The Broker the Clintons Call

031207 article sitdown The Broker the Clintons CallLOCATION: You’ve helped the Clinton family find their homes in Westchester and in Washington. What makes Hillary special?

SLOANE: Well, I think she has tremendous intelligence. She’s a very good friend—she’s a loyal friend, devoted to her family—and I’ve had a chance to see that firsthand. Senator Clinton is really the one who made the decision to move to New York, to run for Senate—and that was very much backed up by her husband and her daughter. And I think the decision to move forward with her family—always with her family—was a very important decision.

I know there are people who don’t give her credit for having really saved the unity of her family—which she did. But as I’ve come to know her, I don’t think there is any possibility she could have made any other decision. I, personally, really respect that.

She’s a woman who wakes up every morning and she makes sure her mother’s all right and her daughter’s all right. I had enough opportunity to spend enough time with Senator Clinton when she was First Lady to see that devotion, and it has not diminished over her Senate years.

You joined Brown Harris Stevens in 1986. How did you come to New York?

I started coming to work on a conservation project that Larry Rockefeller had begun in the Catskills called Beaverkill Valley. He persuaded me to become involved in the sale of the real estate, which I did for a decade …. Before you knew it, all my friends were asking me to help them with their transactions.

Who are well-known early clients?

Well, let’s see …. The Jackie Onassis sale on Fifth Avenue—but that wasn’t really until the 90’s. Robert Redford—his family’s apartment—is before that.

Will you get the $40 million asking price for the Trump penthouse at 502 Park you’re currently listing?

Oh, I think absolutely! When you think that we sold the penthouse at 823 Park for $30 million, and we could easily have sold it for $35 million—but the sponsor liked the buyer who offered 30!

What is Donald Trump like?

I think he is terrific. If a problem arises, you can go to Donald with the issue and say, “Now, these are the two ways I was thinking of approaching the solution.” And he invariably comes up with a third way that is better!

I’ve worked with Ivanka and Donald Jr. both, and I think they are so intelligent and so well brought up. Impeccable manners, tremendously considerate—each of them has a work ethic second to none. Their father has nothing on them in terms of work ethic.

I think that Donald Trump will be able to go off and do other things he’d like to do in the world with the knowledge he has two—three—children in that office every day. When you go to Floor 26 [at Trump International], you immediately feel the sense of entering the family business.

How many brokers are in Manhattan’s upper-tier world?

I really think there are probably 10—maximum 12—people that you can say are competing at the very top level.

Why is the co-op world so difficult?

The object isn’t to sell the real estate; the object is to put together a picture of that individual or that family which says to the other co-op owners on the board, “This is an individual or family that we think is appropriate for that building.” … That’s been the heart and soul of my work.

What’s a difficult experience you’ve recently had? Who will you never work with again?

I don’t focus on the negative. I believe we’re in a collaborative business. There sometimes are contentious moments in transactions, and they can cause little bumps in the road between brokers. But the essential business is to overcome anything like that and to go on to the next positive experience. There simply isn’t enough energy, human energy, or time in the day to allow the negative to dominate.

It’s been reported that you lunch with Michael Douglas and Gay Talese. How much of your work is social networking?

My business is largely a repeat business with clients. Over the past few years, a lot of it has come from the Internet, because I—fortunately—have such attractive exclusives. That encourages people to call from just about anywhere to say, “Can I go see this property?”