Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, and Citigroup chairman Dick Parsons were all supposed to be in Washington yesterday to meet with President Obama at the White House. But then a tiny patch of fog materialized in the skies overhead and they had to retreat to their offices, victims of a force even more powerful than Wall Street's mightiest: Mother Nature. So how did that go down in Washington?
Most people who show up at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade have to press up against thousands of other people to catch a glimpse of the spectacle; some have been known to turn up before sunrise to snag a choice spot. But some lucky folks got really lucky this year. Who, you ask? People like Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and hedge fund mogul Dan Loeb, that's who.
• It's been six months since Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and his wife Laura put their old duplex on the market for $15 million. And yet, sadly, there have been no takers. The Blankfeins just cut $1.5 million off the price of the apartment, though, so perhaps their luck is about to turn around? The five-bedroom co-op at 941 Park Avenue—which comes with 30-foot living room with wood-burning fireplace, paneled library, formal dining room, and two maid's rooms—can now be yours for $13.5 million. [Cityfile, Stribling]
Ten days ago, John Reed apologized for his role in creating Citigroup. Now Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein is apologizing for anything Goldman did to precipitate the financial crisis: "We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret," Blankfein said at a conference today. "We apologize." Then he stunned the crowd by announcing that Goldman would be turning over its fourth quarter profits to feed America's neediest, which would still leave the firm with about $16 billion to pay out year-end bonuses. Just kidding! He's not that sorry! [Bloomberg]
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase are all on track to pay record bonuses this year, as you've probably heard. "The firms—the three biggest banks to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program—will hand out $29.7 billion in bonuses, according to analysts' estimates. That's up 60 percent from last year and more than the previous high of $26.8 billion in 2007." But as Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein explained to the London Times over the weekend, they're doing "God's work," and you can't put a price on that, can you? [Bloomberg]
Wall Street CEOs make a fortune, as you're undoubtedly aware. Even the chief executives of banks that have been bailed-out by Washington or have gone bust usually end up doing nicely. But despite the riches and perks these men have accumulated and massive egos they've developed along the way, few of them would do all that well in a beauty contest. Because it's high time that Wall Street take advantage of the miracle of modern science—and because we care, dammit—we took the liberty of contacting Dr. Anthony Youn, a board-certified plastic surgeon who has made appearances on Dr. 90210 and the Rachael Ray Show, to ask him what procedures he'd suggest these titans of finance consider if they want to look their very best. Dr. Youn's answers and cost estimates—and our commentary—is below.
Goldman Sachs announced plans last week to donate $200 million to charity, a move designed to quell criticism over the firm's massive profits (and the massive bonuses that will soon handed out to the bank's employees). The donation isn't a gigantic sum for the investment bank—Goldman makes $200 million every three days or so—but it's a big step up from last year when the largest of the Goldman-affiliated foundations gave out about $12 million. So which non-profit groups stand to benefit the most from the firm's increased largesse? The institutions that Goldman wrote checks to last year runs about 25 pages. (You're welcome to go through it yourself; it's embedded below.) We focused on the dozens of elite private schools and fancy boarding schools that made the cut, a list you can review after the jump. But before you go out and start piecing together a conspiracy theory, we'll point out that the school that Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein's two sons (and his wife) attended wasn't anywhere close to the top. (Ethical Culture/Fieldston received a measly $10,000.) And as for Dalton, which is pictured above, it didn't get a dime.
Goldman Sachs announced third-quarter earnings today and, as expected, Lloyd Blankfein has good reason to smile. The firm raked in $3.1 billion in profits, which was three times what the bank made during the same period in 2008. And Goldman bonuses will set a new record when they're doled out in a few months: A whopping $5.25 billion was set aside this quarter alone to pay for them. (As several people predicted, the firm also announced it was putting a big chuck of money—$200 million—into its foundation this quarter in what appears to be an attempt to counter negative press over the big bonuses.) But travel a few miles north from Goldman HQ to the offices of Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and the mood isn't as cheery.
James Gandolfini turns 48 today. Lance Armstrong is turning 38. Jada Pinkett Smith is 38 today, too. Designer Karim Rashid is 49. Comic actor Fred Willard is turning 70. Actor James Marsden is 36. The Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo is turning 33. The rapper Xzibit is turning 35. Senator Bob Bennett of Utah is 75. Actress and former Talk Soup host Aisha Tyler is 39. Singer Frankie Avalon is turning 69. Actress Holly Robinson Peete is 45 today. And Robert Blake, the former Baretta star who was acquitted of murder in 2005, turns 76 today. You'll find weekend birthdays listed below.
Goldman Sachs has a image problem, as you may have noticed. The firm has been battered by bad press in recent weeks as critics have accused Goldman of having a hand in everything from the destruction of the cookie industry to the spread of nuclear materials to rogue nation-states. (Okay, the firm hasn't been accused of that last one just yet, but it's just a matter of time.) Now, as we head into fall and get closer and closer to bonus season, Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein is getting worried that it's about to get worse. But what to do?
Goldman Sachs has been accused in recent weeks of plotting to make a fortune from the collapse of the American economy and then plotting with Washington insiders to hand the banking industry a massive bailout. Are Goldman haters now plotting against the firm's CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, and his wife Laura? A day after it was reported the banking chief had instructed Goldman employees to play it cool comes this doozy about Laura Blankfein's alleged antics in the Hamptons last weekend: