New York Post
Inside Louis Bacon’s secret $500M Hamptons estate,
64-year-old billionaire financier Louis Bacon (left), who purchased Robins Island in bankruptcy court in 1993 for a mere $11 million.
Born to wealthy family in North Carolina, Bacon made his bones on Wall Street as an investor and hedge fund manager, starting Moore Global Investments in 1990 with $25,000 of family money and turning it in to one of the most lucrative hedge funds ever.
But while most masters of the universe tend to take an interest in Hamptons real estate once they’ve made their fortune, Bacon’s interest in Robins Island started back in his college days, when he worked on a charter fishing boat out of Montauk and regularly sailed past the island.
At that time the island’s ownership was under dispute — it had been under dispute since the Revolutionary War, when it was seized from its Loyalist owner, Parker Wickham, by
Patriot members of the Culper Spy Ring.
Nearly 200 years later, in 1979 it was sold for $1.3 million to German investors who tried to unsuccessfully flip it to everyone from Moroccan royalty to Donald Trump.
In the late 1980s, Suffolk County nearly purchased it to help preserve the land — which was one of the last largely undeveloped areas on the East End — but politics got in the way of a deal.
Around the same time in 1989, Wickham’s descendants sued to regain control of the island, which they claimed had been stolen from their family. Those disputes allowed Bacon to swoop in to buy Robins Island on the cheap.
But unlike his peers, who have built out-of-scale, Bond villain-esque lairs in the Hamptons, South Florida, Beverly Hills or Aspen, Bacon gave his fortress of solitude to the birds.
In 1997, Bacon granted a conservation easement for most of the island to the Virginia-based global environmental organization the Nature Conservancy, making Robins Island a protected wilderness area.
More recently, the property was transferred to a family trust intended to forever prevent further development.
It’s not the first time Bacon has preserved insanely valuable real estate. According to the Moore Charitable Foundation’s website, the conservation philanthropist has “protected more than 214,000 acres of land in perpetuity across the United States,” including granting conservation easements in his home state of North Carolina (to protect the Cape Fear river watershed), Wyoming and Colorado. His Colorado donation of 167,000 acres on the Trinchera Blanca Ranch to the US Fish and Wildlife Service was the largest it ever received.
But not all of Bacon’s land deals work out quite
He is best known perhaps for his mansion at the exclusive gated community of Lyford Cay in the Bahamas, where he had a vicious, long running and very public feud with neighbor and disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygård.
For more than a decade the men battled in courts from London to Los Angeles, exchanging lawsuits over development rights and defamation suits, including accusations of drug trafficking, character assassination and even a soupçon of murder.
The latter-day Hatfields and McCoys never did mend their faces, although in the end Bacon’s founda
tion is famed in the Bahamas for its work conserving the oceanic white-tip shark, while Nygård’s NYC headquarters were raided last year by the FBI before he was formally charged with sex trafficking.
Today, Robins Island provides a safe haven for threatened local shorebirds, including terns, piping plovers, sandpipers and oystercatchers. Ospreys flourish and at least one pair of bald eagles are known to have mated on the island, while animals (the eastern mud turtle) and plants (seabeach knotweed) otherwise endangered can
be seen thriving in the restored environment on Robins Island.
Full-grown oak trees have been replanted to replace ones previously harvested, grasses not native to the area have been removed and the herds of deer once overrunning the island have been culled.
While neither the notoriously press-shy Bacon nor his philanthropic Moore Charitable Foundation would comment to The Post, a spokesman did make clear that regular hunting parties and celebrity sightings on Robins Island were no more than idle gossip.
The official word about Buffett, for instance,
is that no one knows anything about the king of the Parrotheads ever dropping by for a friendly visit. Buffett’s representatives did not reply to requests for comment.
As for the real estate value of Robins Island — even in a Hamptons market that is “out of control” with “almost nothing available,” according to Breitenbach — neither Bacon nor his heirs will ever be able to cash in via development.
But don’t worry too much about Bacon: he still has Captain Kidd’s treasure to fall back on.