Fire Island: War in Progress

Jon Wilner and Eric von Kuersteiner

markatlarge Exclusive:

Our blog post, Clash of the Titans, sparked a major battle that has been brewing for some time between two Fire Island kingpins who once had a close friendship for 12 years. But now Eric von Kuersteiner, the former owner of a large chunk of Fire Island Pines real estate and prominent Fire Island realtor Jon Wilner are embroiled in a very bitter war of words.

It all started when markatlarge posted that Seth Weissman (who part of an investment group that now owns 80% of Fire Island Pines’ commercial real-estate once owned by Eric von Kuersteiner) rented the house that held Ascension’s T-Dance for the past two years. Ascension is a popular weekend of parties held each year in Fire Island, organized by Eric von Kuersteiner (EvK).

markatlarge was told Kuersteiner wanted to rent the house again for this year’s party, but could not because Weissman was un-willing to rent EvK the week of Ascension.

Well that information didn’t sit well with Weissman’s broker John Wilner at all. Wilner promptly posted a very unflattering response to the post slamming EvK. EvK got wind of the nasty response and returned the favor with salacious stories and accusations about Wilner.

Let’s go though the responses blow-by-blow and see if we can make any sense of them.

Wilner says EvK was offered the house rental repeatedly during the fall and winter, but repeatedly refused the property. According to Wilner, the owner decided to put the house on the market and it was snapped up by Seth Weissman and his friends. After it is was rented, per Wilner’s response, EvK requested to rent it for the week of Ascension, but the owner turned him down because he didn’t want to put unnecessary wear and tear on the house.

That’s how Wilner sees it. To me it doesn’t quite jive 100%. If the owner didn’t want the “wear and tear” on the house then why was it repeatedly offered for rent for the Ascension T-Dance? Why did the owner rent the Ascension week to EvK in the past, but this year was only was willing to rent the entire season?

EvK, as expected, has a completely different version of events. According to EvK’s comment he requested to rent the house Ascension week, Wilner told EvK that Weissman rented the entire season and would not give up Ascension week. Evk goes on to say, “We were disappointed, but asked if we could match
 Seth’s offer for the seasonal rental even though it would mean that we would
 have to find enough shares to fill the house for the entire season.  We
 even sweetened the deal for the owner because of how good he has been to us for
 the past two years.  We offered to replace all the carpeting, paint the
 home and fix the hot-tub at our own expense (unlike with Seth who was demanding
 those things be paid for by the homeowner — at least that is what Jon Wilner 
told me).” Despite that generous offer the owner declines the deal.

WTF, are you kidding me? That doesn’t jive either. EvK is going to pay the same amount as Weismen plus do work on the house for free and the owner doesn’t take the deal. I don’t believe it. It can only be one of three things: 1. The owner is a complete moron. 2. Wilner didn’t tell the owner about EvK’s deal. 3. EvK has greatly embellished this story… or some combination of all three. If this story is true, I’d like to invite EvK to rent my apartment for a week and completely remodel it for free, it will be available be anytime he needs it.

Wilner posted a second comment hotly contesting EvK’s assertion about the rental. The only way we might get to the bottom of this is to speak to the homeowner. [Mr. Homeowner: Please contact me, pretty please!]

Wilner also claims EvK doesn’t want to pay any rent for the property that will hold the T-Dance, but instead wants to barter services from his construction company. In all fairness to EvK the profits from Ascension week go to a charity he runs, Fund in the Sun, so it’s conceivable that he would want to keep costs as low as possible to maximize the donation amount.

Wilner goes on to suggest that Ascension might not be happening. He questions why there are no plans, ticket sales or media, stoking a very prevalent rumor Ascension is cancelled. EvK unequivocally says it’s a go. [Gurl, this party better happen or your gonna be dead homo walking.]

Wilner, according to EvK’s response, used to be on the board of EvK’s charity, rented his real estate office at a cut-rate from EvK when he owned the properties and made over one million dollars on commissions in EvK’s real estate dealings. Seems like they were very tight. What caused the downfall between these two best buds? According to EvK, a Fund in the Sun board member passed Wilner on the boardwalk and didn’t say hi.

In Wilner’s second comment he says the falling out was because EvK accused him of lying about the T-Dance rental property and a Fund in the Sun board member minimized his contribution to the Ascension Party. Wilner also refutes making one million dollars in commissions and claims to have waived fees on multiple EvK real estate deals.

Something doesn’t add up here. Is it a mere misunderstanding between good friends or is Wilner trying to align himself with the new money players on Fire Island. A statement from the homeowner would help clear things up provided he hasn’t take a side in this battle royale. Or we might never get the real story and this story will just be one great chapter in Fire Island’s sordid past.


Welcome to social media Fire Island. It’s finally landed on your shores. It has toppled governments around the world, but I feel you have a little more grit than that. Follow me on twitter to stay updated with the latest gossip. Forth of July weekend I will be on the island of turmoil for the first time this summer– tweeting live. Don’t miss it

:Follow markatlarge on Twitter

You have gossip? email me at or tweet it to me at @markatlarge.

** Please read both Mr. Wilner’s and Mr. Kuersteiner responses in their entirety in Clash of the Titans. Any the many other comments from supporters and detractors of both men.

P.S. If I’m found dead in a hot tub on the fourth of July, consider the death very suspicious, and bring all these post to the authorities immediately.

This story has been updated:

** UpdateFire Island: When Rich People Fight Update **


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2 thoughts on “Fire Island: War in Progress

  1. Pingback: Fire Island: Clash of the Titans markatlarge

  2. Robert Feldman

    Been here for almost thirty years.

    Both gentlemen are good businessmen.

    Good businessmen earn tons of money.

    And sometimes good businessmen have disagreements.

    The Pines will be here long after we are all dead if it doesn’t get washed away by natural forces; natural forces no NOT include social media.


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