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Ready? Set? Begin The Season

Originally Posted: June 01, 2010

Dante Palermo

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Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson is not have a 'thumbs up' time of it. (PatrickMcMullan.com)

Southampton - Well Chickens, the curtain is finally up! Memorial Day Weekend and the 2010 Summer Season in The Hamptons is done.

I hope your home and yourself are fully fluffed and buffed, and you are once again ready for three and half months of revelry. In the coming weeks so many of the fabulous will descend on our sandy shores. We must stay tuned and alert for all that's fit to discuss or better yet unfit but too delicious to pass up!

Bethenny Frankel, pre-baby.

A frequent Hamptons summer visitor the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, is not having a good week. She has been caught by an undercover news reporter whom was posing as a businessman, agreeing to a $750,000 bribe in exchange for providing him with access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew, Duke of York, fourth in line to the throne, whom she lives with. And we thought Christie and Peter had problems.

No word on what will happen now, how will Fergie's children, and her ex-husband handle her latest public gaffe? Since their 1996 divorce, Prince Andrew has stood by Fergie's side, let her live, when in England, at his home with their children. The Queen has from time to time allowed her to join in family events at Balmoral Castle. Fergie, in the meantime, has had a great success, particularly in America, in some business dealings, her successful run as the celebrity spokesperson for Weight Watchers, and her great success with her on-going line of childrens books. She actually hit Manhattan this week, in the wake of the scandal breaking in England on the front page of every newspaper, to promote her latest books at the Book Expo at the Jacob Javits Center.

Alana Stewart and Rachel Welsh.

Why agree to a bribe? The Duchess has never reduced her spending, and runs her life with secretaries and assistants, first class travel, an entourage, etc. even without any significant royal subsidizing from the Royal Family. Her divorce settlement and alimony was a pittance compared to that of Princess Diana, and yet she has blazed forth since 1996 with hardly any concern for her roller coaster of debts. Always desperate for big influxes of cash to quiet her creditors, it's no surprise she was looking for a $750,000 pay-off in exchange for arranging some access to her ex-husband and friend.

Another Hamptons "Royal" weighed in this week with her thoughts on the stumbling Duchess. Of course, because she's an expert on all things royal, who would have a few thoughts to share on the Fergie scandal? None other then "The Real Housewives of New York City's" Countess Luann de Lesseps.

I mean, how could another divorced royal miss a chance to comment on a scandal involving another ex-royal? No way!

The Countess is probably thrilled to talk about anything other than Bethenny Frankel's new baby. The Countess' comments were of the following variety - she speculates about Fergie being desperate for money, expresses shock that she failed to ask for the journalist's credentials before accepting the bribe, and bets that Fergie's reputation is going to be damaged as a result of this. (Ummm, yeah, I think we all grabbed onto that part). She then goes on with the following bizarre thought, immediately wondering about Prince Andrew's involvement - "I wonder if the prince knew nothing about this - I mean, they have children together. I find it hard to believe he knew nothing about it."

Tatum O'Neal with dad Ryan O'Neal.

Prince Andrew has no shortage of money and his Mother is one of the wealthiest women in the world. I hardly think he would want to organize a sham set up with Fergie so they could score $750,000 together? I mean really? She also thinks that the whole thing will end once Fergie "apologizes for the pain she's caused," well thanks for that, I can get through my day now.

Had the Royal Family provided properly for Fergie from the time of the divorce to now I wonder if she would not have been easily controlled and been quiet and just gone along from cocktail party to cocktail party, with a little writing here and there, and just been a quiet celebrity. When you abuse someone and try to strip them of everything and leave them desperate, they will behave desperately and act out and so on and so forth. With all their money, the Royal Family should have kept their loose cannons closer to the fold. It's interesting that in addition to wanting the bribe the Dutchess did take the time to insist to the imposter businessman that she wanted one percent of all his future business dealings to be donated to her charity for children.

This does not strike me as what a truly evil person would do. She is a desperate woman trying to maintain her position on the world's stage with not enough money, and what money she has she manages poorly. There are two sides to every story, you can be damn sure Fergie has her side as well.


New Hamptons estate owner, Madonna, has been busy just like the rest of us, getting our abodes ready for the Summer Season.

Madonna, who recently said that she "has no idea" where her future music endeavors will be heard because she is without a record label to promote her ditties, was spotted in the Hamptons astride a snow-white horse at her equine farm in Bridgehampton.

I'm not sure she needs a record label when she has "Glee"?
The TV show's recent homage to M was such a big hit, they are planning a sequel! Madonna's music catalog jumped 40 percent in the wake of "Glee." (Her last album, "Hard Candy," sold a respectable four million copies worldwide. The resulting tour took a staggering $280 million).

Madonna is currently directing the movie "W.E.," which is a biography of the Duchess of Windsor, and having hedges planted in a bid for some serious and classic Hamptons privacy. Madonna has planted thousands of hedges at her
summer horse ranch - to keep prying eyes away.

The Queen of Pop is said to have wanted significantly more privacy at the new estate she has put together by buying a few neighboring properties. Madonna recently bought the land in two lots - the agricultural rights on 24 acres for $2.2 million, and the farm next door (Kelly Klein's), for $5 million, Newsday reports. Now gardeners have been hard at work planting and getting ready for the season.

Her chatty neighbor, Benny Graboski, estimated that 'a couple of thousand' hedges - each about eight to 10 feet tall - had been put into the ground. (I imagine she will not be inviting him over for a barbecue this season).

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

He told a U.S. news publication "They'll take a couple of years to fill out nicely, but they'll make a nice border. It'll help out a lot. She'll have lots of privacy." Yes, privacy I am sure she hopes to gain from you Benny.

While on a roll he claimed that a new electric gate had been installed on the property in Bridgehampton. Next week I wonder if he will have items from her trash available for perusal. Geez, one thought in the Hamptons stars could relax? Not with old Benny as your neighbor it would seem?

The singer, 51, was taken to the hospital in April 2009 after she fell off her horse at photographer pal Steven Klein's nearby Bridgehampton estate. A rep for Madonna was unavailable for comment.

Scant details are available as of yet, as this news has been breaking over the last 24 hours, but 75 Main Restaurant on Main Street in Southampton will be re-opening shortly. The windows are papered over, and designers, painters, and a huge crew are feverishly working to get a new restaurant put together. Zach Erdem right hand for the last few years to Nello Balan, of Nello's NYC and Nello's Summertimes in Southampton, and darling of the Nellos celebrity clientele, has struck out on his own. A team of four lawyers apparently closed a clean deal finally removing the old warhorse and very wiley Dr. June Spirer from the 75 Main Street space she has occupied for as long as anyone can remember.

Candace Bushnell, Anne Hearst and Jay McInerney.

When reached for comment Spirer said that it was just time to move on. Though she still has large Hamptons property holdings and a few other jewels still in the bag that she could sell; 75 Main, though the star of her portfolio, was just too much to continue with. She will be concentrating more on her medical practice, her children, and enjoying her homes in Boca Raton and Breckinridge. She wishes Zach great success with the project.

Erdem had the following to say, "I look forward to this new project and sincerely thank my friend Nello Balan." Success? I don't think that will be difficult, the space is the best on Southampton's Main Street, the Nellos clientele adore Zach, and he has an excellent eye and will finally make 75 Main a chic destination. I am watching this unfold closely, as it is sure to make for a most interesting season at the main intersection of Southampton.

Anne Hearst and Jay McInerney threw a party at their Manhattan apartment for friend Candace Bushnell's new book "The Carrie Diaries." The new book follows Carrie Bradshaw's high school years. They showed off their glamorous bathroom by filling the tub with ice, champagne, and vodka and had the bar in the master bathroom. Love it! Something refreshing! At the party were Hilary Geary Ross, Wilbur Ross, Nicole Miller, Tatiana Platt, John Dempsey, Rachel Roy, Ross Bleckner, Andre Balazs, Sharon Bush, Cristina Greeven Cuomo, Bettina Zilkha, Diandra Douglas, Somers and Jonathon Farkas, Debbie Bancroft, and Dennis Basso, with Wendy Stark. With it being Memorial Day Week, and the premiere of "Sex & The City 2" happening this week, this party could not be anymore "au courant" if it tried!

Courtney Love.

It has not been even a year yet since Ryan O'Neal buried longtime love Farrah Fawcett. Word has it that O'Neal has been making the rounds with another major 1970s poster girl, Cheryl Tiegs. O'Neal, 69, and Tiegs, 62, got together after seeing each other at Fawcett's funeral last June, sources said. Mouths began running after the May 17 birthday party for Beverly Hills socialite Nikki Haskell on Sunset Boulevard where, it was said, "they spent most of the night sitting very close together on the terrace, talking."

A week before they were seen together at a Hollywood party for Raquel Welch's new memoir. That event, co-hosted by Fawcett's pal Alana Hamilton saw O'Neal with his arm around Tiegs' waist. "It was clear that they were very happy together," a spy told the National Enquirer. A source described the relationship between O'Neal and Tiegs, who have six marriages and seven kids between them, as "a full-blown love affair." How sweet, I guess?

Hamptons homeowner Barbara Walters was phoning friends from recovery in the ICU from her recent heart valve replacement. She is up and walking and when in bed she also spent time organizing her blackberry. Of course she did, you can't slow WAWA down! She was said to be her usual self, impatient ready to get back to work and tart and funny! According to Cindy Adams, her thoughts on the surgery were "The whole experience actually wasn't so terrible, except that you feel like your whole cast and crew just landed on your chest." I'm sure by July 4th she will be back on the scene making the rounds of her Hamptons haunts.

Naomi Watts.

Courtney Love seen at Heathrow Airport heading back to NY having a meltdown on the airport floor. Lying on the ground, unpacking her luggage and then repacking it, bras and panties under people's feet. Screaming at her assistant: "I told you already to get rid of that f - - - ing Burberry scarf. I'm keeping the Chloe." Wow - how sweet, what a way to treat the help. This continued with eight brutal hours of her sitting in first class, which is supposed to be an enjoyable space. Hollering into coach at the abused assistant as to what she was doing regarding getting a charger cord for her Kindle. Oh boy, I hope that poor soul is getting hazard pay!

An unidentified man who was spending the day enjoying the gorgeous weather on the beach in East Hampton tanning was run over by a police SUV today while it rushed to a beach rescue which turned into a beach disaster. The officer was on his way to help a surfer in distress and apparently some large mounds of sand obstructed his view. Witnesses said the man had clear tire marks on his back. He is now spending the Holiday Weekend in the hospital in stable condition. Wow, sounds like he will be needing some compensation and thank God the poor soul is alive. Forget sharks in the water, your not even safe laying on your towel!

East Hampton Interior Designer, Greg McKenzie is featured in the Memorial Day Weekend issue of HC&G Magazine with an eight-page spread on the Water Mill home of Doug and Linda Weintraub. Gorgeous photos! HC&G now has Kendal Cronstrom, formerly of Elle Décor at the helm. The issue has lots of reading material and is not just a boring "ad book."

Fabulous Hamptons designers Denise Rinfret, Greg Lanza, and Brad Ford, featured in Traditional Home's June issue which hit stands this week. It covers their beautiful interior design work at the last Southampton Hospital Designer Showhouse. According to Mary Lynch, Showhouse Manager, the house for this year has been found and this year's designers are being cast as we speak. Another summer of excitement with parties and incredible design is soon to unfold. The Designer Showhouse is the perfect place to take house guests before or after a beautiful a lunch in the Hamptons.

Some Sightings
Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber with their two children Sasha and Kai were spotted kicking off the holiday weekend on Friday afternoon at La Fondita.

Countess LuAnn de Lesseps broke into song at Nick & Toni's on Thursday night with her new single "Money Can't Buy You Class." Elle creative director Joe Zee, music mogul Charlie Walk and new Hamptons Magazine editor Samantha Yanks, along with Haley Binn joined in for the chorus while Michael McCarty and EMM Group partner Michael Hirtenstein were seen clapping along. Bob Ballaban with owner Toni Ross and friends dined at the restaurant on Friday night.

Spotted at Almond Restaurant over the holiday weekend were Joy Behar and her guy Steve enjoying a quiet dinner for two.

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Guest (Guest) from Ireland says::
Well, I have just looked at the video for Luann's song and its very funny - the people what idiots took money from her to make this video - or was she trying to get back at her husbands new girlfriend?
Jan 8, 2011 6:36 am

Guest (Mel) from Keller, TX says::
My grandmother informed me that money couldn't buy me class many years ago. I realized on my own that I didn't have a singing voice. Some people have learned neither.
Jun 21, 2010 2:54 pm

Guest (Tessie) from North Carolina says::
I'd rather listen to 8 hours of Courtney Love screaming at ME than to hear 8 more seconds of that AWFUL "Money Can't Buy You Class" (it can't buy you a decent song or voice either apparently!)
Jun 5, 2010 11:58 am


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