Jamie Dimon: ‘Many’ of Bear’s 14,000 Employees Will Lose JobsDid Bear Stearns collapse in part because of a whisper campaign? How will Starbucks keep its customers if everyone starts pinching pennies? And what did Sarah Jessica Parker think of Maxim naming her the “unsexiest woman alive”? Our weekly roundup of law, media, and business news.
JPMorgan Gearing Up to Move Into Bear’s Sweet HQFINANCE
• JPMorgan Chase will probably move its investment-banking unit to Bear Stearns’ smokin’-hot headquarters on Madison Avenue. The building is valued at $1.2 billion, which is just one-fourth of quadruple the price JPMorgan paid for the firm itself. [NYP]
• JPMorgan Chase’s valuation of Bear Stearns shows that financial institutions are significantly overvalued. Speaking of which, many employees had their life savings wiped out. [NYP, WSJ]
• Meanwhile Goldman Sachs’ earnings are down but beat analysts’ expectations. [DealBook/NYT]
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
today in astor-ia
Brooke Astor: The Beat Went OnDeath may have knocked Brooke Astor down, but it certainly didn’t keep her out of the fight. In the inheritance battle between her son, Anthony Marshall, and her legal guardians, Astor’s mental capacity has been called into question once again. Now Annette de la Renta and JPMorgan Chase, who took charge of her affairs in the year before her death, allege that she was unfit to change her will as early as age 98. Marshall, who stands to gain millions based on codicils signed after that, disputes this. He points out that she was older than 100 when doctors ordered her to “cut down on late night dancing and parties.” (And here we thought being 100 was all about pooping and People’s Court.) Marshall also claims that De la Renta bought the support of Astor’s staffers when she wrested guardianship away from him and fired one long-term housekeeper who wouldn’t turn against Marshall. It looks like all parties are settled in for a long fight, which should be fun, as Marshall himself is 83 and De la Renta is 75. Being rich and old: not so easy as we thought!
Lawyer: Astor may have been incompetent before will was written [Newsday]
Brooke Astor friend fired caretaker who opposed her – son [NYDN]
the morning line
Shelly Silver Comes to Bury Congestion Pricing
• As expected, Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan might come to a halt at Shelly Silver’s Assembly desk. Silver’s steering committee called the idea “unpassable” yesterday. [NYP]
• A federal judge has just reversed his own ban on NYPD’s videotaping of protesters. He had previously ruled that the taping must have a “law enforcement purpose” other than political monitoring, which made all kinds of sense to us. [amNY]
• JPMorgan Chase will move 6,000 New York City employees downtown, to a new tower on the current Deutsche Bank site. The old we’re-going-to-Connecticut threat worked: The city is showering the company with perks and tax breaks to make the move. [NYDN]
• The Times continues its bizarre pattern of subtly torpedoing Barack Obama with nonstories about his acquaintances, this time tying the candidate to a possibly unsavory businessman even as it admits “there is no sign that Mr. Obama … did anything improper.” [NYT]
• And police commish Ray Kelly wants $40 million worth of radiation sensors installed around the city, on highways, bridges, tunnels, and so on. Just, you know, in case. [Newsday]
the morning line
Bye, I• MSNBC and CBS are taking Don Imus off the air for two weeks, prompting the Post headline “Don Ho” (you have to think about that one for a minute). Seems calling Al Sharpton “you people” didn’t help things. [NYP]
•It has begun: Downtown’s Community Board 1 is absolutely outraged by JPMorgan Chase’s plans to build a skyscraper cantilevering over a nearby park. Joining the pile-on are the unions miffed by Chase’s demand for fat relocation incentives. [MetroNY]
• Ex–New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey is suing his estranged wife Dina Matos, ostensibly not to stop her from promoting a tell-all but to make her stop dragging their 5-year-old daughter to the readings. He also accuses Matos of, yup, homophobia. [NYP]
• East Hamptonites are divided in the wake of an over-the-top immigration raid. Armed agents in bulletproof vests pushed through the doors, SWAT style, in search for the homeowner’s estranged husband. [NYT]
• And will a Brooklyn Law student be booted after appearing in a Playboy TV video nude and playing with judge’s gavels? Probably not, but come bar-exam time, the Committee on Character and Fitness will have some research to do. [NYDN]
Whose Interviews These AreThe New Yorker confuses Robert Frost and David Frost (whoops!), much to the amusement of both “Page Six” and the Gatecrasher. Porn star Jenna Jameson has lost a lot of weight and has started acting unprofessionally since her divorce. Real-estate developer Harry Macklowe gets preferential treatment at all Icon parking garages in Manhattan. Ben Widdicombe got an earful from Pauly Shore. The Russian Tea Room uses out-of-context quotes to give the impression that it has been well reviewed. Tom Wolfe will give a speech in Miami about art and architecture. A number of J.P. Morgan bankers are expected to attend Dana Vachon’s book party tomorrow night, despite the treatment the firm (or, rather, the fictitious firm based on Morgan) gets in the book.
the morning line
• Friendly fire from fellow FBI men killed an agent in the middle of an operation in Readington, New Jersey. The Feds were taking down a gang of armed bank robbers, one of whom escaped and remains on the loose. [NYP]
• David Bistricer of Clipper Equity, the thwarted would-be buyer of the Starrett City housing megacomplex, is back. This time, he cobbled together a camera-ready coalition: a lobbyist with Spitzer connections, an architect, and two black ministers. [NYT]
• More awesomeness from Rudy Giuliani’s traveling road show: The presidential candidate began a stump speech in California with a Godfather impersonation, then referred to his wife as “a civilian, to use the old Mafia distinction.” Yeah, he’s a shoo-in. [amNY]
• Geese are driving ducks out of Central Park, so the city is bringing in border collies to drive out the geese. Before we make a “who’s going to drive out the dogs” joke, let’s pause and reflect on the fact that there’s a company called Geese Police Inc. on the city payroll. [NYT]
• And a strong contestant for the dumbest con ever: An unemployed Brooklynite siphoned off $3.6 million from a city account at JPMorgan Chase (by rigging up 604 individual electronic transfers), spent it through Jewelry TV, then tried to pawn the baubles for cash. [NYDN]
Chase Wants InThe logistics of the ground-zero revival effort are enough to make one’s head implode, but that’s not stopping JPMorgan Chase from getting into the game. The bank has expressed interest in the Deutsche Bank site, a piece of real estate that’s about to open up with the final dismantling of the grim, toxic colossus. Early plans call for a 50-story tower of comparable dimensions. Whatever Chase builds there is probably bound to be more eye-pleasing than the current black obelisk; the question here, like everywhere else around the ground zero, is whether anything is going to be built at all. For one thing, Chase wants a big, fat incentive package to move its employees south from midtown. For another, to fit in a trading floor, the building will need to “cantilever” (thanks, Times; we’d probably say “partly hang”) over a little park. And that means community boards may be getting involved. Unlike the dome over the transit hub and other semi-scuttled flights of fancy, this one is a deal-breaker: No cantilevering, no trading floor; no trading floor, no dice. Without taking sides, we’ll just say this: Chase execs better pray there are no memorials planned for that park.
Chase Is Said to Plan Tower Near 9/11 Site [NYT]
today in astor-ia
So Maybe Brooke Astor’s Son Didn’t Actually Leave Her Destitute
Today’s Times indulges one of our favorite pastimes — counting other people’s money — with a piece detailing the twelve-page audit report of Brooke Astor’s riches. The numbers come from the fortune’s court-appointed guardian, JPMorgan Chase. One unexpected side effect of the list: It makes Brooke Astor’s disgraced son, Anthony D. Marshall, look like a pretty sensible handler of his mother’s money. (Marshall claims to have quadrupled Astor’s liquid assets over the last 25 years.)
How does Mrs. Astor’s $131 million kitty break down?
the morning line
What the Bell?
• This shouldn’t necessarily sway anyone’s opinion about the Sean Bell shooting, but it’s, um, interesting: A drug dealer tells the police he was once shot by Bell. Cops call the story credible (shocker). [NYDN]
• Wesley Autrey, the Subway Superman, gains a Subway Lex Luthor in lawyer Diane Kleiman. Kleiman and her partner have allegedly swindled Autrey into a deal that would give them half of whatever he gets (book advance, speaking fees, etc.). [NYP]
• Jacob the Jeweler is heading to the courtroom on some serious charges: helping launder $270 million in drug money for a Detroit-based crime ring. Now that’s cred. [AP via amNY]
• JPMorgan Chase has released a twelve-page assessment that itemizes Brooke Astor’s fortune: $41 million in real estate, $23.5 million in stocks, and $816 in the bank. [NYT]
• And the day’s Headless Body Award (it’s our new, ad-hoc headline-pun prize) goes to Metro New York, for running the gamut from the awesome “Marky Marksman” (a Shooter review) to the god-awful “An Indie-sent Proposal” (a SXSW feature). [MetroNY]
Proenza Schouler Shoots Too Early at TargetFASHION
• Proenza Schouler’s Target line was available online for four hours yesterday (three days before its official debut), causing mass Internet shopper hysteria. [Fashionista]
• Snejana Onopka, one of the poster girls for the current Save the Models movement, is rumored to be skipping New York Fashion Week. [FlyPaper]
• Jordan Scott, former designer at Betsey Johnson and child of the East Village, will launch his first collection during Fashion Week. [British Vogue]
Breaking: Banks, Bankers Make a Lot of MoneyToday’s big news in the city’s big businesses.
• J.P. Morgan had a very good fourth quarter, but is $4.53 billion enough to top Citigroup? Answer on Friday. [DealBreaker]
• Projected versus actual 2006 Wall Street bonuses. Either way, they were big. [BankersBall]
• Taking a cue from its bonus-giddy brokers, Bear Stearns looks to invest in some Manhattan real estate. [NYO via DealBook/NYT]