Steve Schwarzman: Some of My Best Friends Are Poor People

 Steve Schwarzman
Steve Schwarzman is rich. Photo: Patrick McMullan

"We are not greedy speculators out to make a quick buck," Steve Schwarzman, the Blackstone CEO whose wealth Forbes estimates at $8 billion, said of private-equity groups at a conference yesterday in London. "We are viewed as a destructive force with a short-term perspective, levering companies and stripping their assets to enrich a few nasty people like me, who then don't even pay taxes on all that they get in such an unsavory manner." Yeah, that sounds about right. We had no idea Schwarzman, whose 60th-birthday party cost around $15 million, was so self-aware. And, perhaps, misunderstood? In reality, he said, the aim of private-equity funds like Blackstone is not to mint money for a select few — they're a "force for good." They're practically charitable organizations, which give "the little guy" (really) "via his or her pension fund, 80 percent of the upside in wealth creation that has historically been the exclusive preserve of the Rockefellers and Mellons of the world." Wow, that's so nice. Steve is, like, our friend. Maybe since he's so magnanimous, he'll invite us to his $37 million, 24-room apartment at 740 Park, former home of Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, for his annual Christmas fête! Right? Steve? Buddy?

Blackstone Defends Private Equity Role in Business [Reuters]