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Foot-Wide Napeague Parcel Sold For $120,000 After Bidding War

Publication: The East Hampton Press
By Shaye Weaver   Sep 5, 2013 8:13 PM
Sep 10, 2013 10:20 AM

A 1-foot-wide, 1,895-foot-long parcel of land on the Napeague stretch, originally put up for sale for $10 by Suffolk County, will be sold for a whopping $120,000 after a bidding war between neighboring property owners sent the price soaring.

On August 30, the Suffolk County Legislature Budget and Finance Committee issued a recommendation to the legislature to accept the bid next week, making the sale official.

The skinny parcel, worthless on its own, became valuable as a thin access point to the ocean beach that became a battleground between an oceanfront landowner and the property owner directly behind.

When Marc Helie and the attorney for Kyle Cruz—both men have homes in Manhattan and on Napeague—showed up to claim the $10 piece of land, the price quickly rose 34 times, from $1,500 to $120,000, according to Wayne Thompson, the county’s property manager. Mr. Helie was the top bidder.

“It surprised everybody,” Mr. Thompson said. “It’s not really worth something.”

According to East Hampton Town Assessor Eugene DePasquale, the former landowner was being charged about $67.90 every year in taxes for the strip. He said Mr. Helie spent $120,000 on .048 acre—less than half a tenth of an acre.

Mr. Thompson said that the land had been taken by the county because its former owners did not pay taxes on it. To return the skinny parcel to the tax rolls, the county put it up for sale this year, for the second time, for just $10, he said. Letters went out to the six adjacent landowners, and only two, Mr. Helie and Mr. Cruz, responded. Last year, when the parcel went up for sale, no one responded.

“It’s not a piece of property you can walk right out and put your foot on,” he said. “You’d have a hard time locating it without a survey.”

He explained that the land is a “gore strip,” a term the county uses for a small strip of land that is not a great asset. In this case, he said it was “not about adding size [to a lot], it was a bidding war over access [to the beach].”

Mr. Cruz, who owns the landlocked parcel, could have accessed the ocean beach via the one-foot-wide strip of land directly beside Mr. Helie’s property, but Mr. Helie blocked that access with the purchase.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who is vice chair of the legislature’s Budget and Finance Committee, said Mr. Cruz could have benefited from the land had he won.

“It has value for both properties, but just a lot more value to one,” he said. “I don’t know how you walk down one strip that’s only one foot wide, but then in that case you can say your lot touches the ocean. One property [Mr. Cruz’s] really needs it because that’s his access to the beach. It’s very valuable to one of the guys to get down to the beach, but that’s not the guy who got it.”

Mr. Helie works for Chevalier Investments LLC in Manhattan, and Mr. Cruz is a managing director at Centerbridge Partners LP in Manhattan, according to his LinkedIn profile. Both men did not immediately return calls for comment on Monday.

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In 1981 M2 was approximately 1.8 trillion dollars. By 1996, it had risen to 3.8 trillion. By 2006 it rose to about 6.6 trillion dollars. As of this month, it is has exceeded 10.8 trillion dollars. By the new year, it will exceed 11 trillion.

At the current rate of fiat currency creation and thanks to the destruction of our progressive tax system, it should really be no surprise that millions are out of work, commodity prices are through the roof, a run for elected office costs over 2 million ...more
By Mr. Z (6065), North Sea on Sep 5, 13 8:21 PM
Pretty cheap for 1895 SF of land, about $63.32/SF.

It would have been fun to watch this play out if the other man had won the bid -- imagine him trying to access the beach on a 12" walkway without infringing on the other property!
By PBR (4364), Southampton on Sep 5, 13 8:29 PM
ahhhh... interesting

marc helie is also one of the lead plantiffs in the lawsuit against the trustees of east Hampton, east Hampton town, and other neighbors, to PRIVATIZE the beach in front of his land in napeague and take away public access.
and... now we see his true colors and he will spend over a hundred thousand dollars to stop his own neighbor from accessing the beach again.
what a great neighbor?? NOT
By tito (56), e hampton on Sep 5, 13 10:47 PM
3 members liked this comment
I bet both bidders came out feeling victorious. The guy who won is happy he has the land, the guy who lost is happy his neighbor blew $120k on the land. This is what I call a win-win!
By Nature (2548), Hampton Bays on Sep 6, 13 9:08 AM
Privatize the beach? Did anyone out there ever hear of the Dongan Pantent given to the east End Towns in the late 1600's by NY Gov, Andros (?) can't remember the exact name of the gov.) Anyway that law has been upheald in the courts many times. The residents of the Town have unimpeaded access to the waterfronts to The HIGH Water Mark.
So none of the ocean front land owners can force anyone (who has a town address) to lget off the beach in front of their precious place no lmatter how much they ...more
By summertime (488), summerfield fl on Sep 7, 13 4:21 PM
The Dongan Patent was given by the King of England, was it not -- before there was a New York State, which is why it is considered to pre-date many laws now on the books?
By PBR (4364), Southampton on Sep 7, 13 4:33 PM
the 1686 dongan patent was named for Thomas dongan who was the provincial governor of ny at the time. before ny was a state.
in the area of napeague there is a major lawsuit filed in 2009 to test this patent and helie, amoung other believe that they own the beach and are fighting the litigious and money filled fight for their own private beach which they claim is their by deed.
disgusting if you ask me on the part of helie, but as you see by this article, he doen't care about his neighbors ...more
By tito (56), e hampton on Sep 7, 13 6:33 PM
2 members liked this comment
and isnt is just possible that the people who live along that stretch of beach simply have issue with the trucks that line up there and only there.? Why are trucks only there and not on the town beaches? I dont understand that at all...
By Hafen10 (1), Amagansett on Sep 11, 13 8:12 PM
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