Is Doing Nothing Business as Usual?

Lee Hnetinka was accused this summer of subleasing as many as 10 houses in East Hampton and Southampton Towns in the spring for after-prom parties and other events

   “No comment” was more or less how a top official responded this week when asked why the Town of East Hampton had not lodged a single charge against a man facing 160 counts in Southampton Town, where he is alleged to have run illegal, for-profit party houses similar to those he is said to have organized here.
    Lee Hnetinka was accused this summer of subleasing as many as 10 houses in East Hampton and Southampton Towns in the spring for after-prom parties and other events for which he charged guests hundreds of dollars and allegedly encouraged underage drinking. As many as 98 young revelers were said to have been holed up in one rented Amagansett house before they were discovered and sent home by its owners.
    In Southampton, Mr. Hnetinka was charged with multiple violations of the town’s tough and clearly worded rental regulations. If nothing else, the events in East Hampton might have been considered illegal commercial uses of private residences and in violation of the mass-gathering law, not to mention the allegation that minors imbibed. But nothing whatsoever happened here.
    To remind the reader, the standings are 160 to 0, with Southampton in the lead. What is behind this staggering deficit for the Town of East Hampton is difficult to fathom. As we noted, explanations have not been forthcoming. Inquiries were distinctly unwelcome as well.
     The affair highlights lackluster performance of the East Hampton Town Ordinance Enforcement Department and the town attorney. It also suggests that the members of the town board have been oblivious; they too have let the matter pass without response. Regardless of the reasons, whether indifference or lethargy, the message is that East Hampton Town cannot or will not enforce its laws.
    The Town of Southampton deserves credit for leading the way. It is a pity no one on this side of Town Line Road seems eager to follow.

“No comment” was more or less how a top official responded this week when asked why the Town of East Hampton had not lodged a single charge against a man facing 160 counts in Southampton Town, where he is alleged to have run illegal, for-profit party houses similar to those he is said to have organized here.
    Lee Hnetinka was accused this summer of subleasing as many as 10 houses in East Hampton and Southampton Towns in the spring for after-prom parties and other events for which he charged guests hundreds of dollars and allegedly encouraged underage drinking. As many as 98 young revelers were said to have been holed up in one rented Amagansett house before they were discovered and sent home by its owners.
    In Southampton, Mr. Hnetinka was charged with multiple violations of the town’s tough and clearly worded rental regulations. If nothing else, the events in East Hampton might have been considered illegal commercial uses of private residences and in violation of the mass-gathering law, not to mention the allegation that minors imbibed. But nothing whatsoever happened here.
    To remind the reader, the standings are 160 to 0, with Southampton in the lead. What is behind this staggering deficit for the Town of East Hampton is difficult to fathom. As we noted, explanations have not been forthcoming. Inquiries were distinctly unwelcome as well.
     The affair highlights lackluster performance of the East Hampton Town Ordinance Enforcement Department and the town attorney. It also suggests that the members of the town board have been oblivious; they too have let the matter pass without response. Regardless of the reasons, whether indifference or lethargy, the message is that East Hampton Town cannot or will not enforce its laws.
    The Town of Southampton deserves credit for leading the way. It is a pity no one on this side of Town Line Road seems eager to follow.