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Fame and Fortunes

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It was a week of mixed fortunes in New York. Fate was unkind to Bernie Ebbers, who, with his wife sobbing by his side, was jeered by former WorldCom employees as he emerged from court after being found guilty of orchestrating the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. A gang of international arms merchants plotting to smuggle Russian missiles into the country was thwarted, thanks to an informant who met with the ringleaders in the hot tub of a Brooklyn spa. Details continued to emerge about the two retired NYPD detectives arrested for carrying out at least eight Mafia-related murders: the short, fat one, it turned out, not only had a bit part in the movie GoodFellas but was also a former bodybuilder who was once named Mr. New York City. The week witnessed some notorious quitters, like Mario Vazquez of American Idol. Yet it also saw some doughty survivors. Christina Applegate’s husband vowed that she would open in the upcoming Broadway revival of Sweet Charity, despite having broken her foot swinging from a lamppost in a Chicago preview. And Osama bin Laden’s Manhattan-based niece, aspiring singer Wafah Binladin, persevered in her quixotic pursuit of pop stardom. Rank-and-file New Yorkers grumbled about higher bridge and tunnel tolls, but, on a brighter note, David Letterman reported that many hookers were now accepting E-Z Pass. Former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing grabbed a bite at Café Boulud with Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group. What were the two talking about? Tom Wolfe, who stopped by their table, wasn’t telling. Finally, though it didn’t happen here, there was that Robert Blake verdict. He takes the wife he hates out to dinner and some other guy just shoots her? How lucky.


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