There is a Jewish renewal in our lives, and two idiosyncratic instances occurred right here in this city in recent days.
The first was a Sotheby’s auction of the 386-item Judaica collection painstakingly assembled over the years by Michael and Judy Steinhardt, probably the most imaginative Jewish philanthropists of the age. Now, a sell-off Read More
Materially speaking, Jermaine “Jay” Morrison wasn’t born with much. He had brains and personality, and his circumstances gave him drive. “We were really, really, really poor,” the New Jersey real estate broker told The Observer. “Shit was hard. Really, really, really hard.”
Growing up in Somerville, N.J., he could see just two ways out: one was crack, the other was cocaine, and at various times he tried selling both. At age 16, Mr. Morrison started peddling drugs, and soon discovered he had a knack for sales—to the tune of $100,000 a year, he claims.
“I would be on the street all night until 4 a.m.,” he told The Observer. “I remember, it was Christmastime and it was really cold outside. Slowly, every other guy would leave, until it was 3 in the morning and I was the last guy in the corner. I got all the business.”
The more you poke into gas giant Chesapeake CEO, the more foul odor emerges. There’s a sad inevitability to the news that a lifeline to foundering law firm Dewey & LeBouef was withdrawn. It’s a good day for Carlyle’s founders, even if they didn’t get their price and an Obama donor offers a revealing anecdote about how the rich see themselves. Read about it in our morning Wall Street roundup.
Bad gas: From 2004 to 2008, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon ran a private hedge fund that traded the same commodities that Chesapeake produced, according to Reuters. The $200 million fund listed Chesapeake’s Oklahoma City HQ as its mailing address, and employed an accountant who was also on staff at the natural gas powerhouse. Marketing the fund, we expect, was a breeze.
McClendon addressed media for the first time since he was stripped of his chairmanship, but wouldn’t discuss reported conflicts of interest: “Your mother told you not to believe everything you read or hear for good reason,” he said.
One moment please, to admire the late-buyout king’s impeccable taste. Forstmann, “Teddy” to the tabloids, who passed away in November, was known as a disdainer of junk bonds, adopter of orphans, squire to Princess Diana and Padma Lakshmi, Giving Pledge signatory, possessor of high-class tennis game, a man who, late in life, counted Roger Federer as a friend and Michael Ovitz as an adversary.
Paul Fribourg is the CEO of Continental Grain and a director of Estee Lauder, Burger King and the Loews Corporation. Clearly, the man has gobs of money sitting around, but that didn’t mean he was going to spend $45 million on a co-op at 998 Fifth Avenue.
In fact, it didn’t look like anyone was Read More
The Observer was about halfway through our black rice and bok choy at the Asia Society’s Asia Week kick-off gala on Monday night when iGavel online auctioneer Lark Mason plucked our dessert spoon off the table and politely asked us to tell him about it.
Mr. Mason, a frequent appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, was enlisting us to play along in mock version of the show.
We found the spoon while cleaning out our dead grandmother’s attic, we lied. We have a feeling it’s important.
Mr. Mason turned the spoon slowly in his hand.
“Manufactured in China, in the 1930s, for American export. She probably received it as a wedding gift,” he said matter-of-factly. “But I’m sure it has a lot of sentimental value.”
So far the art workers and their supporters have tried pranks, picket lines, an Occupy Wall Street alliance, a legal appeal to the National Labor Relations Board, and traditional negotiations, all to no avail. But perhaps a Christmas card will do the trick.
Sotheby’s has yet to let its locked-out workers back in after more than four months off the job due to disagreements over their union contract. So now the workers of the Local 814, the Teamsters union that includes art handlers at Sotheby’s high-end auctionhouse, have launched an email campaign comparing Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht to Scrooge and claiming the Teamsters have no money to care for their Tiny Tims. The catalyst? The locked-out workers are on the verge of losing their health insurance.
What is it about the preholiday season that winds everyone tighter than the postsurgery forehead of a Real Housewife? We’re trying to stay out of the drama as all of New York lets fly a seeming year’s worth of unaired grievances this week.
You could hear them a block away; their whistles and chants preceded them. About a hundred protesters stood outside Sotheby’s at the beginning of the auction house’s contemporary evening sale, the last important art sale of the year. ”We’re fired up! Won’t take it no more!” The crowd outside Sotheby’s was made up of N.Y.P.D., the auction house’s security, students from Hunter College, union members and Scabby, the oversize balloon rat who never seems to miss a strike, as well as a Scabby-sized balloon fat cat who squeezed a cigar in one paw and a union worker in the other. Picketers hoisted cutouts of the heads of Sotheby’s COO and CEO at the ends of long poles.
Occupy Wall Street
Disclosure: We were sent this video by someone with obvious sympathies and ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement. This video has been edited.
While some of Occupy Wall Street’s protests have focused on picketing outside Sotheby’s and disrupting art auctions since the establishment locked out its art handlers who were part of local Teamsters Local 814, a new form of occupation involves actually going to Sotheby’s parties and trying to get rich people to belittle the movement.