Mitt Romney and his entourage, including police escort and Secret Service detail, will be in East Hampton and Southampton on Sunday for a whirlwind fund-raising trip, and protesters have taken notice.
As of yesterday, several groups were planning demonstrations near the Meadow Lane, Southampton, residence of Julia and David Koch, where a $50,000-a-plate ($75,000 per couple) dinner is set to begin at 5 p.m. Members of some of the groups, including Greenpeace, Strong for All, United New York, and Move On, will take buses from New York City to the South Fork; those from the Long Island Progressive Coalition and Occupy the Hamptons plan to join them here.
As far as is known, the protestors will confine their demonstrations to Southampton. Earlier on Sunday, in East Hampton, Mr. Romney and Eric Cantor, majority leader of the House of Representatives, are scheduled to attend a “V.I.P. photo reception” and lunch at the Creeks, Ron Perelman’s 56-acre estate on Georgica Pond. The 12:30 p.m. reception will give guests the chance to have their pictures taken with the Republican candidate for president, in return for a donation of $25,000 a head, which, says the invitation to the event, they can either “contribute or raise.” Lunch itself, at 1 p.m., is another $5,000 a person or $7,500 for two.
Andy Sabin of Springs, whose name is on the list of sponsors and who called himself a “Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon-type of environmental Republican” this week, said supporters expect to raise $1 million from the afternoon at The Creeks. Other sponsors of the event who have houses here include Debbie and Harry Druker of East Hampton, Ann and Russell Byers of Amagansett, Gerry Cardinale of Sagaponack, Barry and Terri Volpert of Sagaponack, and Pam and Ed Pantzer of East Hampton.
Governor Romney will also spend some time on Sunday at the Meadow Lane residence of Cliff Sobel, who chaired New Jersey’s fund-raising effort for President George W. Bush’s first campaign. Mr. Sobel later became ambassador to the Netherlands and Brazil.
Members of Occupy Wall Street and Greenpeace plan to throw their own party, offshore from Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, near the oceanfront Koch house, in small boats bearing protest banners. Ty Wenzel, an activist from Springs, wrote in a message that Occupy the Hamptons would join the protest with any group having the same end goal: “Get out of our politicians’ pockets.”
“It is not about being anti-republican or anti-democrat,” she wrote. “Its sole purpose is to illustrate to the American people how our democracy and vote has been stolen with these ‘fundraisers.’ ”
Andy Stepanian, co-founder of sparrowmedia.net, a publicist for the grassroots organizations, who will be among the protestors, agreed. “Americans from many different political affiliations are beginning to realize that money is perverting our democracy,” he said. Occupy Wall Street, said Mr. Stepanian, has targeted Mr. Koch, the man they call “Mr. One Percent Himself,” in particular.
Mr. Koch, who has been named New York City’s richest resident by Forbes magazine, “is the embodiment of money’s problematic influence on politics,” said Mr. Stepanian. “On Sunday,” he said, “we will make it clear that Mitt Romney has a Koch problem.”
Occupy the East End will meet in East Hampton at 11 a.m. Sunday to “start phase one of protesting the broken and corrupt system that funds are being raised to support,” said a spokeswoman, Shannone Rhea. The local activists, recently splintered from Occupy the Hamptons, will gather at the corner of Halsey Neck Lane and Montauk Highway in Southampton, she said, to “make the public aware of what’s going on in our backyard.”
On Tuesday, East Hampton Village Police Chief Jerry Larsen said he was expecting a call from the Secret Service.
Kurt Kappel, chairman of the East Hampton Republican Committee, said he was “very excited” about Mr. Romney’s visit. “I think it’s great that he’s coming to East Hampton,” he said on Tuesday, although the committee does not have plans to attend any of the events.
Rob Zimmerman of the Democratic National Committee, who owns a house in Shinnecock Hills, had something to say as well. “Every time Republicans want to come to the East End and buy overpriced lobster salad, it is good for the economy,” he said. “I hope they buy some art as well, for their many homes.”