Governor David Paterson was just sworn in and gave his first address as head of the state. And boy, was he excited. It was hard not to get giddy for him, even though he took about ten minutes to introduce everybody that came to see the event (Hillary Clinton! Chuck Schumer! The governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts! (The last of whom is also black!) Mayor Bloomberg! Paterson's stepdaughter! Yaaaaay!). Every dignitary in the audience seemed to be wearing at least one piece of ridiculous green flair, which added a comical air to the proceedings. Paterson allowed himself only one swipe at Spitzer, saying: "[My wife] Michelle and I have a different kind of marriage," before pausing for laughs. His speech was centered upon the theme of moving forward "in spite of obstacles and regardless of circumstance." He also challenged party leaders to work together on issues, unlike in the past. To close his speech, he couldn't resist a moment of triumph. "Let me reintroduce myself," he shouted. "I am David Paterson, and I am the governor of New York State." We wondered whether it was too much, but then, as the standing ovation stretched toward two minutes long, we realized it wasn't. This guy is going to be fun.
• Joseph Lewis, the British billionaire who built up his stake in Bear Stearns last summer, lost about $1.6 billion this past weekend, approximately half of his entire fortune. Bear's biggest investor, Dallas-based money manager James Barrow, whose firm had a 9.95 percent stake, also lost big — at least $750 million. Activist shareholder Bruce Sherman and departed CEO James Cayne each lost big on their 5 percent stakes, although Cayne might not care so much: He just closed on a $28.24 million Plaza pad and spent late last week playing bridge in a tournament in Detroit. [Bloomberg]
• Meanwhile, Bear's "fire sale" is spreading like wildfire down the street, singing Lehman Brothers, among other top banks. [DealBook/NYT]
• And Barry Diller's IAC is "sputtering." [NYT]
The hottest item up for grabs Saturday night at the Booker T. Washington Middle School spring auction was a tour for four (two kids, two adults) of Albany conducted by none other than Governor (as of 1 p.m. today) David Paterson. The lovable gov, whose son attends the Upper West Side school, had offered the outing way before his former running mate Eliot Spitzer’s call-girl troubles. Bidding began at an impressive $2,000 — the initial bidder had to leave the party early and left his offer by proxy — but quickly climbed to a final price of $3,700. The item “obviously got a lot cooler in the last week,” announced the auctioneer, who added that any money collected would be returned “if, with everything that transpired, David is not able to honor it … We haven’t been able to get a hold of him.” The winner, who had been bidding determinedly but wouldn’t discuss his prize with this reporter, won’t be able to ask Patterson about the events that led to his new position, however. A caveat included with the description of the item read: "In order to comply with New York’s ethical and legal guidelines, consistent with the public trust, and to prevent actions that are intended, or appear to be intended, to achieve personal gain or benefit by the successful bidder of this item, kindly refrain from the discussion of specific professional and government business activities during your visit." This is as it should be; Paterson clearly understands that people should be paying big bucks for a good time with him, rather than vice versa. —S. Jhoanna Robledo
Okay, just because you're not as titillated by Eliot Spitzer's trampage as you were last week, you still want to know what's going on, right? Like, where the H is Kristen right now? Is Eliot Spitzer still chasing tail? And what's going on with Silda? Is she recovering with her mom in a condo in Florida right now with a glass of iced Chardonnay and a Danielle Steele novel? Here's what you may have missed over the weekend while you were too busy wandering around the East Village with green beads around your neck looking for a bar whose name began with a "Mc."
• Federal investigators are looking into payment records to a Spitzer consultant named Kristian Stiles, who used to put a lot of travel, lodging, and entertainment expenses for the governor onto her own credit card and ask for reimbursement later. [NYT]
• The Times took this opportunity to chat with three high-end prostitutes about their jobs, and they wrote a story that included this gem: "Undoubtedly, their willingness to speak publicly came with unusually upbeat perspectives on prostitution, which for many women is devastatingly exploitative." As they say, no one beats a happy hooker. [NYT]
At first we were grateful for the Eliot Spitzer prostitute scandal — it provided a much-needed beak from the endless horror that has been the Democratic-primary campaign. But now, less than a week after it broke, we're suffering from Spitzer fatigue. Isn't there anything else tawdry and embarrassing to talk about? We've sort of burnt out all of our nerve endings regarding Spitzer. It's like Britney Spears — we're all out of sorry. Lo and behold, yesterday we learned that there is something more tawdry and embarrassing than a married governor using hookers: a married governor having threesomes with his wife and male limo driver. Combined with the added bonus that the wife, despite having seen him frolicking in bed with another man, says she is shocked to learn that he's gay. (Lady, regardless of whether there was another penis in the room, straight men do not "frolic," mmkay?) And thus, Jim McGreevey, Dina Matos McGreevey, and hunky driver Teddy Pedersen have relieved us from our Spitzer doldrums.
Amid all the vengeful glee on Wall Street, the Ashleymania, and the coverage that has accompanied Spitzer’s fall, one aspect of the story has been underexplored, according to journalist Greg Palast: Could the Lonesome Gov’s fall have had something to do with the Fed's $200 billion bailout of the subprime-mortgage industry, which Spitzer conspicuously opposed and which coincidentally occurred on the same day as his resignation? It was a federal investigation which uncovered Spitzer, Palast points out, and his outing could be seen as unusual.
Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him in diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him. Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer — rarely done in these cases — was made at the ‘discretion’ of Bush’s Justice Department.
Palast, a cult hero in underground journalism circles (he’s the winner of six “Project Censored” awards), doesn’t really unload any evidence as much as speculate at sinister motives, but it's interesting, and better than watching Ashley’s maddeningly chaste dance moves on some scrub’s cell-phone camera. —Josh OzerskyEliot’s Mess [Greg Palast]
Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime [WP]
Eliot Spitzer’s political career, gravely injured after a collision with reality on Monday, finally passed into the great unknown two days later. But Spitzerism — the soul, that is, of his career — expired months ago.
Unlike virtually every other Democratic politician in the country, Eliot Spitzer understood markets. He believed in the potential of widespread investing in stocks to build and spread genuine wealth, and as attorney general, he was like a Money magazine editor on crack, targeting enemies of small investors: self-promoting analysts, corrupt mutual-fund traders, predatory lenders. Spitzerism wasn't about taxing and regulating profits; it was about diffusing profits to people who have never received a dividend check.
• Eliot Spitzer has been careful about the lawyers he's selected to protect him against potential charges related to his activities with random twentysomething hookers, hiring a set of heavy hitters from white-collar crime specialists Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He's right to be choosy: "Hiring a lawyer is not unlike selecting a river guide," the Times says today. "One wants a professional who not only steers clear of the rapids but does so in a reassuring manner. It also helps if he knows what to do should the boat hit the rocks." Yeah. That's just how we would have put it. [NYT]
• A New York court rules that the daughter of a Jell-O heiress is not entitled to a taste of the multi-million-dollar fortune. [New York Law Journal]
• Is Hillary Clinton's legal background hindering her campaign? [Law.com]
Can you not get enough of the Spitzer sex scandal? Is the minutiae of the governor's trysts with hookers that has subsumed pretty much every media outlet for the entire week still somehow not enough? Do you feel that there are some important people, such as deposed publisher Judith Reagan, Wikepedia dumpee Rachel Marsden, and Dennis Hof, owner of Nevada's Moonlight Bunny Ranch, whose full opinions have not been given their due? Then, friends, we hope you subscribe to Sirius Satellite Radio, which has just announced the creation of Client 9 Radio, a station fully devoted to news and opinion about Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. In addition to the aforementioned pundits, Client 9, which will air tonight and be hosted by Court TV's Vinnie Politan, will also air the opinions of esteemed figures like John McCain, Alan Dershowitz, and "private eye Vito Colucci." But most important, they will provide a forum for you, the listener, to join "this national conversation." So go forth, citizen gossips! Let no crevice go unexplored.
Okay, so we've known the identity of the hooker who hung Eliot Spitzer for nearly two days now, and in that time we've heard from her sketchy friends, her family, and a dude who claims to have been her pimp but probably really wasn't. But where's Ashley Dupré, a.k.a. Kristen, herself? As AM New York brilliantly points out, "for a call girl, Ashley Dupré sure has proven hard to get ahold of." The press is camped outside of her tony Chelsea building, but she's not inside. She doesn't need to work, because yesterday she made a ton of money off her selling her single on the Internet. But she's nowhere to be found! Not even at Barbara Walters's place! While we endure this interminable wait for her spectacular public debut, here's what we've learned about her since yesterday:
• Some people (okay, us) wondered whether she was actually 32, not 22 as has been reported. But it turns out that's probably wrong. [NYM]
• Spitzer had met with her several times before, but it was only after her last visit that she called her Emperor's Club bosses and said, "Oh, my God! Do you know who this guy is?" [NYP]
So far, David Paterson's blindness has really only cropped up as an aside in news stories about New York's soon-to-be governor. They're all, "he's 53 and he's an adjunct at Columbia and he lives in Harlem and he is African-American and oh, yeah, also he is legally blind." If anyone has had any questions about a how blind man will do a job that involves a lot of, you know, reading papers and signing papers and looking at people in the eye as you shake their hand, they have only squeaked out as innuendo. "Well, being governor of the state of New York is a big job!" is something we've heard a lot on the news when people are talking about Paterson. "He's going to need some assistance!" But as the idea of New York getting its first blind governor becomes a reality, the Times, the Journal and the Poughkeepsie Journal have stepped up, the Times frankly asking: "How Will a Blind Man Lead a State?"
You remember when bonnie lass "Kristen," the girl who brought down a governor, was profiled this morning in the New York Times? They reported her age at 22, which seems about right. She's a lovely young thing, and, well, when you're paying you might as well buy the ripest fruit. (Oh God, ew, we hate ourselves for coming up with that metaphor.) But we've done some sleuthing, and we've discovered that two separate public identification records reveal that the only Ashley Youmans (the real name of "Kristen," a.k.a Ashley Alexandra Dupré) from the Jersey Shore (or anywhere in New Jersey) is actually 32. Now, we're not going to blame a girl for lowering her age on her résumé — she is, after all, a struggling singer and someone who, professionally, needs to have a reputation for not being able to hold her liquor. But still, knocking off ten years? Could this be true? How bad did she think the lighting was going to be in Room 871??
Earlier:Eliot Spitzer’s ‘Kristen’ Somehow Much More Adorable Than Anticipated, Daily Intel's Complete coverage of the Spitzer Scandal
Last night, Ashley Alexandra Dupré, a.k.a. "Kristen," told the New York Times she was worried about paying her rent in the fancy Flatiron district building in which she lives. But in fact, in the less than 24 hours since that interview took place, Dupre's personal wealth has increased considerably. The two songs on her Amie Street profile, which each cost 98 cents, have reportedly been downloaded more than two million times, and according to that site's business model, Dupré should receive 70 percent of the total profit. Plus! Playboy and Penthouse are both reportedly interested in setting up photo shoots. "We've already discussed some options," Penthouse publisher Diane Silberstein tells Radar, adding that they'd pay in the "high six figures." Book publishers, however, are dragging their feet. "I don't think it's worth anything," HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham tells Portfolio today, making us want to wrap our hands around his neck and administer a light throttle. "There's no story there." Seriously? Does no one remember for instance the best-selling Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, soon to be an HBO series with Darren Star? Hookers are so hot right now.
David Paterson just gave his first public address since Eliot Spitzer's resignation yesterday. He made noises about "getting back to work" and the budget, talked about being black and blind, indicated he wasn't planning any major changes to his predecessors more controversial policies, and became the first human being in government to express sympathy for Spitzer himself. "My heart goes out to Eliot Spitzer, his wife Silda, his daughters," he said. "I know what he's gone through this week. In my heart, I think he's suffered enough." Paterson also displayed a rather awesome sense of humor. "Just so we don't have to go through this whole resignation thing again," one ballsy reporter asked, "have you ever patronized a prostitute?" Patterson thought for a minute. "Only the lobbyists," he said.
Looks like D.C. has another infamous hotel. The city appears tickled with its role in
the Spitzer scandal: Cameras and secret-service vans have been inexplicably parked outside the entrance to the Mayflower Hotel (the site of the governor's infamous tryst with "Kristen") since the news broke Monday (he's not there now, people). But what's happening inside? For one, there haven't been many requests for the "Spitzer suite," said the petrified concierge, who turned white as a ghost when we asked about "the room." A security guard has been stationed outside room 871, but that hasn't stopped guests from taking a look. "It looks just like any other room," said Mary Hollebeck, in from Michigan for the National Funeral Directors conference. She and her husband, Martin, found out about the scandal after they'd checked in, and said the guests in the hotel have been enjoying the buzz. "Right now I'm sure the hotel probably wants it all just to go away," he said. "But then they'll probably go and raise the rate." So do they find the rooms romantic? "We usually come on business," Mary said, to which Martin interjected, "I want this to be clear: This is my wife." —Janelle Nanos
In the excitement surrounding the unveiling of Kristen, the Jersey-grown hooker who (accidentally) brought Eliot Spitzer down, we almost missed the fact that last night, the city lost another famous prostitute. Andreia Schwartz, the "millionaire" madam who was arrested last year for running a brothel on West 58th Street where call girls got paid between $700 and $1,500 an hour (how quaint!), was quietly deported back to her native Brazil after twenty months in prison and, the Post tells us, serving as a source for the federal authorities who were probing Spitzer. Schwartz's biggest client was Time Warner CFO Wayne Pace, who she said paid her about $200,000 and helped her buy the apartment out of which she ran her business. He denied it and got off with only a terrible reputation, but now we're wondering … who were clients one through eight?
Kinky Link to Brazil's Bombshell[NYP]
Earlier: Eliot Spitzer's 'Kristen' Somehow Much More Adorable Than Anticipated
Bloomberg ’08 proved to be a false start. But with the self-immolation of Eliot Spitzer, Bloomberg ’10 makes almost too much sense.
Our term-limited mayor will, of course, be looking for a job come January 2009. He laid some serious groundwork for a presidential bid, enough that by the beginning of this year, his supporters were saying he could launch a campaign “at the drop of a hat.” It wasn’t just annoying ballot-access issues that ultimately turned him off, or the prospect of an Obama-McCain race leaving little room for a reform Republican. Bloomberg doesn’t like to enter a contest unless he can be pretty to sure win.
• Of the top twenty American newspapers, the circulation of New York ones suffered less than others over the past few years. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• We hear ... that gossip Website Jossip.com is up for sale. [NYP]
• And that ESPN The Magazine is beefing up its fashion coverage. [WWD]