Manhattan hedge fund bro Brett Barna may have lost his job and his Airbnb privileges when he rented out and allegedly trashed a $20 million Sag Harbor mansion in the name of charity earlier this month, but he still has this: his own side of the wild and crazy #Sprayathon2016 story.
According to the New York Times, the owner of the trashed property, investor Omar Amanat, was recently arrested on fraud charges. And while the charges against him are completely unrelated to the July 3rd rager, Barna says Amanat pressured him for thousands of dollars (for bail, he assumes) and spitefully outed the party to the press. This is why we can't have nice Sprayathons :(.
Happy 4th 🇺🇸🍾🎉🍕#Hamptons #sprayathon #fourthofjuly #champagne
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I'm just gonna leave this here. Good cause and an even better party #sprayathon #puppiesandacehood #4th #montauk
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The NY Times reports that Amanat initially asked Barna for $27,000 to rent his house out for five days, to be paid immediately in cash. Barna said he didn't have that much cash, so he agreed to pay through Airbnb instead. Then Amanat got a little more pushy. From the NY Times:
Even before the party, Mr. Barna said he got repeated texts and calls from Mr. Amanat asking for more money. After the party, the texts became more aggressive, though Mr. Amanat never said why he should be paid more, according to Mr. Barna. A business associate of Mr. Amanat told Mr. Barna they wanted $13,000 on top of the $27,000 that had been paid, Mr. Barna said.
And more pushy still:
Mr. Barna kept the text messages he received from Mr. Amanat. One from Mr. Amanat’s phone number said,“I’ll keep my cool for another 24 hours, then I'll handle things another way." A later text read: "When you least expect it one night, something so unspeakably bad is going to happen to you (maybe its karmic law, maybe it’s a friend of mine who heard what you did to me). Personally I won’t do a thing to you."
Barna also alleges that Amanat rented the inside of the house to another group on July 3rd, meaning Barna's large crowd—he insists it was 500 people, not 1,000—was confined to the outdoor area. (Barna also called the party "good clean fun.")
Barna has reportedly refused to pay the agreed upon $27,000 rental charge, in part because Amanat allegedly double-booked the property; despite earlier NY Post reports, no suit or damages claim has been filed against him. Paul Fried, a developer who reportedly helped negotiate Barna's rental price, said that the pool, deck, and plumbing system are still badly damaged from the party.
Fried told the NY Times that Amanat asked for more money because, "after trashing the house, Barna refused to pay for the rental."
Still recovering from the 3rd of July 💃🏻🎉❤️🇺🇸 #sprayathon
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You might be wondering why this is relevant. Didn't Barna still flaunt his wealth with a tasteless party featuring costumed dwarfs with Champagne rockets?
On July 13th, the FBI arrested Amanat in New Jersey, charging him with four counts of fraud. His lawyer told the NY Times, "I am not able to answer these questions [related to the party]. I am focused on other matters related to the criminal case."
But for Barna, the fraud and Amanat's subsequent release on bail, combined with the alleged pressure for more cash, are proof enough that Amanat set out to tarnish his name.
"Omar knew exactly what he was doing when he planted this story," Barna told the paper. "His goal was to cream me in the press to pressure me into giving him more money."
So is Barna the Good Guy here after all? Apparently, he'll settle for Not The Worst Guy Ever—he assured the NY Times that there were other parties in the Hamptons that weekend that were "a lot worse." If you know what their hashtags were on Instagram, please let us know!