense and humanity ...more
By Sag (53), Sag harbor on Apr 20, 17 9:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Taking a crack at both religion and capitalism again JuneZ? Not surprising Komrade!
By bigfresh (2906), north sea on Apr 21, 17 5:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
McCarthy died a poor death.

Try not to make the same mistakes...
By Mr. Z (9321), North Sea on Apr 22, 17 12:44 AM
By the way, capitalism NEVER created a middle class. Ever.

A "middle class" was always an accident of historical circumstance like the Black Plague or a post bellum recovery economy. Of course you're so gosh darn well read, you already know stuff like that.

Capitalism unchecked and unfettered creates a wealthy class, and those that serve their purpose. Rather reminiscent of feudalism in many ways.
By Mr. Z (9321), North Sea on Apr 23, 17 8:01 AM
Uh, hallucinating much?
By June Bug (1322), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 23, 17 6:52 PM
Meant for bigfresh who seems to think I had posted a comment.
(Why is it that a Reply doesn't always appear as an indent under a comment?)
By June Bug (1322), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 23, 17 7:11 PM
Quite a dilemma Z. Global capitalism is the BEST known way to run an economy. What to do? There is no easy answer. Poor Z.
By razza5350 (1858), East Hampton on Apr 24, 17 7:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
No more black file cabinets. No more "derivatives", a.k.a. legalized gambling. Reining in rampant speculation. Controlling the supply of fiat currency fattening the wallets of less than 1% of the population.

Oh, there's plenty of ways but you'd call it impinging on freedom instead of rules to engage in fair play. Oh, and the "flash boys" need to go.
By Mr. Z (9321), North Sea on Apr 25, 17 6:23 PM
Whatever you think of The Independent, I always enjoyed "Jerry's Ink" Jerry, will you still write that column?
By jimbrundige (1), East Hampton on Apr 21, 17 3:43 PM
Harbor, you really "Know" a billionaire? Which one?
By fire11 (267), east hampton on Apr 28, 17 10:17 PM
Southampton Town, republican team, election