CEO imperialism on Nantucket

  Theodore Robinson's painting Nantucket, (1882) -- way before the modern fat cats arrived to take over much of the island.

Theodore Robinson's painting Nantucket, (1882) -- way before the modern fat cats arrived to take over much of the island.

From Robert Whitcomb's Digital Diary, in GoLocal24.com

A rich Nantucket summer resident (and that’s sort of a redundancy these days) is fighting mightily to prevent  the Nantucket Land Bank from building a small dormitory for 22 seasonal workers to address in a minor way the deep affordable-housing crisis on that billionaire-dense island, where some workers have had to sleep on floors or in vehicles and shipping containers. The dorm would be 350 feet, but well shielded by trees, from the 5,700-square-foot wooden chateau of David Long, the CEO of Liberty Mutual, the Boston-based insurance company. He calls the place “Summer Wind.’’


Long has hired a bunch of high-priced lawyers to try to kill the project through assorted technical arguments even as the Board of Selectmen and most others on the island support it. Long doesn’t want the peasantry near him.

Long may be typical of the imperial executives who have been running companies (and now the United States) since the ‘80s – obsessed with maximizing their personal wealth above all else and wallowing in conspicuous consumption. They tend to have houses in places such as the Hamptons and Nantucket which, since crowded by other rich people, further inflates their self-importance.

Long was paid about $20 million last year, and, as The Boston Globe famously noted, $4.5 million was spent to renovate his 1,335-square-foot office (throne room?) at Liberty Mutual.

Such folks are making Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard boring. They’re building a Greenwich, Conn., on sand dunes.