PRIVATE EQUITY PROTEST 1…(3)

Someone at the Service Employees International Union must have felt the need to enliven the union's continued anti-private equity crusade with some levity – or perhaps they just really needed a day at the beach.

In late August, America's largest union, along with the Working Families Party, organised a tongue-in-cheek protest against any changes that would raise taxes for private equity professionals. The “protest” took place in Southampton, one of the seaside towns comprising The Hamptons, a ritzy summer home haven for New Yorkers including KKR buyout legend Henry Kravis.

A press release announcing the event explained: “Faced with the bleak news [of a credit crunch affecting buyout deals], and concerned that their neighbour may have to sell one of his many lavish homes or dip into his billion-dollar bank account, the neighbours of Kravis and other buyout executives with homes in the Hamptons have begun a campaign – Southampton Alliance for Monied Estates (SHAME) – to call on Congress to keep the tax breaks enjoyed by buyout billionaires like Kravis and Carlyle's Rubenstein.”

Furthermore, SHAME called for a reduction of property taxes paid by industry billionaires on their summer estates. “Kravis, for example, pays an estimated $66,000 a year in property tax on his $16 million Southampton compound,” the release regretfully noted.