With a wink and a nod, East Hampton Town officials went out of their way to lavish praise and give quick approval for a project that radically altered a portion of the Montauk oceanfront landscape. Now, the suspiciously anonymous owner of the former East Deck Motel at Ditch Plain is dangling an expensive thank-you in the form of tons of fill that would be used at his or her cost to build a protective berm at a public parking lot nearby. Officials should think twice.
Before accepting a gift with a value that could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the East Hampton Town Board should know whom they are dealing with. And, if they already can put a face to the project, they must let the public in on what they know. More troubling is the likelihood that the donation might be a quid pro quo in which officials continue to look with over-deserved favor on the changes at the property that are rumored to be coming up soon for their review.
Something puzzling is afoot on the Ditch Plain shore, and the town cannot responsibly proceed without knowing who the players are and what they have in mind.