The Other Barbarians at the Gates
2012-08-03 0:00

By Jessica Pressler | NYMag.com




Its incredible, right? shouts Jeff Greene over the roar of the two-seater dune buggys motor. Its 55 acres!

Still in his whites from this mornings tennis match, hes giving a personal tour of his Sag Harbor estate, barreling at 30 miles per hour through the vast forest of scrubby pines and soft moss of its gated grounds. Beautiful nature here! A blur of deer goes by, and the trees break to reveal the summer sun glinting off a grassy lagoon. Greene slows by its shore. This is our swan pond, and this is our private beach, he says, gesturing toward a slip of white sand encircling the edge of the North Haven Peninsula. It goes all the way to the ferry. Three thousand feet of beach, he adds, a smile spreading across his tanned face.

Greene made his fortune in real estate, and hes never been shy about showing it off. Having money is great, he says. Its fun. The more the better. For years, he was a fixture on the party circuit, and celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and his old roommate Heidi Fleiss were not uncommon sights on his yacht, The Summerwind. In 2006, after an old friend, John Paulson, showed him how he was planning to short the impending housing bust, he replicated the trade and made himself a billionaire. Since then hes settled down, married a bubbly Chinese-Australian woman named Mei-Sze, had two children, and changed positions once again. Ive got a huge, huge position in mortgage-backed securities, he says. I started accumulating them in 2009, when the market was really down and things were really scary. Thats also when he picked up this property for around $40 million (half the 2007 listing price), which he and his wife have christened Greene Haven. I wish we could spend more time here, he says. Honestly, we have so many great homes.

He cuts the engine, and for a moment the only sound is the waves lapping peacefully against the shore. Greene gazes across the bay at the multi-million-dollar houses peeking from behind the trees. I assume hes quietly contemplating acquiring even more of the shoreline, but then he says something surprising. If somebody wanted to go after a rich person, he observes, they have got their pick of the litter out here.

Its strange to imagine someone like Greene, who counts Mike Tyson as a close friend, and who has a streak that caused the L.A. party girls to refer to him as Mean Jeff Greene, feeling vulnerable. Its hard to think of any superrich person as vulnerable, just as its hard to think that a bear with outstretched claws and giant teeth is more afraid than you are. But over the past few months, its become clear that rich people are very, very afraid. Sometimes it feels like this was the main accomplishment of Occupy Wall Street: a whole lot of tightened sphincters. Its not a stretch to say many residents of Park Avenue harbor vivid fears of a populist revolt like the one seen in The Dark Knight Rises, in which they cower miserably under their sideboards while ragged hordes plunder the silver.

This is my fear, and its a real, legitimate fear, Greene says, revving up the engine. You have this huge, huge class of people who are impoverished. If we keep doing what were doing, we will build a class of poor people that will take over this country, and the country will not look like what it does today. It will be a different economy, rights, all that stuff will be different.

More often than not, fears like these manifest as loathing for the current administration, as evidenced by the recent wave of Romney fund-raisers in the Hamptons. Obama wants to take my money and give it to do-nothing animals, one matron blurted at a recent party ...

[...]


Read the full article at: nymag.com





Related Articles
The Dark Knight Rises Asks Us to Believe the Rich Can Save Us
Rich people more likely to cheat, behave badly?
UK aid helps to fund forced sterilisation of Indias poor
Mitt Romney: Poor Mothers Should Be Required To Work Outside Home
Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income
Most Republicans and Democrats Agree: Cut Aid for Poor People, Not Israel
Separate but unequal: Charts show growing rich-poor gap "stunning"
Alan Grayson on "The War Is Making You Poor" Act (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female
2015-04-25 4:52
Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole “rape and pillage” thing, too. Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided ...
Off Your Knees, Germany! Ernst Zundel 1983 - 2003
2015-04-25 1:15
For more information on the holocaust, how the war was forced upon Germany, and the REAL victims of the second world war see: http://gblt.webs.com/Real_Holocaust.htm http://web.archive.org/web/20130806074314/http://www.666blacksun.org/ http://www.zundelsite.org/
IRS Drops Attack For Six Years – No Evidence of Jurisdiction
2015-04-24 20:29
A big congrats to a friend I’ve been working with for several years, he stood up to the predators commonly called the “IRS” and they dropped their attack. Thanks also for providing me with the proof below. The criminals called the “IRS” initiated an attack claiming my friend was required to file six tax returns, or explain how he made ...
Into Eternity - Finland's 100,000 Year Massive Underground Spent Nuclear Fuel Program
2015-04-24 20:49
Into Eternity is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste. The concept of long-term underground storage for radioactive waste has been explored since the 1950s. The inner part of the Russian doll-like storage canisters is to be composed of copper. Hence in the case of Onkalo it is tightly linked to experiments on copper corrosion in running ...
SPLC Accuses Oath Keepers of Inciting “Armed Confrontation” Over Sugar Pine Mine
2015-04-24 20:22
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Oath Keepers of inciting an armed confrontation with BLM authorities over the Sugar Pine Mine dispute in Oregon, despite the fact that the organization has explicitly stated that it is not promoting armed confrontation with the feds. In an article provocatively posted on the organization’s ‘Hatewatch’ section entitled Oath Keepers Descend Upon Oregon with ...
More News »