Now We’ll Get to See Even More of the Naked CowboyThe scourge of Times Square is getting his own reality-TV show. Meanwhile, a Cadwalader partner sues over the mold in his Hamptons house, and the ‘Times’ thinks we care too much about people’s personal lives (can’t imagine why), and more, in our daily roundup of industry news.
Stevie Cohen Could End Up in a PickleNo, not in the Damian Hirst sense, though that would be amazing: The art-loving SAC Capital Management CEO could have some problems with the SEC if he’s not careful. Plus! An ex–Bear CEO jumps ship at JPMorgan, Natalie Portman’s apartment goes on the block, and Condé Nast has a green issue, in our daily rundown of industry news.
‘Us Weekly’: Keeping ‘OK!’ HonestMEDIA
• NBC golden boy Ben Silverman sells his production company, Reveille, to
Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, Elizabeth. [LAT]
• CNN producer Chez Pazienza is forced to pack his bags after blogging for the Huffington Post. [TVNewser/Mediabistro]
• Us Weekly reports that OK! magazine “sensationalized” Grey’s Anatomy star Eric Dane’s battle with cancer in a cover story. (Actually, he only had some malignant cells on his lip frozen off in a doctor’s office.) “This isn’t the first time OK! has been wrong,” they note. But is Us really crusading against yellow journalism? Or are they just annoyed they didn’t get the scoop? [Us Weekly]
white men with money
Harry Macklowe Takes It on the Chin Just about a year ago, real-estate mogul Harry Macklowe borrowed $5.8 billion from Deutsche Bank to buy seven office buildings in New York City while putting up just $50 million of his own cash. That debt would have come due today, but last week Macklowe made a tentative agreement to turn control of the buildings back over to the bank, since the current credit crunch has made it impossible for him to refinance the debt. Though some holders of the debt are reluctant to sign on to the plan, according to The Wall Street Journal, the deal will probably go through by the end of the day. Meanwhile, Macklowe is pleading with another lender whose bill came due today — Fortress Investment Group, from whom he borrowed $1.4 billion in 2003 — to give him additional time. To pay them off, he’ll have to sell off two other buildings he owns: a small midtown office building and the celebrated General Motors Building, bringing the total number of buildings he lost to nine.
If the deal with Deutsche Bank goes through, could this be the first multi-billion-dollar real-estate deal gone sour in which unsuspecting investors aren’t given the shaft — in the form of multi-billion-dollar write-downs or plummeting stock prices — and the responsible parties are the only ones to take it on the chin?
JPMorgan Chase Tower at WTC Site to Lose the Beer GutWe’re no closer to knowing when the toxin-clouded former Deutsche Bank building will come down from its corner at the World Trade Center site, but we have fresh reason to look forward to the JPMorgan Chase tower that’s supposed to replace it. Someone close to the process tells us that the ponderous bulge on the lower floors of the design (labeled a “beer belly” by some critics) has vanished from the plans. Early renderings indicated that the projection would hold the bank’s trading floor, but it was received negatively by preservationists. The building still must negotiate a tangle of parking, security, and public spaces while offering wide, high trading floors, says our source. “Amenity floors and cafeterias and conference centers add up to different sizes,” the insider explained. So some creative structuring beyond the standard straight tower model may still be required. But we have it on good authority that the architecture will be more sloping than slouching. That is, of course, if the state clears the site up before JPMorgan gets tired of waiting and starts considering other locations —Alec Appelbaum
For Viacom Freelancers, Neither Happiness Nor Health for ChristmasMEDIA
• Viacom screws over its army of freelancers by rolling back benefit programs drastically. Merry Christmas! [MixedMedia/Portfolio]
• The Washington Post is sending veteran reporter and inveterate partier Keith Richburg to town to take over the paper’s New York bureau. He’s well known for throwing parties with, get this, as many as 30 people! Will Manhattan will be able to handle it? [NYO]
• No holiday party at Time Inc. or the New York Times. Suckas! [Radar]
Air America Host Randi Rhodes Mugged?MEDIA
• Air America talk-show host Randi Rhodes was assaulted on Park Avenue last night while walking her dog? [Gawker]
• Jack Shafer investigates the billionaires behind ProPublica, the newly established New York–based investigative-journalism nonprofit led by former Journal managing editor Paul Steiger. Surprise, they’re big Democratic donors. [Slate]
• Howard Kurtz took the nonstop promotion of his gossipy new book to its logical conclusion, interviewing himself on his own CNN show. [HuffPo]
• Lehman landed former Florida governor Jeb Bush as an adviser. Makes you wonder which bank will get the honor of hiring W. when the “first MBA president” finally steps down. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Does Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis’s move to save Countrywide, the largest mortgage lender in the United States, make him a modern-day J.P. Morgan? [MarketWatch]
• John Dyment, the global head of Deutsche Bank’s hedge-fund unit, jumped ship for Shumway Capital Partners, a hedge fund based in Greenwich. [TheStreet.com]
the morning line
Three Punished for Deutsche Deaths
• More than a week after the Deutsch Bank blaze killed two firefighters, three FDNY honchos have been reassigned for failing to regularly inspect the building or come up with a plan to fight a fire there. [NYT]
the morning line
Gonzales’s Resignation Will Affect Us Somehow, We’re Sure
• Oh, boy. We know this isn’t Gotham-specific, but Attorney General Albert Gonzales, after months of pressure to resign in the face of possible perjury charges, has finally done so. Adios, Bushito (as they used to call him Texas). [Newsday]
Deutsche Bank Tries to Rescue Its Good NameEver wonder what Deutsche Bank thinks about all of this anger over the deaths of firemen in the Deutsche Bank building? You know, because every news story refers to the dangerous hollowed-out edifice as “The Deutsche Bank Building” even though Deutsche Bank sold it in 2004? Well, guess what — Deutsche Bank hates it. We hear they’ve had publicists scrambling to contact news agencies who are covering the story and get them to refer to the building as 130 Liberty Street, or at least “the former Deutsche Bank building,” so that Deutsche Bank won’t keep being associated with the accidents there. One such journalist pointed out “that the name Deutsche Bank was like the Chrysler Building — no one cares if Chrysler is still in the building, it’s still called that.” Though, the Chrysler Building didn’t kill anybody lately. We sort of see Deutsche Bank’s point.
the morning line
Two More Hurt at Deutsche Bank
• Things keep getting worse at the Deutsche Bank building: Yesterday a worker for the sinister John Galt Corporation “lost control” of a forklift on the 23rd floor, from which it tumbled 200 feet to the ground, crashing through the roof of a shed and sending two more firefighters to the hospital. [
in other news
New ‘Times’ HQ: Mo’ Subcontractors, Mo’ ProblemsThe new New York Times tower is shiny and pretty and environmentally friendly and all that. But, as it turns out, it’s also a hulking mass of conflicts of interest. For the last year or so, every time the paper so much as passingly mentions the Atlantic Yards project it feels compelled to make the ritual disclosure that, indeed, Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner was also responsible for the new 52-story headquarters. And now that it’s turning out that at least some of the blame for the botched Deutsche Bank dismantling that led to two firefighters’ deaths belongs to a company called Safeway Environmental, a new standard disclaimer was introduced today:
(Safeway Environmental was one of the subcontractors used in the development of a new headquarters for The New York Times, across Eighth Avenue from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.)
What’s coming next? Did Roger Stone lobby for tax breaks on the new building? Did Joe Bruno fly down for the day to have a meeting about it? Do employees feel violated as neighbors peer through the glass walls at what’s going on inside? We so hope David Berkowitz used to deliver mail to whatever stood on the Eighth Avenue site back in the seventies. That’d be an awesome disclaimer.
Obscure Company Is Behind 9/11 Demolition Work [NYT]
the morning line
• GOP consultant Roger Stone resigned his job with the state Republican Party over that call to Pa Spitzer, but he still maintains — busted alibi and all — that Democratic operatives may have just broken into his house and made the call from his phone while using some kind of high-tech device to impersonate his voice. Ya-huh. [NYT]
the morning line
• As Robert Morgenthau’s office starts a criminal investigation of the Deutsche Bank blaze that killed two firefighters, it turns out that the faulty standpipe had been deliberately cut — and recently. [NYP]
the morning line
Murder at Deutsche Bank?
• The deaths of two firefighters in the Deutsche Bank blaze this weekend may be classified as homicides — and it could be negligent contractors, who disabled a critical standpipe, and chain-smoking Eastern European immigrants, who started the fire, who are accused of murdering them. [NYP]
the morning line
Ground Zero Claims Two More
• Two firefighters died Saturday in a blaze in the abandoned Deutsche Bank building adjacent to ground zero. The pair “walked into a horror show,” as Spitzer put it, when they met a maze of protective polyurethane sheets that may have made the fire harder to fight. [amNY]
Are You Smarter Than a Goldman Banker?Great triumph mixed with crushing defeat the other night as highly competitive people with lots of disposable income gathered at the Gramercy Park Hotel Private Roof Club for a fancy quiz night to benefit Darna, an organization that feeds struggling women and children in Tangier. It was a strange mix of monied New York: socialites, models, fashion designers, and, of course, investment bankers, who felt a little out of place. “We’re investment-bank nerds, so we spent pretty much a month planning our outfits,” said a member of the Goldman Sachs team. “We had wardrobe consultations on conference calls.” The grand prize they were competing for? A trip to Morocco to stay in the family villa of model Jacquetta Wheeler, the host.
the morning line
A Bad Day for Daniel Goldstein*
• The key lawsuit seeking to block Atlantic Yards has been dismissed on a technicality. A group of tenants facing eminent-domain relocation failed to convince a judge they weren’t offered comparable housing. [NYP]
• Mark Green, the new president and one of the marquee voices of Air America, interviewed Michael Bloomberg for the network’s big relaunch next week; the ex-rivals were reportedly quite chummy, trading bad puns and agreeing on most of Bloomberg’s mayoral policies. [NYT]
• This is exactly what the torturously slow dismantling of the Deutsche Bank building was supposed to prevent: A fifteen-foot-long pipe fell 35 stories from the half-stripped skyscraper, plunging into a neighboring firehouse and sending two firefighters to the hospital. [NYDN]
• Bail for the domestic-enslaving Long Island couple was set at $2.5 million for the wife and $1 million for the husband; meanwhile, a raid on the mansion is said to have uncovered the instruments of torture, which include knives and a rolling pin. [Newsday]
• And, a bomb scare shook up an elementary school in the Putnam County town of Kent after a suspicious and fragrant package was delivered to the building. But not to fear: After a Hazmat team and bomb squad got involved, an X-ray revealed it was twelve pounds of marijuana. [WNBC]
* Or maybe not a bad day at all. As explained here, we totally misread this news.
More Actual Progress at Ground Zero!
Could it be? Yes, it could. A mere three weeks after real, genuine construction started at ground zero — the concrete foundation was finally poured for the much-delayed Freedom Tower — there’s set to be some more real, genuine progress today. Five years after it was badly damaged and rendered uninhabitable by the attacks, the long-shrouded Deutsche Bank building is finally coming down. The AP is reporting that the building’s façade is being removed starting this morning; once that is gone, the steel-and-concrete infrastructure comes next. One of the new WTC towers is set to be built on the site, plus a new Greek Orthodox church. Don’t start rushing to say your Greek prayers, though: It’ll be a year till the current building is gone.
Work Begins Friday to Take Down Damaged WTC Skyscraper [AP via Newsday]
Earlier: Freedom Tower Construction Finally Begins, Boringly