Several people involved in the Watergate scandal have done pretty well for themselves in the Hamptons during the ensuing four-plus decades.
One who comes immediately to mind is the late Ben Bradlee. The former executive editor of The Washington Post and his wife, Sally Quinn, purchased and restored Grey Gardens in East Hampton, which went on the market earlier this year for just under $20 million; the asking price just recently dropped to $18 million. Carl Bernstein, half of the reporter team credited with breaking the story open, is a longtime South Fork resident, now living on North Haven.
Having been on the other side of the law in that scandal has not prevented a handsome profit. Case in point: Dwight Chapin and his wife, Terry Goodson, have just sold their manse in East Hampton for $5,950,000.
We’ll get to Mr. Chapin in a moment. First, about the property that changed hands. It can be found south of the highway, near the Maidstone Club, within the village borders. On the 1.6-acre property is a shingled, traditional two-story home of 4,700 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths. It also contains a dining room with fireplace, another fireplace in the living room, and a third in the master suite, which also has a private balcony. The grounds feature a heated pool, bluestone patio, and lovely landscaping. The new owner chose a rather unimaginative name for his/her company: 20 Hook Pond Lane LLC.
Mr. Chapin, from Wichita, Kansas, became part of the “USC Mafia” (at the University of Southern California) of dirty tricksters portrayed in the book “All the President’s Men” and referred to in the film adaptation, directed by the late Alan J. Pakula, also an East Hampton resident. This experience apparently made him fit for the Richard Nixon administration. Mr. Chapin was only 28 when he became special assistant to the president, and two years later, in 1971, he was appointed deputy assistant. Among his duties were hiring and supervising presidential advance men, preparing the path that led Mr. Nixon to visit China, and being in charge of the White House television office.
Then came Watergate. Thanks to the testimony of former USC classmate Donald Segretti, Mr. Chapin was hauled before a grand jury. Denying everything was the wrong tactic to take, and Mr. Chapin was eventually found guilty of perjury. He served nine months at a federal correctional facility. After his stay in stir, he worked for consulting and public relations firms, and he founded Chapin Enterprises in 1986. He stayed active in politics too, working to elect Ronald Reagan in 1980 and he was active in George H.W. Bush’s campaign eight years later.
He lived quietly and apparently well in East Hampton. According to his website, Mr. Chapin’s occupation today is “value creator.”