Mitt Romney’s South Fork whirlwind fund-raising trip to the South Fork brought protesters to properties in East Hampton and Southampton on Sunday. They came by bus, foot, bicycle, boat, air, and car, including a “Romneymobile” with corporate logos and a dog strapped to the roof.
A G.O.P. stalwart said the weekend visit was well worth the campaign’s time. “It could not have been better,” said Andy Sabin, a sponsor of the $25,000-a-plate lunch given for Mr. Romney at the Creeks on Georgica Pond.
“He was phenomenal,” Mr. Sabin said. Mr. Romney, he said, was “at his best,” speaking to issues such as the importance of education in improving the economy.
Mr. Sabin said it was a pleasure to listen to the former Massachusetts governor, as well as see a “casual Romney” in a short-sleeved sport shirt. The Springs resident, who was treated to a lavish spread in a park-like setting with benches and umbrellas, estimated that between $3 million and $4 million was raised from the weekend’s three “extremely successful” events.
As the lunch was going on, East Hampton Village police, assisted by the town marine patrol, said they arrested David Fink and Simon Kinsella after the men’s sailboat collided with a marine patrol boat stationed along the shoreline of the Creeks, Ron Perelman’s 56-acre estate. In a release, police said the pair had ignored directions to turn away.
Mr. Fink e-mailed The Star on Monday that “David Fink and Simon Kinsella were attempting to exercise their rights under the First Amendment to freedom of speech while scrupulously avoiding the shoreline. . . .”
Mr. Fink disagreed with police in his e-mail, saying that “Mr. Kinsella was in open waters of Georgica Pond, aboard his 12.5-foot sailboat flying the Rainbow Flag, outside the territorial limits of the Village and the EHVPD, when Sgt. Erickson, in contravention of centuries-old rules of navigation, rammed his motorboat into the sailboat, boarded without permission or authorization, and assaulted and arrested him.” East Hampton Village and its police department had acted without legal authority, he charged.
The police line that was crossed consisted of one boat, according to Chief Jerry Larsen, positioned to secure the small area as part of an overall plan drawn up by the Secret Service, which handled security on the premises. Local police were to secure the estate’s perimeter, including its waterway access.
Chief Larsen said no roads were closed to traffic, and a protest area was set up for those wishing to exercise that right. He saw fewer than a dozen protesters, said the chief.
He said that Mr. Fink, when confronted by law enforcement, attempted to flee by swimming toward shore, and then refused to exit the water, where he allegedly waded while screaming obscenities. He was then arrested and taken to police headquarters. Mr. Kinsella was removed from his boat on the shoreline. Village police charged both men with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
In his e-mail, Mr. Fink, writing in the third person, stated that he “has for many years suffered from ventricular arrhythmia and was far from shore when [village police] assaulted him, handcuffed him, forced his head underwater and dragged him ashore. When he was taken to village police headquarters, E.M.S. personnel found Mr. Fink was suffering from blood pressure so high that the E.M.S questioned the accuracy of its diagnostic equipment, brought in other diagnostic equipment and confirmed that Mr. Fink’s blood pressure exceeded 200.” Mr. Fink added that “Officer Ball refused Mr. Fink’s request to go with Mr. Kinsella to Southampton Hospital for emergency treatment.”
Chief Larsen said Mr. Fink’s allegations, including heads held underwater and refusal of medical attention, were “absolutely untrue,” and said they “will be handled in a court of law.”
A sizable group gathered in Southampton that afternoon as well, at the corner of Meadow Lane and Halsey Neck Lane, protesting against both Mr. Romney and David Koch, at whose home an evening fund-raiser took place. As seen from the beach, a Coast Guard boat idled in the water outside a building being used for the event, Secret Service agents roamed the beaches in ATVs, and a MoveOn.org banner flew overhead from a plane with a banner stating “Romney Has a Koch Problem.”
Just outside Cooper’s Beach, ready to march to the Koch estate, were hundreds of placard-waving protesters, one reading “Koch Kills.” There was also a group of 10 or Romney supporters, whose signs read, “Mitt Is It” and other slogans, and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.
According to the Long Island Progressive Coalition, which distributed a statement on Meadow Lane Sunday afternoon, over a dozen local activist groups were on hand that day to protest “the ever-growing and pervasive influence of Koch Industries money on the electoral system.” The groups were said to include Occupy Wall Street, MoveOn, Long Island Jobs with Justice, United N.Y., Occupy the Hamptons, Occupy the East End, and Greenpeace.
With reporting by Jennifer Landes