A Money Manager to the Stars Forms His Own Company; Leo DiCaprio Scores

Joe Wall Street

On May 6, 30 or so Masters of the Universe from Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Company’s private client services division gathered at the Union League Club to quaff 1982 Château Margaux and smoke 1945 Don Candido Cubans. They were there to mark the departure of one of their own: Joe Zicherman, a principal of the firm who had toiled at Morgan, by his own count, for “20 years and 13 days,” much of it as a money manager for high-net worth clients, usually with a minimum of $1 million to invest.

The quality of the refreshments (a 1942 port was also poured) could have been interpreted as a sign that Mr. Zicherman was retiring. Although that is exactly how a Morgan Stanley spokesman described Mr. Zicherman’s departure, it was not the case. In April, Mr. Zicherman quietly took most of his clients, approximately $200 million of their money and most of his staff, and went out on his own. The company that he is in the process of forming will be called Stadium Capital Partners, a reference, he said, to “growing up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.”

Behind the sports-page name of Mr. Zicherman’s new company is a sexier story, one that he will not discuss with the press. Much of the money that he invests comes from the Hollywood wealthy. Mr. Zicherman refused to identify any of his clients or confirm any names that The Transom presented to him, but sources familiar with his work said that his clients include actors Barbra Streisand, Sylvester Stallone, producer Peter Guber and writer-producer Michael Crichton. Mr. Zicherman would only say that he brought approximately 120 clients with him from Morgan Stanley, and that many of them were friends. “I probably could have managed my own money and not done this,” he said. “But I’ve had clients that have been so devoted and with me for so many years. They’ve been with me through thick or thin.”

Lately, things have been pretty thick. Mr. Zicherman’s ride-’em-cowboy investment style (“He goes by his balls,” said one Wall Street denizen) has resulted in some hefty returns for his clients and made him wealthy as well. Still, Mr. Zicherman said, “We are risk-averse.” He explained that he took his first Wall Street job in the back office of Merrill Lynch during the first great bear market that lasted through the first half of the 1970’s. “Having seen that,” he said, “I have an enormous degree of respect for ugliness.”

Though he’s kept a low profile where the press is concerned, Mr. Zicherman is known as a bit of a character, especially in the Hamptons, where he owns a home in Sagaponack. (He also maintains an apartment on Fifth Avenue.) Mr. Zicherman’s 1961 black Mercedes 190SL with a burgundy interior is often seen parked outside of some of the East End’s more tony restaurants, such as Nick & Toni’s, where he is a regular. A fan of good cigars and wines, Mr. Zicherman often brings a bottle of the latter from his own collection when he dines out. Mr. Zicherman is often passionate about his Hamptons ‘hood. When the original operators of the Sagaponack General Store were being forced to vacate their location in 1994, Mr. Zicherman, who essentially had made the place his 7-Eleven, and a few other fans printed up picket signs and stood outside the place, protesting its closing. “I felt it was part of the culture of Sagaponack,” Mr. Zicherman told The Transom. (He added, however, that he really likes the store’s new owners.)

For all of his taste in life’s finer accouterments, there still seems to be much of the Bronx boy in Mr. Zicherman. Divorced with two children, Mr. Zicherman favors baseball caps and installed a basketball court instead of a tennis clay court on his Hamptons property. The décor of his home is said to be borderline Maurice Villency.

Mr. Zicherman said that he had been thinking of hanging his own shingle for some time now, but that the recent merger of Morgan Stanley with Dean Witter helped precipitate his move. “When I started at Morgan Stanley, there were 1,200 employees.” Post-merger, the company now has 47,000 employees. It also has a lot bigger name: Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Company.

Mr. Zicherman said that his company’s smaller size will enable him to move more quickly in the market. “I feel strongly that with the increased volatility in the marketplace, one has to have great flexibility,” he said, as well as “the ability to react very efficiently. I felt it would be better to do that on my own.”

Morgan Stanley has been very quiet about Mr. Zicherman’s departure, and there is some speculation that the investment banking firm cannot be happy that Mr. Zicherman has taken so many clients with him.

Mr. Zicherman said that there was nothing but good vibes between him and his former colleagues. They’re “amazing,” he said. “They will be my friends for ever and ever.” Morgan Stanley spokesman Lee Pierce said only that Mr. Zicherman had “retired.” She declined to offer any additional comments about Mr. Zicherman’s departure.

Leo DiCaprio Scores!

Leonardo DiCaprio es muy, muy macho . How do we know? The year is barely half over, and the 22-year-old Mr. DiCaprio has dated and or romanced at least six boldfaceable babes (and, according to a London paper, deflowered one), according to a selective and hardly exhaustive scan of the gossip columns. Below, a time line:

Jan. 8. (the Daily News ‘ Rush & Molloy column): Mr. DiCaprio is spotted “trolling for models” at Miami’s Beehive cafe.

Jan. 13 (Rush & Molloy): Mr. DiCaprio hooks one, Amber Valletta.

Feb. 15 ( New York Post ): The tabloid, which shares a parent company with Titanic co-distributor 20th Century Fox, publishes a running tab on the women with whom Mr. DiCaprio had appeared in public in the recent past: models Kristin Zang, Bridget Hall, Helena Christensen and the star of the two Species movies, Natasha Henstridge.

Feb. 26 (Rush & Molloy): The actor flies to Cuba with shrill singer Alanis Morissette, but the relationship is deemed platonic.

March 22 (Rush & Molloy): Mr. DiCaprio dances with married Wonderbra model Eva Herzigova after the London premiere of his movie, The Man in the Iron Mask .

March 25 (the Post ‘s Page Six column): Some “heavy-duty canoodling” with model Naomi Campbell in Paris.

April 8 (Rush & Molloy): An item cites a London Sun story that alleges Mr. DiCaprio “took supermodel Bridget Hall’s virginity at the Royalton Hotel and that Hall found the night ‘disappointing.'”

April 21 (Page Six): Ms. Hall’s denial of the London Sun account is reported.

April 26 (Page Six): A report of Mr. DiCaprio’s rendezvous with model Kate Moss in the Caribbean.

May 1 ( Post ): Two stories run on Mr. DiCaprio. The first reports his “budding romance” with 20-year-old model Vanessa Haydon. According to the article, the two “have one very obvious trait in common–out of the spotlights of their careers, both are painfully shy and private.” The second contains a claim by British model Karen Butler that she had a ” Titanic night of love” with the actor in a swanky London hotel suite on March 22 (this, after his dance with Ms. Herzigova).

Jeane MacIntosh of Page Six told The Transom that the “Leo stuff is coming from everywhere.” She added that she has “daily conversations” with Mr. DiCaprio’s publicist, Cindy Guagenti, and that the buzz surrounding the Titanic actor is “getting ridiculously out of hand.” Rush & Molloy columnist George Rush agreed. “I think the fascination with him is slightly absurd,” he said, “but we indulge in it because people want to read about him.”

Ms. Guagenti, for her part, denied that her client even has a girlfriend, regardless of the speculation over Ms. Haydon. She added that Mr. DiCaprio “really hasn’t been seen in public with [these women]. If he’s at an event and there are people he knows, that’s where this stuff comes from,” she said. “Because he’s newsworthy right now, people just run with any bit of information, whether it’s true or not.”

–Kate Kelly

The Transom Also Hears

… Just look at the way Bill Murray smirks, and it’s easy to envision him being creatively cruel to his five brothers. So when The Transom encountered the very healthy-looking Mr. Murray at Esquire ‘s party for its “Brothers” issue at Milk Studios, we asked him to divulge the meanest thing he had ever done to one of his male sibs. Mr. Murray smiled and copped out. “I got taller than one of my brothers, and he never got over it,” he said. When The Transom tried to urge the actor to do a little better, Mr. Murray said: “Put that in there, and people will go, ‘I know that guy.'” Later in the evening, the magazine auctioned off the fraternal photos that had appeared in the issue. Mr. Murray’s wife, Jenny, bid the winning $8,500 for the Murray mishpocheh .

… Poor Naomi Silverman. Her daughter, Gayle Silverman, won a trip to Paris in an AT&T sweepstakes and decided to take her mother, a Spanish teacher from Lenexa, Mo., as a Mother’s Day surprise. So her daughter coaxed Mrs. Silverman to fly to New York, where the airline lost her luggage. Then she was marched into a pack of waiting reporters and cameramen at Maxim’s. “Oh, my God,” she said. Then, after Liliane Montevecchi sang to her and lunch was served, Mrs. Silverman, her husband, Mike, her daughter and AT&T travel markets director Elroy Cartwright were dragged in front of the assembled to dance the can-can. Mrs. Silverman said it was the first time she had danced the cancan. “I hope,” she added, “that it will be the last time.”

A Money Manager to the Stars Forms His Own Company; Leo DiCaprio Scores