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Prophet and Loss

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Sachs responds that deals brought in by other partners were frequently turned down as well. "For every hundred deals we looked at, maybe we'd do one," he says.

But Giacchetto believes that once they had used him to establish the partnership, Sachs and Holdsworth decided they no longer wanted him around. In early October, several clients and their attorneys began calling Giacchetto, he says, claiming that Sachs had told them disturbing things about Cassandra. At first, Giacchetto says, he didn't want to believe that Sachs had turned on him. "But people started calling me and saying, 'This guy is not your friend. He's trying to destroy you.' And I said, 'Why? Why?' " His face reddens perceptibly and his voice grows shrill. "The only answer I have is that he didn't understand my business and thought there really was bad stuff going on. I don't know. But there wasn't. And there isn't."

On October 21, his partners moved out of the office without informing Giacchetto and set up shop directly across the street. A few days later, Giacchetto received a terse letter informing him that he was being removed from the partnership and his one-third interest in the venture would be reduced to about 8 percent. "Dana went apeshit," a colleague says. "He kept crying and yelling that he'd pay them back."

Giacchetto filed his lawsuit a month later. "I think they hoped we'd all separate and I'd keep my reduced interest and life would go on. I'd be mad for a few days, but they'd keep the fund and I'd keep my clients and everything would be wonderful," says Giacchetto. "They were wrong."

Three weeks ago, Giacchetto hired a Greenwich money-management firm to shape up his back office but then promptly dismissed it because he feared its owners were trying to take advantage of his recent troubles. "They wanted too much control and access to the star clients," he says. "And I'm never going to give that away again. "

In the meantime, Giacchetto says, he's back in the game. He has hired two new portfolio managers for his office; one of them, he lets slip, is Chloë Sevigny's brother. He says four of the seventeen clients who bolted last fall have returned to his firm. Eager to show that he's curbed his penchant for name-dropping, he won't say who they are. He also says he's currently in talks with two banks about backing a new venture-capital fund.

Last week, Giacchetto even surfaced at a screening of his old friend DiCaprio's movie The Beach, where he wandered the aisles kissing old friends. But when the house lights dimmed and he went in search of a seat, none was vacant. He wound up sitting cross-legged on the floor, right up against the screen.

Giacchetto's New Year's performance notwithstanding, the mythological character he's often compared to these days is not Cassandra but Icarus, who got burned flying too close to the sun. "I just had a suspicion it wouldn't last," says one intimate. "He was flying too high, had too many people signing on. You knew that if anything ever went wrong, they'd all start jumping ship. He was a New York Magazine article waiting to happen."


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