The entrance to Burying Hill Beach in Westport, Aug. 6, 2012. (Dylan Stableford/Yahoo)
President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly to Connecticut on Monday for a star-studded fundraiser at movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's sprawling beachfront estate in Westport. The event means about $2 million for Obama's campaign—and traffic disruptions and beach closings, plus a surge in overtime pay for the town of some 26,000 people.
WestportNow.com gave its readers a peek at what it means for the locality to play host to a presidential fundraiser, this one a $35,800-per-guest soiree featuring "The Dark Knight Rises" star Anne Hathaway, "The West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Actress Joanne Woodward, Hollywood icon Paul Newman's widow, is also expected to attend. In 1999, Newman, Woodward and Martha Stewart--all then-Westport residents--co-hosted a fundraiser at Weinstein's home for Sec. of State Hillary Clinton's 2000 U.S. Senate campaign.
Security for the most powerful man in the world means traffic delays as local police close off his motorcade route. Westport's Marine Police Unit will patrol the shoreline near Weinstein's home, while area firefighters and other emergency workers will be at the ready.
These kinds of preparations are not Obama-specific: Any sitting president can count on the full mobilization of local law-enforcement and first responders. Likewise, partisans on both sides of the aisle reliably express outrage about the costs related to high-profile political visits by the opposing party.
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First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said the town expects to incur some overtime costs as part of its role in providing security for the visit.
"That's been the pattern in the past and unfortunately we do not anticipate the Obama campaign—just like those of previous president—to help us out with the overtime tab," he said.
While overtime costs are nothing new to municipalities that host a president, the report noted another disruption that might make a dent in Obama's local approval ratings: "The Secret Service asked that state-owned Sherwood Island State Park and town-owned Burying Hill Beach be shut down for the day, leaving thousands without access to Long Island Sound waters on a hot summer day."
Weinstein's home is adjacent to Burying Hill Beach; Sherwood Island State Park is where the president's helicopter is expected to land.
A member of the Secret Service stands at the entrance to Weinstein's Westport home. (Dylan Stableford/Yahoo)
Obama's trip to Connecticut comes as Mitt Romney raised $101.3 million for his campaign and the Republican National Committee in July, ending the month with nearly $186 million in the bank.
With that kind of cash, Romney, whose personal wealth is estimated at around $250 million, could buy Weinstein's $15.5 million estate six times over. Here's how the Hartford Courant describes the film chief's digs:
Weinstein, the Oscar-winning producer of "Shakespeare in Love," among other films, bought the property at 26 Beachside Ave. in 1994 for $4.2 million, according to property records for The Warren Group. The two-story, 8,900-square-foot Colonial-style house was built in 1909.
Weinstein later bought neighboring 28 Beachside in 2000 for $4 million. That property includes two smaller houses, described in town records as a Cape and a ranch, together totaling about 2,500 square feet.
The main house includes six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a spacious stone terrace. It's topped off by a heated pool. Each property has nearly doubled in market value since Weinstein purchased them, according to town records.
Yahoo News' Dylan Stableford contributed to this report.
- Politics & Government
- President Barack Obama