Last night Raffaello Follieri mingled at the Oscars on the arm of his girlfriend, presenter Anne Hathaway. No one knew who he was, not really, but he looked, one news outlet noted, "tall dark and handsome." Little did they know he could barely afford the tux. Seems just last week, Follieri made an appearance in Delaware Chancery Court, where he explained that he couldn't pay the $12 million he had agreed to pay Ron Burkle to settle a lawsuit the supermarket magnate filed against him in April. The suit alleged that Follieri had taken $57 million of Burkle's money, intended to develop church properties, and used it instead to spend it on "a lifestyle that included private jets, a penthouse and trips to Europe with his movie-star girlfriend." Follieri denied the charges — he would never! — but agreed to settle some months ago. But now, he says, he, um, doesn't have any money anymore. You see, judge, all those trips to the Waverly Inn kinda add up. "The money is not there," one of Follieri's attorneys, Philip Trainer Jr., told the court. Oops?
Yucaipa to be paid in property [Bloomberg]
This morning, "Page Six" reported that the Sultan of Brunei and Raffaello Follieri met for lunch at the Dorchester Hotel, in London. Confused as to what the Sultan, who is famously estranged from his rogue brother, Jeffri, was doing with the rogue Italian businessman/Anne Hathaway boyfriend, we attempted to imagine what they might be talking about over tea and scones.
The Sultan of Brunei: Hello, Hathaello.
Raffaello: Hello, your majesty. Er, your Sultan-ity?
The Sultan of Brunei: No need to be so formal! Please, call me Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah. And how are you, today, Hathaello.
Raffaello: Um, I'm fine. And, by the way, it's not a big deal, but my name is Raffaello. Hathaello is this name that some people gave to me and my girlfriend, together.
The Sultan of Brunei: What? You mean Anne Hathaway isn't coming to this lunch? I have been watching that scene from Brokeback Mountain when she and Jake are in the backseat of the car, on repeat, all week just to prepare myself.
Raffaello: Oh, wow.
The Sultan of Brunei: I also loved her in The Princess Diaries. Very poised.
Raffaello: Yes, she is.
The Sultan of Brunei: So why did you want to meet me today, over lunch at the Dorchester in London, if not just to dash my dreams of meeting the star of the Devil Wears Prada? And how did you get here so quickly? I just read that you were at the Miss Sixty show. I love the fringed mukluks they're doing this year.
Raffaello: I took a private jet, which I paid for with my World Missions Visa credit card. One percent of net purchases go to … the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
The Sultan of Brunei: Is that like the Human Fund?
Raffaello: Kinda. Anyway, you see, I'm looking to expand my business, and I need backers. I just ended my financial relationship with Ron Burkle —
The Sultan of Brunei: Oh! I know him! We met through our mutual friend, Blanket. You might know of his dad, Michael Jackson.
Eliza Dushku officially learned the hard way the First Rule of Fashion Week: Don't arrive at the same time as J.Lo does. When we noticed Dushku and her brother Nate at Wednesday's Marchesa presentation, we scampered over to check out her dress and then completely forgot about her the second we noticed La Lopez and her svelte hand warmer, Marc Anthony, a mere two feet away.
•Lela Rose thinks she's still in the running to design Jenna Bush's wedding dress, despite a first family visit to Oscar de la Renta last week. [NYDN]
•Anne Hathaway totally lied when she said she wouldn't be attending any fashion shows this week. She and Raffaello Follieri were at Miss Sixty. [The Cut]
• Sheryl Crow enters the fashion arena, with an affordable denim line by the same people who make Victoria Beckham's dVb line. [WWD]
• "OK!, the celebrity magazine, could not possibly have purchased all the attention it enjoyed in late December after it got the scoop that Jamie Lynn Spears, the younger and until then less sensational sister of the troubled pop queen Britney Spears, was three months pregnant. Or could it?" [NYT]
• Josh Stein isn't actually leaving Gawker; Emily Gould will write for Jezebel; Choire Sicha will continue contributing columns; and recently departed Wonkette editor Ken Layne returned after just a few months off the job. Can anyone escape the tentacles of Nick Denton? [HuffPo]
• The Writers Guild plans to picket Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan O'Brien as the three late-night hosts return to the air. Letterman gets off easy since he struck a deal with the writers and may get a big boost since big stars (like Robin Williams, natch) won't have to cross the pickets to go on his show. [NYO, NYT]
It looks like 2008 is the new 1978. That is, it will be the year of Halston. Not only will the fashion house, purchased last year by Harvey Weinstein with the creative help of Tamara Mellon and Rachel Zoe, show again at New York's Fashion Week — but it turns out that a Weinstein movie is in the works about the iconic designer's life. And Jude Law is in talks to play the lead role! Which not only means that we get to see Jude Law play gay again, but also that we'll get to see a whole bevy of celebrities played by younger stars. We can see it now: Zach Braff as Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell, Anne Hathaway as Bianca Jagger and oh! Oh! Amy Winehouse as Liza Minnelli!!
Jude Law to Play Halston? [Fashionista]
The A to Z of What's Hot for 2008 [Daily Telegraph]
Earlier:Can Harvey Resurrect Halston?
Looks like Anne Hathaway's not getting any Christmas presents this year! The L.A. Times is reporting that her boyfriend, Italian developer Raffaello Follieri, has decided to settle with Ron Burkle, who sued him last April after partnering with him in a real-estate scheme gone awry. The suit alleged that Follieri had misappropriated funds given to him by a sector of Burkle's Yucaipa Company for the development of Catholic Church property by squandering it on private jets, a $40,000-a-month penthouse, expensive restaurants, and gifts for his movie-star girlfriend. Why did he settle? Was it because he felt he was in danger? We don't know, nor do we know what the settlement amount was, because the Follieri Group is too busy being possibly nonexistent to answer their phones. However, some time ago the Wall Street Journal suggested that Burkle was looking for at least $1.3 million of his money back, which is kind of a lot for a developer who doesn't really seem to develop very much. Lucky for Follieri, he can always play the Catholic card and tell Anne that Christmas really isn't about presents. It's about thanking Jesus for not putting you in jail.
Yucaipa, Follieri Settle Lawsuit [LAT]
What is Stephen Schwartz doing in his downtime with the stagehands on strike? Getting an education. The Broadway composer and lyricist told us he's still working on an opera (commissioned in 2006) to premiere in Santa Barbara in 2009. "It's like going back to graduate school a little bit," Schwartz said at the Enchanted premiere at the Ziegfeld last night. Schwartz revealed to us, for the first time, that the opera is called Cluelessly and Recklessly, and it is a psychological thriller. He said he adapted it from the British film Séance on a Wet Afternoon and is getting used to composing for singers who don't use microphones — for him, the biggest departure from his Broadway work. "Like in Wicked, you know, the orchestra's just playing away. Or in Enchanted, the orchestra's just playing away and you turn the mike up and you hear the singers over the orchestra. In the opera you can't do that. So you have to make sure there's space for the singers. So that's a different way of thinking about writing." This is Schwartz's first opera. "That's why it's so foolish for me to be doing this!" he said. You call it "foolish"; we call it "the only good theater news we've heard since the stagehands' strike began." —Amy Odell
Gawker just put up a very upsetting item: Hathaello is in danger! Apparently at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation gala last night there was tight security, but Raffaello Follieri and Anne Hathaway felt the need to have their own burly bodyguard. None of the other (brighter) luminaries had personal protection, not even A-listers like Meryl Streep, Diane Sawyer, Robin Williams, or Barbara Walters. As Gawker points out, Anne Hathaway doesn't usually travel with a bodyguard (we know, because once we accosted her at a party about her New Jersey Eastern all-state choir days and there was no one there to stop us), so it was probably all for Follieri's benefit. "The weird thing," explains their source, "was no one was approaching the guy anyway." Does this mean that there is a hidden threat to their controversial love? Is one of the men (or churches) that Follieri allegedly ripped off going to come after him? Or, as we secretly suspect, is the young Italian exerting a Scientology-like hold over the lovely Anne, refusing to allow her to read bad press about him? That would explain why he'd hire a bodyguard: to keep prying reporters away. That would also explain something we've been wondering about for a long time: why the hell she hasn't dumped him already.
Marked Man: Who Is Trying To Kill Anne Hathaway's Hot Crazy Boyfriend? [Gawker]
It’s truffle time at New York — a three-part celebration of the original Magic Mushroom (and you know how we feel about that). Moving beyond the fabulous fungi, Adam Platt made his way down to Allen & Delancey and was so impressed with the place that he almost gave it three stars — before remembering that he was Adam Platt.
A prankster made lewd comments to Ann Curry and Matt Lauer during a media conference call between TV writers and the Today anchors. Banker Rafael Follieri, boyfriend of Anne Hathaway, flew commercial from Atlanta to New York despite supposedly owning a private jet. Padma Lakshmi was overheard telling someone she still was "still trying to work the secret to a great relationship out" hours before she made out with Salman Rushdie at Bungalow 8. (Rushdie also almost fell asleep during a play at the Guggenheim on Saturday.) Ivanka Trump couldn't get into East Village dive Black and White because she didn't have an I.D. The smoking hot ex–First Lady of France, Cecilia Sarkozy, is coming to visit New York with her kid.
Remember Raffaello Follieri? He's the Italian real-estate developer who was sued a while ago by his investor, Ron Burkle, for allegedly misappropriating funds, and more important, he is one half of the power couple Hathaello. (The other half is actress Anne Hathaway.) Follieri is again being sued, this time by D.C.-based PR firm the Carmen Group, which says that he hired them to smooth over the whole Burkle thing but then failed to pay them a portion of their $25,000-a-month fee. Follieri's rep denied the accusation. However, had he not paid them, we could sort of see why, what with that big honking front-page Wall Street Journal story that made him sound like the shadiest dude in Shadetown. But the real question is this: Have Hathaello broken up? A quick search indicates that they haven't been photographed together since September 5! Did Anne become the J.Lo to Raffaello's Puffy? Developing
Ciao, Carmen [Legal Times via NYP]
Earlier: Will Hathaello Last?
Market Table has opened for both lunch and dinner with little fanfare, and what we hear today predicts future success. Chef-owner Joey Campanero tells us that he did two and a half turns at lunch today (roughly 100 customers). Plus, the retail counter is cha-chinging away. The biggest seller, Campanero says, is the burger. No surprise, given that it's made from the same magic meat found in burgers at the Spotted Pig, Stand, Borough Food and Drink, City Hall, and even (though not exactly) the Shake Shack. Expect a tough table: the place is even smaller than the Little Owl, Campanero ’s perpetually packed West Village favorite.
Related:Shop Like a Chef (Preferably in His Own Store)
So it appears that the Clintons have made another unwise real-estate investment, this time with Raffaello Follieri, more commonly known as Anne Hathaway's boyfriend. According to today's Journal, after being introduced to Follieri by an aide, the Clintons got buddy Ron Burkle to invest up to $100 million with the young Italian, who said he was planning on buying and developing property for the Roman Catholic Church. Now Burkle is suing Follieri, alleging that he barely bought any churches and instead used everyone's investment money to fund a "lavish lifestyle." This all looks not great for the Clintons: What with Whitewater and Norman Hsu and all, they're starting to look kind of gullible. Maybe they'll go into time shares next. But enough about them: What does this mean for Anne and Raffaello?
On Friday night, the Garden of Ono was overrun by tennis balls and Heineken kegs to celebrate the U.S. Open kickoff. Like fillies just learning to walk, young lady tennis stars tottered around hesitantly, their knotty calves unaccustomed to stiletto heels. Men sporting blazers and bronzer gleefully spectated. "I really like [Rafael] Nadal," said Serena Williams, who was avoiding alcohol and snacks for the night. We tried to get her to dish on what happens in the stadium locker room, but she upheld an Open oath of omerta. "What happens there stays there," she said. "It’s kind of like Vegas." Her sister Venus, who sneaked in the back, kept incognito under a tennis cap (except to say hi to Kevin Connelly and Andy Roddick). We asked Serena what new girls we should look out for on the court. "You know everyone now is so young and so good," she said, shrugging. "And so Russian."—Amy Odell