'The Nation' editor and publisher reminds lady bloggers that imitation is flattery, Dick Grasso heads to court, and either a W or a Westin sets its sights on the Lower East Side — all that and more, in our daily digest of media, finance, real-estate, and law news.
John McCain is coming to New York next Tuesday for a giant fund-raiser to power his national campaign, reports Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News. It sounds like it's going to be a doozy — the host committee includes Henry Kissinger, Alfonse D'Amato, Woody Johnson, Georgette Mosbacher, and Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain. Tickets are either $1,000 or $2,300 per person (get it? The most you can donate to one candidate?), and it will take place at the Plaza. So glamorous. But let's get down to business (literally). How many billionaires will be in attendance? And how many billions do they represent? From Forbes.com's most recent list, we count five: Henry Kravis (the world's 178th-richest man, worth $5.5 billion), Ray Dalio (worth $4 billion), Louis Bacon (worth $1.7 billion), Marc Rowan (worth $1.5 billion), and Robert Fisher ($1.4 billion). That's a total of over $14 billion in the room with the Republican presidential nominee. There are several dozen other multimillionaires on the list, plus Lord knows how many buying tickets — so we'll conservatively push that number over the $15 billion barrier. At first, we wondered how on earth any of the Democrats could get that much money into one room. And then we remembered that all Hillary needs to do is have Warren Buffet hold another fund-raiser, and she'd be in the company of quadruple that amount. Nobody else would even need to show up.
How humiliating is it to be dropped off Forbes' annual list of the world's billionaires? Just ask Jimmy Cayne and Lehman Brothers' Richard Fuld. Cayne, who stepped down from Bear Stearns earlier this year, and Fuld, who it was just announced raked in a paltry $40 million in 2007, were notably absent from this year's list, which was released yesterday. Does this mean they will be turned away from Steve Schwarzman's next birthday party? Will it be like, I'm sorry, sirs. Only billionaires are allowed here? If that's the case, it's going to be a pretty small crowd, unless Schwarzie plans to hold his fiesta in Moscow. This year, the Russian capital eclipsed New York in the amount of billionaires per capita: We have only 71, with an average net worth of $3.3 billion each, whereas in Russia, 74 billionaires, with an average net worth of $5.9 billion each, are whooping it up with the caviar blini. So other than deadbeats Fuld and Cayne, who else is keeping us down?
Mayer and Cameron Diaz canoodled at the Bowery Hotel. Protesters are hanging around Viacom head Phillippe Dauman and buyout artist Henry Kravis's respective homes. An assistant of Annie Leibovitz was involved in a bad Vespa accident but is expected to recover. Eli Wallach, the star of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, just turned 92 but is still acting. Morgan Spurlock may or may not have found Osama bin Laden in this latest documentary. Donald Trump says he did not leave a waiter a $10,000 tip, despite what was reported by the restaurant.
Right about now, protesters are gathering in front of Henry Kravis's home at 625 Park Avenue for the world premiere of The War on Greed: Starring the Homes of Henry Kravis, a Fabulous Life Of–style documentary that contrasts the private-equity magnate's income and lifestyle against those of normal working people. In the film, which, according to the Times, is being screened on "high technology sandwich boards" worn by protesters, filmmaker Robert Greenwald asks some normal people what they would do if they got to live in one of Kravis's opulent homes for the holidays. "I would sell everything in it and give the money to charity!" one woman squeals, predictably. But not everyone's so self-righteous: "I probably wouldn't even enjoy it," says one woman. "I'd just probably go home from work, go to sleep, then have to get back up and work again." We know how she feels. In fact, we're too busy on our own hamster wheel to go uptown to watch the movie, which is why we found it on the Internet. (You can click the picture above to watch it.) And wait a second: Where did independent filmmaker Greenwald get the money to pay for those fancy high-tech sandwich boards? E-mail us if you know about his secret trust fund!
War on Greed [Official site]
A Movie and Protesters Single Out Henry Kravis [NYT]
• The American version of the Guardian hits our shores! [Guardian via Gawker]
• Stephen Colbert is leading Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel in national polls; the media backlash has already begun. [WP, HuffPo, Gawker]
• ASME announced the finalists for the 2007 best magazine cover. They must have missed the backlash memo: Colbert is featured three times, more than any other star. [ASME]
• James Colliton, the former Cravath associate embroiled in a sex-crimes suit, got a lighter sentence after he admitted to paying a mother for sex with her two teenage girls. [Law Blog/WSJ]
• Debevoise and Plimpton's marquee new hire, the former attorney general of the U.K., has a few scuffs on his highly polished shoes: He carried on an affair while in office with a leading woman barrister. [Above the Law]
• When $1,000 an hour isn't enough, premium billing — a kind of law-firm tip for a job well done — is the best way to really start raking in the profits. [DealBook/NYT]
• Meet David "Bones" Viniar, the reclusive Goldman CFO who's quadrupled profits in the last eight years. A graduate of Bronx Science, he sits at the top, surveying his domain, as CEOs come and go. [Financial News via DealBook/NYT]
• Stephen Feinberg's Cerberus is clearly the hedge fund's hedge fund: to help finance the firm's acquisition of Chrysler, Feinberg roped in $100 million from at least four other top firms — and made them pay for the privilege. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Another sign that we're in the wrong business: Henry Kravis managed to ink an $8 billion buy-out, later back out of the deal, and then even got his bankers to step up and pay the penalties. [MarketBeat/WSJ]
• Alan Greenspan's old flame Barbara Walters complained the G-man never gave good advice, insisting back in the seventies that she avoid an apartment on Fifth Avenue because it was a "bad investment." [NYP]
• Henry Kravis got a little egg on his face thanks to the collapse of the $8 billion Harman buyout. Steve Schwarzman gets bragging rights or an excuse to back out of his own impossibly huge deals. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• With computers taking over, the NYSE plans to cut the trading floor down by half from its historic high. The famous Main Room and "the Garage," opened in 1903 and 1922 respectively, will remain open. [NYT]
You haven't, by any chance, been feeling rich lately, have you? Sort of feeling a little bit smug that the burst of the real-estate bubble won't splatter all over you? At least a little bit excited that in November, your every-other-Friday paycheck will come three times instead of twice? Well, just in time for all that, Forbes has released its annual list of the 400 richest people in America. And guess what? Sixty-four of them are New Yorkers! The top 100 billionaires, in fact, include household (okay, apartment-hold) names like shareholder activist Carl Icahn, Revlon CEO Ron Perelman, designer Ralph Lauren, Condé Nast chairman Si Newhouse oh yeah, and Mayor Bloomberg, who at $11.5 billion is America's 25th richest man. According to Forbes, he more than doubled his wealth from last year, which was enough to leapfrog over rival media magnate Rupert Murdoch in the ranks.
• Henry Kravis failed to come to terms with top banks on financing for his all-important $26 billion buyout of First Data, the first in over $300 billion worth of LBOs that the banks need to get off their books. Negotiations will be pushed back another week, but it's not looking good. [DealBook/NYT]
• The new rumor on the Street is that Joseph Lewis, the billionaire British currency speculator, bought into Bear Stearns on the advice of longtime Bear broker Kurt Butenhoff. The previous rumor, that Lewis got the idea from CEO Jimmy Cayne while playing bridge, seems unlikely since Lewis doesn't even play bridge. [CNBC]
• Thanks to their friends at NASA, the CEOs of Google can park their three private jets — including a huge Boeing 767 — just seven minutes away from the tech-giants headquarters. Something tells us no Manhattan CEO's helicopter perks will beat that. [NYT]
• Henry Kravis supposedly gave a big concession when he let the banks place restrictions on the debt offering for the all-important First Data deal, but banks are now complaining the concession is less an olive branch than a fig leaf. [DealBook/NYT]
• Hits on hedge-fund bonuses may not be as bad as we all thought: While they won't set any records, they're still set to grow 1 to 9 percent from last year, and general compensation is still climbing. [Globe & Mail via DealBook/NYT]
• Jordan Belfort, the former broker who swindled investors out of $100 million, didn't discover Jesus in prison, but he did chance upon Tom Wolfe. His new book, The Wolf of Wall Street, looks back on the good times selling bogus stocks while tripping on quaaludes. [NYT]
• A former Morgan Stanley VP and her hedge-fund husband pleaded guilty in yet another instance of "pillow-talk" insider trading. [Bloomberg]
• Richard Josephberg, a longtime financier and former Goldman analyst, was sentenced to four years behind bars for failing to pay his taxes for 29 years. That's one year in the slammer for every seven without the IRS, not bad. [NYT]
• The unexplained cancellation of Henry Kravis's little talk at the NYPL has some wondering whether he's riding Steve Schwarzman's coattails once again — only this time out of the spotlight. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• A group led by Kohlberg Kravis is taking energy giant TXU private for $45 billion, besting the Blackstone record by $6 billion. But can Kravis beat Schwarzman's party? [NYT]
• Gary Crittenden named Citigroup CFO. Job description: Fix CEO Charles Prince's mistakes. [NYT]
• Goldman media banker Sebastian Grigg may defect to Credit Suisse. [DealBook/NYT]
Before Maria Bartiromo was on MSNBC and flying on private jets, she lived a life out of West Side Story. Speaking of Bartiromo, Citigroup head Charles Prince may have leaked the jet-ride scandal to the media. Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos uploaded some unintentionally funny government-propaganda films to YouTube. Financier Henry Kravis complained that he wasn't invited to Stephen Schwarzman's blowout birthday party. Brad and Angelina needed beads and masks to escape from a New Orleans restaurant.