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?
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We've been intrigued by the spectacularly luxurious residential building at 15 Central Park West for quite some time now. And we have some questions. For example, sure, Daniel Loeb may have plunked down $45 million on one of the penthouses, and Sandy Weill may have dropped $42 million on the other one, but what about the rest of the building? You know, the apartments that aren't duplexes with terraces and the ones that aren't occupied by people like Sting and Trudie Styler. Who lives there and shares the pool and the "motor court" with Sandy and Danny? Thankfully, New York's genius real-estate reporter, S. Jhoanna Robledo, wrangled her way into the building (they'd never let us in; Chris is too fat, and Jessica wears white after Labor Day) and brought back video from the inside. Click above to see a fabulous three-bedroom, including herringbone hardwood floors and a bathroom so amazing that, if you were in a hotel, you would totally use the wall phone to call your mom and tell her how fancy it was, while sitting on the toilet.
Inside 15 Central Park West
Many New Yorkers dream of living on Central Park West. Some of us would even basically whore ourselves in order to snag a place on the park. But it turns out, all we'd have to do is clean a toilet a couple of times a week! So says a Bloomberg News article today about the service apartments luxury buildings like 15 Central Park West are building to house "the help." Maybe this is our way in! Sure, our apartments will be on a lower floor and have fewer amenities. But we can always catch the views while we're dusting Sandy Weill's penthouse and — hey, why not — availing ourselves of his giant bathtub. Plus, at our new haute address, we'll get to mingle with fellow residents, like Sting and Trudie and Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein. At least we'll see them when we're handing them a tray of canapés.
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Yesterday was new Citigroup honcho Vikram Pandit's 51st birthday, and pretty much everyone forgot, since this morning he had to announce the largest quarterly loss in his bank's history. To be sure, the $18.1 billion subprime-mortgage-related write-down is not as much as the $24 billion that was predicted over the weekend, but it was enough that it led to a fourth-quarter loss of $9.83 billion. But there was a silver lining: The bank says it has plans to raise upwards of $12.5 billion through a private securities sale, which includes $6.88 billion from Singapore. They also expect the Kuwait Investment Authority, Alwaleed bin Talal, and even former Citigroup CEO Sanford "Sandy" Weill to kick in with investments. That's "a huge vote of confidence on [Weill's] part," one analyst told Reuters. "I'm surprised to see his name there." We wonder if Pandit is surprised. Maybe today after work, he'll go outside and Weill will be waiting for him in his red convertible. "Me?" Pandit will say. "Yeah, you," Weill will say, and later that night they'll share kisses over birthday cake while the Thompson Twins' "If You Were Here" plays softly in the background.
Citigroup raising $14.5 billion [Reuters]
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• Howard Stern, good for the gays? A longtime lesbian listener calls Stern "one of the most pro-gay media personalities in the country." [Gay.com]
• Murdoch finally gets his giant puffy hands on the Journal today at 10 a.m. The only question is just how much of the Bancroft family will try to show their noble intentions, however laughably inept, by registering a protest vote against the deal. [WSJ]
• A great new/old debate: Should Democrats go on Fox News? [Mixed Media/Portfolio, NYO]
• Incoming Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes may well spin off the company's huge cable unit, but a sale of Time Inc. looks unlikely since the small potential proceeds (and big tax penalty) would little benefit a company of Time Warner's size. [NYT]
• Times editorial-page editor Andy Rosenthal calls all executive editors, including Bill Keller and his own father, crazy. Sweet. [Radar]
• Rupert Murdoch is confirming to all his friends he plans to bring in Times of London editor Robert Thomson to become the Journal's publisher as part of an "Aussie invasion" in the first few months of next year. [Guardian via Media Mob/NYO]
• 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]
We told you yesterday about Fundrace 2008, the fun new feature on the Huffington Post that lets you track people's political contributions by name or by neighborhood. What we didn't expect was that the thing would prove terribly addictive. Here's a sampling of what we found after a full day of playing with it:
• Completely random celeb-name search reveals Mario Batali's $1,000 contribution to John Edwards (as well as the chef's home address), Tommy Hilfiger's $2,300 donation to Barack Obama, and the supposedly apolitical Sandy Weill's $4,600 gift to Hillary Clinton.
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Limos parked outside Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn delayed an ambulance en route to nearby St. Vincent's Hospital. Former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill cut down his use of the company's corporate jets right before 17,000 people were laid off. Michael Chabon is proud to have been branded an anti-Semite by the Post. Ellen Barkin is writing a novel based on her marriage to Ron Perelman. Bonnie Fuller is branching into TV. Barbara and Lauren Bush sang karaoke. The famous hawks living at 927 Fifth Avenue will soon be in a kids' book. Jay Leno confused two Mexican comedians. Joe Francis says his Girls Gone Wild videos don't feature black girls because they ask for money, not because he's racist.