Intelligencer, June 15, 1998


“Peter Vallone’s word is gold: You can take it to the bank,” his running mate, Clyde Rabideau, said at the recent Democratic convention in Rye. But just hours before, members of the New York gubernatorial candidate’s staff were furiously trying to dump Rabideau from the ticket, according to several inside sources. Rabideau, the mayor of Plattsburgh, had promised to deliver upstate votes to the City Council Speaker, according to one convention insider – assurances that led Vallone’s staff confidently to predict a 51 percent landslide. When Vallone eked out only 44 percent of the vote, his people “were very angry” and “felt they had no obligation to Clyde, because he hadn’t delivered,” the insider continues. That’s when they approached Brighton supervisor Sandra Frankel, who was already committed to a rival gubernatorial candidate, Brooklyn D.A. Charles (Joe) Hynes. “About 2:30 in the morning, someone from the Vallone campaign came to see someone on our side,” confirms a source close to Frankel, who adds that Vallone’s staff member seemed ready to dump Rabideau. But since Frankel was unwilling to desert Hynes (according to sources from both camps), the talks went nowhere, leaving Vallone with Rabideau. Vallone’s spokesperson, Peter Ragone, insists that the 2:30 a.m. meeting never happened. “It sounds like someone who didn’t get chosen as Vallone’s running mate … is trying to rewrite history. It’s laughable,” says Ragone.


Say good-bye to Spy. Tony Goldman, who owns the space on Greene Street that houses the high-profile club, a celebrity stomping ground over the past couple of years, is transforming the building (along with four adjacent ones) into a 100-room loft hotel. “We are going to build bigger rooms with higher ceilings than at other hotels,’’ explains Joey Goldman, Tony’s son and partner in the project. As for the SoHo Kitchen and Bar, currently in one of the buildings scheduled for renovation, the Goldmans plan to leave that restaurant intact. “We are going to work miracles and build around it,’’ says Joey. The hotel is projected to open by the end of next year.


Compare the June issue of Details with the March prototype of Gear, and get ready to keep score. Both magazines used the headlines sex files and postcards from the edgy, and both featured articles on Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo. Gear editor Bob Guccione Jr. insists he’s been a lifelong soccer fan but that Details has never run a story on the sport before. Details editor Michael Caruso says he played soccer in college and explains that the interview had been in the works for almost half a year. “Give them credit for good taste,” shrugs Guccione. “Just coincidence,” counters Caruso, who maintains that neither he nor anyone on his staff even saw Gear’s prototype. Guccione’s magazine doesn’t start publishing until August, and it’ll go monthly next March. “Then we can be a more efficient source of ideas for them,” jokes Guccione. “Well, I guess there’s no need for Gear, because Details is already doing the stories,” snipes Caruso.


CRAMER’S ABC’S: “It’s not that I’m turning into Warren Beatty or anything,” laughs Jim Cramer, the fund manager and financial journalist who’s ready for his close-up. Cramer’s television pilot, Real Money, is enjoying a dramatic debut – a top-secret sneak preview dropped into last Sunday’s Good Morning America on ABC. The idea, Cramer says, is “to let you see what I do for a living.” Cramer wants to teach his principles of trading, instead of broadcasting stock tips that cause people to “buy high and sell low.” For his first show, he’s scheduled a mano a mano talk between stock-fund manager Mario Gabelli and Vanguard Index pioneer John Bogle. Working in broadcast news, Cramer says, makes him appreciate “the relative sanity I have coming to work on Wall Street.”

THE RUBIN SANDWICH: Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is making a campaign stop this week at Tavern on the Green, where he’s the special guest at Comptroller Carl McCall’s fund-raiser. “If you’re running for comptroller, you can’t do better than to have the secretary of the Treasury as your sponsor, particularly this secretary of the Treasury,” says Democratic consultant Philip Friedman, who does not work for McCall. Rubin was criticized in Boston papers last month when he appeared at a fund-raiser for the state’s Democratic senatorial committee. “Criticism like that doesn’t count when the stock market is at 8,800,” counters Friedman. And Rubin’s spokesman, Howard Schloss, says, “Historically, the Treasury secretaries have done fund-raising.” Monday night’s party, along with recent efforts by Calvin Klein’s Barry Schwartz, real-estate mogul Jerry Speyer, and P.R. man Howard Rubenstein, are expected to add some $400,000 to McCall’s war chest of $3 million.

PASSING THE BUCK: Move over, Michael Milken. More millionaires are planning to give back by helping America’s children. On Tuesday, Ted Forstmann, Wal-Mart’s John Walton, and Mike Ovitz are having a joint press conference to announce their new scholarship fund to help low-income students around the nation attend private schools.


John McLaughlin got a taste of sweet revenge recently when Mort Zuckerman was on his show. After the taping, according to an eyewitness, McLaughlin turned to Zuckerman and asked, “So, are you going to fire Jim Fallows?” Before he became editor of Zuckerman’s U.S. News & World Report, Fallows wrote Breaking the News, a 1996 book that called McLaughlin “a buffoonish character” and took him to task for creating the “political talk industry.” Zuckerman deflected the question neatly (if ambivalently), according to the source, answering, “Well, that’s up to Harry,” a reference to Zuckerman’s new editorial director, Harry Evans. After a piece in Washingtonian came down hard on Fallows – and Fallows complained to Zuckerman – the media mogul did write a letter to the staff, disavowing one section of the article that has Zuckerman complaining to his friends that Fallows “has ‘broken’ his magazine.” Still, the rumors persist that Fallows may not last long as the editor of U.S. News. A spokesperson for the magazine says management is “satisified” with Fallows, adding, “It’s all good news at U.S. News.” Zuckerman, McLaughlin, and Evans could not be reached at deadline.


Even before he was born, only the best would do for Sean “Puffy” Combs’s little boy, Christopher. When Combs’s girlfriend, Kim Porter, went into labor at Mount Sinai, Combs and his troop of burly bodyguards wound up squaring off against the hospital’s team of elite doctors. As the entire entourage watched Porter go through labor, Combs suddenly became alarmed when it seemed that an intern was about to give Porter her epidural. “So you had this squad of goons staring down this team of white coats,” says a source. Explains a rep for Combs: “Puffy just wouldn’t stand for an intern doing the procedure. He wanted the No. 1 doctor in the hospital doing it. I mean, you’ve got your girlfriend lying on a table, screaming in pain – you don’t want some intern jabbing her in the back.” The anesthesiologist who oversaw Porter’s delivery declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality. Porter may have enjoyed a pain-free few hours, but it remains to be seen whether Combs can somehow make his rumored relationship with Out of Sight star Jennifer Lopez less painful for Porter to bear.


What’s in a number? Apparently a lot, if it’s the right number. Chanel has served the Shiseido Company with papers, demanding that it stop using 5S as the name of its new product line and store on Prince Street. Says a Shiseido representative, “Chanel has asked us to cease and desist using the number five because it infringes on their trademark. We are aware the suit is pending and we are very surprised.’’ Though the two companies are currently in negotiation, a spokesperson for Chanel says, “For over 70 years, the number five has been associated with Chanel and its world-famous fragrance and cosmetic products … Chanel has no choice but to put Shiseido on formal notice of its legal position.”


It’s nice to know yesterday’s beauty queens aren’t always written off as over the hill. Oddly, Anna Malova was allowed to compete in this year’s Miss Universe pageant even though she was Miss Russia in 1995. According to beauty-world sources, it’s not a coincidence that the stunning Slav, who wound up a finalist in last month’s event, is a friend of Donald Trump, co-owner of the event. Did the Donald pull a few strings on an old friend’s behalf? “That’s something that’s never done,” a Miss Universe spokesperson says. “Russia has a pageant, and she won it fair and square. It’s impossible for Donald to select someone from another country.” Another spokesperson agrees. “That’s not the ethics of the pageant; our company has a great degree of integrity, and that’s not the way we run our company … that kind of stuff doesn’t go on in modern-day network TV.” While the Miss Universe camp insists Malova won the Russian event honestly, Malova’s agent says, “I don’t think she was Miss Russia this year. She was Miss Russia several years ago.” When asked for documentation that Malova – who lives in Trump Tower – won the title a second time (perhaps an occurrence unique to Russian contests), the Miss Universe Pageant headquarters refused to furnish it. Trump was out of the country and could not be reached for comment, and a spokesperson would only say, “I haven’t heard about Trump giving any preferential treatment to Malova.”

Additional reporting by Kate Coyne.

Intelligencer, June 15, 1998