Union takes LBO protest to Hamptons

August 29, 2007


The SEIU, a large, U.S. service industry union, has taken its protest against what it calls “private equity excesses” to the Hamptons, where a lot of buyout bigwigs spend their free time in the summers.

So at 1pm on Wednesday, SEIU members are holding a mock protest in the Hamptons, as representatives of the “Southampton Alliance for Monied Estates” (SHAME) to demand more tax breaks for private equity “kings,” as the union calls them, according to the press release. The release’s sub-title: “Rally Around KKR’s Kravis at His Coastal Mega-Mansion as Market Slumps.”

The release goes on:

Southampton “residents” will take to the streets Wednesday to demand more tax relief for buyout billionaires, including longtime Southamptonite billionaire Henry R. Kravis, inventor of the leveraged buyout and pioneer of the trillion-dollar private equity buyout industry.The SEIU’s anti-private equity drumbeat comes as Congress weighs two bills aimed at raising taxes on buyout firms, which typically pay half the taxes that “normal” corporations pay.

The SEIU has been hounding the private equity industry, particularly in the wake of media stories detailing just how rich the LBO boom has made buyout executives. While the SEIU has focused a portion of their campaign on trying to educate the public about the LBO industry, they are quick to point out some of the job cuts that have resulted from private equity deals. In short, they’re attacking the private equity industry for hacking jobs.

The SEIU will assemble near what they say is the home of KKR co-founder Henry Kravis. The protest take place at the intersection of Main Street and Jobs Lane, in the Village of Southampton (yes, that’s Jobs Lane).

In the final line of the release, SEIU says “SHAME will call Wednesday for a takeover tax holiday to relieve buyout billionaires of the property taxes they pay on their Hamptons estates. Kravis, for example, pays an estimated $66,000-a-year in property tax his $16 million Southampton compound.”

Wait until the SEIU gets word of Leon Black’s Hampton’s bash, as reported in the New York Post. Black, the founder of buyout giant Apollo Management hired Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for $1.7 million and four hours of entertainment, the paper says. That’s even more than Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman paid for Rod Stewart to play at his 60th birthday party. (To read Dealbreaker’s recent blog post on Schwarzman click here.)

(Photo: An 18,000 sq. foot waterfront estate in the Hamptons, at the time said to be the most expensive home ($45 million) ever sold in New York State.  Credit. New York Times, Dec. 31, 2004)

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