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Hedge Row: Wall Street Titans Battle Over Beach Path in Hamptons

CNBC.com
Wednesday, 13 Jun 2007 | 5:25 PM ET

Here’s the burning question of the day from the Hamptons, the tony beach towns on Long Island east of Wall Street: Who’s the hedge hog?

Hedge fund king James Chanos, of Kynikos Associates, and Marc Spilker, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, are squabbling about a common path to the beach, according to CNBC's Margaret Brennan.

Hedge Fight
Two neighbors fight over a hedge, with CNBC's Margaret Brennan

The path is bordered by a row of six-foot-high hedges--or at least it was until a bulldozer knocked them over like drunken sailors.

Chanos accuses Spilker of flattening the greenery to widen the path to the Atlantic. Both have a legal right to the path, Brennan says.

Spilker’s lawyer cites a 1969 regulation that says the path must be 15 feet wide. He claimed that Chanos “has been unwilling to rationally discuss the situation.”

Chanos’ legal team counters that a 1982 document requires the path to be only four feet wide. “The use of the bulldozer on the property is a trespass,” Chanos' attorney huffed.

In a statement, Chanos said, "Although this property dispute has denigrated into a bit of a 'media circus in The Hamptons,' I would like to point out that whatever the merits of one's case ... (and we feel strongly that Mr. Spilker is in error here), no one should have the right to send bulldozers onto another person's property to forcibly coerce the other side into 'negotiation,' without a prior agreement or court order allowing such destructive behavior."

Hamptonite Steven Gaines says such landscaping spats occur often among habitués of the multi-million-dollar estates.

There's an added complication: Chanos’ hedge fund has about $3 billion stashed at Goldman Sachs.

The recently demised hedges could not be reached for comment.

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