Hamptons Police arrested Hermione Grant, bookkeeper for the East End chapter of Save Scuttled Surfers (S3), this week for embezzling $17—or 50 percent of the charity’s 2015 fund to help area surfers who can no longer enjoy their favorite sport.
“Fortunately, S3’s four top executives had already received their combined $11 million in salaries and annual bonuses, and the organization delivered $14 million for its 2015 advertising budget earlier in the year, before Ms. Grant had concocted her scheme,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch explained on Thursday. “However, this does not diminish the fact that she attempted to walk away with half of the $34 that should have been used to help a local surfer get one skeg or a used leash when they eventually get another board,” Hirsch said, sharing sentiments from S3’s high-powered public relations team, which is paid $3 million per year separate from the charity’s advertising budget.
“Thank God she didn’t get it all,” S3 CEO Bryan VanCoogan said. “Otherwise I’d have to ask myself why we’re even bothering to raise money for these needy ex surfers.”
Save Scuttled Surfers brought in unprecedented earnings through a record 16 fundraisers in 2015, including nine lavish, star-studded dinners at VanCoogan’s Water Mill estate; a raffle to become a deckhand on VanCoogan’s yacht during its next trip to the Mediterranean (“the Med,” as he describes it); several charity art auctions where wealthy locals and visiting celebs could buy works donated by local artists for pennies on the dollar; and a handful of other benefits.
Grant, who was paraded in front of waiting news crews, had nothing to say on the matter, which has become the talk of the Hamptons since her arrest on Wednesday. After her arraignment and paying her $37,000 bail, she could be seen on local news holding a tray of lattes and putting up her right hand in the classic “hang loose” gesture, often used by the coolest of surfers.
Hirsch said more will be revealed soon.