SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Angry Hamptons homeowners say they were duped. They rented out their mansions to what they thought was a quiet family and got partying teenagers, hundreds of them, instead.
On Friday, the man accused of running the after-prom-party scam was in court, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
They are multimillion-dollar Hamptons homes. Owners thought they were renting to a family for a sedate reunion, but Lucy Sachs recently found out just the opposite. At her 17-bedroom mansion, 100 teenagers were bused in for a wild two-day after-prom party.
“Drinking, you know definitely some pot smoking and you know, some sleeping, or some trying to sleep because there was eight to 10 in a bedroom,” Sachs said.
Lee Hnetinka is facing 115 charges of violating Southampton codes. Officials said he charged teens up to $500 per head for two days at a party house and raked in up to $80,000 per week. In all, there 11 mansions where alcohol flowed and teens were issued a “how to” manual, officials said.
“We’ve never seen anything like this and not on this scale. I mean, we normally do a lot of enforcement actions during the summer on share houses and prom houses and the like, but we’ve never seen this size scale of an operation,” Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scaratto said.
The manual instructed kids:
— “Do not open front door ever.”
— “Should code enforcement or police come, do not let them inside.”
— “Call us right away. Do not speak to them!”
Guests were told:
— “No drugs, knives, guns [but] hard alcohol will be given back once we feel you have earned it.”
— “And when the party’s over: take this manual and destroy it!”
“I was completely duped,” Sachs said.
Hnetinka had no comment at arraignment, where he had trouble explaining to the judge what he does for a living.
“What he’s got to say is he’s not guilty of these charges,” attorney Michael Gajdos said.
Former New York City detective Bo Dietl said he’s a victim. His own son was a party guest.
“The danger to the kids is when you have 98 kids in a house, sleeping in all kinds of catacombs. God forbid if there is a fire and the firemen respond there, who would think there would be 98 kids in a house?” Dietl said.
He said parents want their kids to have fun, but need to know what Hnetinka’s company “Hamptons and Sons” was up to. He said he thinks it was tragedy waiting to happen.
Hnetinka is facing more than $100,000 in fines and up to a year in jail on each count.
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