Rich Guys Can't Stop Throwing Zillion-Dollar Birthday Parties as America Crumbles

Hamilton Nolan · 08/19/11 11:04AM

No matter how many billions of dollars he accumulates, private equity billionaire Steven Schwarzman will never live down his ultra-lavish 60th birthday party in 2007, which now stands as one of the ultimate symbols of the excesses of the pre-recession gilded age of finance, and also of how Steve Schwarzman is a pretty unwavering prick. How are the finance titans of these post-recession times demonstrating that they learned their lesson. They're not! Trick question.

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 07/31/09 06:57AM

Bee Shaffer turns 22 today. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is turning 90. Billionaire financier Leon Black is 58. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is 44. Wesley Snipes is turning 47. Muckraking defense attorney Ron Kuby is 53. Another muckraker, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, is 51. Theater director Oskar Eustis turns 51. Ezra Zilkha is 84. The Office's B.J. Novak is 30. And actor Dean Cain is 43 today. Below, the birthdays of some people celebrating this weekend.

Stocks Slip, Summers in the Spotlight

cityfile · 04/06/09 05:32AM

• Wall Street retreated this morning after a four-week rally amid concern about the banking sector and after IBM's attempt to buy Sun unraveled. [WSJ, CNN]
• The latest Washington official facing questions about potential conflicts of interest: Larry Summers, who collected $5.2 million in 2008 working one day a week for D.E. Shaw before joining the administration. [NYT]
• Tim Geithner says that the Obama administration is prepared to oust top financial executives if their firms require more public aid. [FT, DB]

The Battle over Bonuses Rages On

cityfile · 03/20/09 05:54AM

• Yesterday the House approved a 90% tax on bonuses paid to execs at certain firms that received government aid. Now some lawmakers are talking about banning all bonus payments at bailed-out firms. [Reuters]
• It's unclear if the 90% tax will hold up in court. It's also possible it will do more harm than good and ultimately "wreck what's left of our economy." [BI]
Andrew Cuomo says AIG has provided him with a list of employees who earned bonuses, but he won't release the names until the security situation has been sorted out, which is good news since it's getting a little rough out there what with all the death threats and protests. [AP, NYT, Reuters]
• Just who knew about the AIG bonuses—and when they knew it—is being closely scrutinized, although Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says he is prepared to accept full responsibility. [NYT, CNN]

Another Fabulous Week on Wall Street

cityfile · 02/13/09 07:10AM

• Have you heard? Our banks are insolvent. Happy Friday to you, too. [NYT]
• The markets are down this morning as the House and Senate prepare to vote on the $789 billion economic stimulus package. [CNN]
• It's still unclear whether Wall Street got the message that "that high living on the corporate tab is now unacceptable." That's comforting to hear. [Reuters]
Leon Black's Apollo has tapped Henry Silverman as COO. [WSJ]
• AIG's financial products unit is now under investigation in Britain. [DB]
• Morgan Stanley has suspended its global head of real estate investing. [FT]
• Prosecutors have started interviewing employees of Bernie Madoff. [WSJ]
• Tim Geithner and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke are in Rome today and tomorrow to meet their G-7 counterparts to discuss the stimulus plan. [WSJ]
Time's list of 25 people to blame for the economic crisis. [Time]

John Thain's Bonus, Monday Morning Rally

cityfile · 12/08/08 06:19AM

♦ Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain is tangling with the bank's board over a $10 million annual bonus he says he deserves for "saving" the firm and selling it to Bank of America. [Reuters]
♦ Ken Griffin's Citadel is closing up shop in Tokyo. [Bloomberg]
♦ UBS may be planning to shed another 4,500 jobs. [DB]
♦ Sam Zell's Tribune Co. has retained Lazard to assist the company with a possible bankruptcy filing. [WSJ]
♦ The outlook is increasingly grim for Wesley Edens' Fortress Investment Group: Shares have gone down more than 90 percent this year. [NYP]
♦ Plenty of problems also face Leon Black and his Apollo Management. [NYT]
♦ But it's been a good year for hedge fund manager Jim Chanos, despite the whole Ashley Dupre thing. [NYM]
♦ Stocks are expected to gain big today with the news of an auto bailout. [CNN]

Big Three Bailout, Battered Bonuses

cityfile · 12/03/08 06:17AM

♦ Detroit's Big Three automakers presented new turnaround plans (and their request for $34 billion) to Congress yesterday. [WSJ, Bloomberg]
♦ Merrill Lynch plans to cut year-end bonuses in half. [Bloomberg]
♦ Now that it's turned itself into a commercial bank, Goldman Sachs is thinking about starting an online banking operation, too. [DB]
♦ Goldman is tapping Gerald Corrigan, a former head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to serve as chairman of its bank holding company. [FT]
♦ Billionaire financier face-off: One of Carl Icahn's companies is suing a firm owned by Leon Black. [NYT, NYP]
♦ Ramius Capital, the struggling hedge fund operated by Peter Cohen, is closing four of its funds. [WSJ]

Open Hands, Deep Pockets

cityfile · 11/03/08 06:15AM

♦ Treasury officials say as many as 1,800 institutions may apply for government investments in the next few weeks. [WSJ]
♦ GM hasn't been so lucky extracting cash: The Treasury has turned down a request by the automaker for $10 billion to help finance a merger with Chrysler. [NYT]
Henry Kravis's KKR is delaying its plan to go public on the NYSE until 2009. [CNNMoney]

AIG Runs Low (Again), Some Hedgies Expand

cityfile · 10/30/08 05:31AM

♦ AIG is already running out of the $123 billion in cash it was provided by the Federal Reserve, which means the authorities are slowly waking up to idea that something else might be going on. [NYT]
♦ The U.S. economy shrank at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the third quarter as consumer spending declined at the fastest rate in 28 years. [MW]
♦ The Fed's half-point rate cut yesterday? It won't do much to prop up the economy. [NYP]
Andrew Cuomo has asked banks to provide his office with bonus data. [NYT]
♦ Some hedge funds are still raking in cash from investors. Steve Cohen's SAC is down 5.5 percent in 2008 (and he's moved most of his funds into cash), but he's accepting new funds beginning in January. [Bloomberg]

Street Talk: Citi Walks

cityfile · 10/10/08 05:15AM

♦ Citigroup dropped efforts to block a deal between Wachovia and Wells Fargo yesterday afternoon; it will, however, continue to press ahead with its $60 billion lawsuit. [NYT, WSJ]
♦ Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack is back on the defensive today after the bank's shares dropped nearly 26 percent yesterday to $12.45, the lowest closing price in a decade. [DB, WSJ]
♦ Barclays, which acquired the assets of Lehman Brothers last month, now plans to cut another 3,000 jobs. [Fortune]

Street Talk: Rate Cut

cityfile · 10/08/08 05:13AM

♦ The world's central banks are joining together to carry out a coordinated (and unprecedented) cut in interest rates, part of a plan to restore confidence in the global economy. [WSJ, NYT]
♦ Speculation that Morgan Stanley's deal with Mitsubishi UFJ had fallen through led to a huge drop in Morgan's stock price; the Japanese bank now says the deal will be done by this weekend. [Bloomberg]

Street Talk: The Day After

cityfile · 09/30/08 05:14AM

♦ A recap of what happened on Wall Street yesterday, just in case you've been asleep for the last 36 hours. [NYT]
♦ In a statement this morning President Bush said he was disappointed the bailout bill didn't pass and warned that "painful and lasting'' economic damage will follow if a settlement isn't reached. Then, like the rest of Congress, he used Rosh Hashanah as an excuse to skip out for the rest of the day. [CNNMoney, Bloomberg]
♦ Wall Street bonuses could be down as much as 50 percent this year. [DB]
♦ Mitsubishi has completed its deal to invest $9 billion in Morgan Stanley; thanks to yesterday's market it's only down $500 million since the deal was announced last week. [NYT]

No Neighborly Love for the Olsens

cityfile · 09/12/08 05:50AM
  • It's no fun living near Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Neighbors in the West Village say the two are "spoiled brats" since they have bodyguards posted outside their apartment on West 13th Street who make neighbors get off the stoop whenever the twins are arriving home, and the twins keep SUVs idling in front of the building for hours at a time. [P6]

Street Talk

cityfile · 09/09/08 05:18AM
  • Investors generally reacted positively yesterday to the news of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. [WSJ]

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/29/08 05:12AM
  • Lehman slashed 1,500 jobs yesterday. But job cuts are expected at several other banks around town very soon. [NYT]

Exposed: The Leon Black-Jeffrey Epstein Connection!

cityfile · 08/20/08 10:50AM

Very little has ever been revealed about the business dealings of Jeffrey Epstein, the shadowy money manager who will be spending the next 16 months or so in a Palm Beach jail cell after pleading to soliciting an underage prostitute in late June. Long described as "mysterious" and "reclusive," the only client of his who has been confirmed over the years has been Leslie "Les" Wexner, the billionaire founder of Limited Brands. Epstein once boasted to a reporter that he wouldn't even consider taking on a client who didn't have a billion dollars or more in the bank. You can now add a new billionaire to the list of Epstein associates: Leon Black, the co-founder of Apollo Management. Black recruited Epstein to serve on the board of his charitable organization, the Leon D. Black Foundation. Listed on the non-profit's IRS returns alongside Leon and his wife, Debra: Epstein's name and the address of the waterfront home where Epstein was accused of carrying out his sexual misdeeds with minors. More on this jaw-dropping revelation below.

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/18/08 05:06AM
  • Analysts are steeling themselves for a loss of as much as $1.8 billion when Lehman closes out the third quarter in a few weeks. [WSJ]

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/15/08 05:05AM
  • Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners has taken a 4.9 percent stake in Cablevision. [NYP]

Street Talk

cityfile · 08/13/08 05:08AM
  • CVS has agreed to buy Longs Drug Stores for about $2.7 billion. [Bloomberg]

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 07/31/08 06:43AM

Hope mama got you something nice: Ms. Katherine E. Shaffer, better known as Bee, turns 21 today. Billionaire financier Leon Black is 57. Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau is still going strong at 89. Defense attorney Ron Kuby turns 52. The Public's artistic director, Oskar Eustis, is 50. The Office's B.J. Novak is 29. Wesley Snipes is turning 46. Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling is 43. Actor Dean Cain is 42. Last but not least, banking heir (and father of socialite Bettina) Ezra Zilkha turns 83.