Auction Scheduled for Chris Whittle’s East Hampton Estate, Again

Chris Whittle, Briar Patch Road, East Hampton, auction
The property at 90 and 100 Briar Patch Road is subject to a Suffolk County Sheriff’s auction due to looming debts the owner has incurred.
Bespoke Luxury Marketing

An auction has been scheduled for the foreclosure sale of a substantial waterfront estate in East Hampton, though it’s not the first time.

The foreclosure sale of embattled education entrepreneur H. Christopher Whittle’s East Hampton compound on Georgica Pond looks to satisfy an $84.75 million judgment. It has been initially scheduled for June 6, according to a legal notice that appeared in The East Hampton Star earlier this month.

The 11.2-acre property has been the subject of a foreclosure sale before. An auction was scheduled for the property, which Whittle has been trying to unload since 2014, in 2021.

Technically two properties, 90 and 100 Briar Patch Road have been on and off the market over the years. Bespoke Real Estate still has it listed on its website for $95 million, down from the original list price of $140 million in 2014.

The full value of the lots, according to the East Hampton Town Assessor’s office, is only a mere $32 million — 90 Briar Patch Road, a 7.5-acre parcel, is valued at $26.24 million and the 3.7-acre lot at 100 Briar Patch Road is worth $5.72 million.

Last year, State Supreme Court Judge Robert F. Quinlan granted a summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff Pure East Global Investments Limited, which provided a $25.4 million commercial loan to Whittle, secured by a mortgage for 100 Briar Patch Road in 2017.

Pure East also extended a $25 million convertible loan to Global Education Investments.

In December 2018, a judgment for approximately $8.7 was entered against Whittle in favor of Avenues Global Holdings, LLC, which was docketed and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office was directed to schedule an auction of Whittle’s property.

A public auction was held on July 13, 2021, which was sold to Avenues Global and a deed by the sheriff was executed on August 20, 2021. By a quit claim deed dated October 22, 2021, Avenues Global transferred its interests in the properties to Avenues Landco, LLC.

Pure East has continued to go after the properties to satisfy the unpaid loan. The motion last summer was unopposed and Judge Quinlan issued a default judgment and summary judgment on August 10, 2022.

In October 2022, the court-appointed referee, Cornelius S. Rogers, Esq., deemed the sum of $40,102,443 was due on the Whittle loan and $44,649,054 was due on the loan given to Global Education Investments — which both include interest and other charges. He deemed that the mortgaged properties should be sold.

The judge ordered the referee’s report to be upheld on January 10, 2023. The order was filed with the Suffolk County Clerk on February 7, 2023.

The public auction has now been scheduled for June 6, 2023, at 11 a.m. at East Hampton Town Hall at 159 Pantigo Road in East Hampton.

Chris Whittle, Briar Patch Road, East Hampton, auction
The properties in questionBespoke Luxury Marketing

The two separate lots up for bidding hold five structures with a total of 13,800 square feet of living space and 1,155 feet of water frontage.

Known as the Shephard Krech House, the main residence was built in 1931, by notable early 20th-century architect Arthur C. Jackson, who designed Lasata, the East Hampton estate where a young Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent her summers. Though it has been renovated over the years, it has maintained its old-world charm.

The 10,300-square-foot home was designed to entertain, according to Bespoke Real Estate, which still has the listing available on its website.

This is not the first time an auction, of sorts, has been scheduled for the estate. In 2017, an auction was scheduled to satisfy a $3.9 million judgment obtained by Dubai-based billionaire Sunny Varkey that resulted in a lien against the estate, The New York Post reported at the time.

Varkey, then the chairman of GEMS, for-profit schools in the United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and his native India, had lent Whittle nearly $4 million.

It was not clear what happened in that situation.

Whittle made $185 million from Time Inc. when he sold half of Whittle Communications in 1989, and tried to use the money for an education company called the Edison Project, which planned to start a network of 1,000 private schools.

In 2012, he did successfully open the Avenues: the World School, which specialized in teaching kids a second language at exclusive prep schools, along with Alan Greenberg, a communications executive, and Benno Schmidt, a former president of Yale University.

Whittle stepped down as its chairman in 2015, but is a part of a third venture.

Whittle could not be reached for comment.

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Chris Whittle, Briar Patch Road, East Hampton, auction
The pool at Chris Whittle’s estate offers views of Georgica Pond.Bespoke Luxury Marketing