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Friday, May 27, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Trump quit at least in part because he finally realized what a harsh light this ego explosion was shining on every corner of his business empire, potentially exposing not only him and his many partners, but also his children Donald Jr. and Ivanka to intense scrutiny. An ongoing media investigation of Trump’s financial deals—beset by charges of fraudulent misrepresentation—would also have made it harder for NBC to continue touting him as a model American businessman ... While I was reporting that book in 1990, I was muscled out of Trump Castle and handcuffed overnight to a wall at the Atlantic City jail. I haven’t done much reporting about him since the book, but when his numbers shot to the top in recent presidential polls, I took another look and asked his office for an interview. His response was a letter threatening a libel suit. Trump did sue Tim O’Brien, who was a research assistant on my Trump book, when Tim wrote a sequel in 2005. Now the national editor of the Huffington Post, O’Brien finally prevailed after years of litigation ... In addition to being a television personality, Trump makes a lot of his money these days licensing his name for various hotel and condo projects, not to mention mattress and vodka brands. His most frequent partner in the condo/hotel deals—some of which have become actual projects and some of which haven’t—has been a small development firm called the Bayrock Group, which was headquartered in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in 2005 when the partnership began. Trump and Bayrock joined forces on Trump Soho in New York and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, announced and then canceled another Florida project called Trump Las Olas, and together pushed unsuccessful ventures in Colorado and Arizona. Two days before Trump’s 2007 deposition in the O’Brien case, however, The New York Times broke a story about a top Bayrock executive, Felix Sater (aka Satter). Sater had gone to prison for plunging the stem of a wine glass into a commodity broker’s face in a bar fight." (Wayne Barrett/ TheDailyBeast)


"Fareed Zakaria and his stunning wife, Paula Throckmorton, have hit a rough patch. The host of CNN's 'Fareed Zakaria GPS' and Paula, who owns a jewelry-design business, are living separately while they work out their differences, sources say. The Upper West Side power couple has three children. Zakaria, also Time magazine's editor-at-large, responded, 'It's true that we're having troubles and I have taken a small apartment a few blocks away, but I still live at our house most days of the week. We're trying to work things out. Divorce is not on the horizon.'" (PageSix)


"There are four key women in (The Recessionistas) with various backgrounds and circumstances, which have been interwoven due to a lack of 'Fiscal Discipline' by some key players in the financial industry. It’s set during those fateful weeks in September 2008 when Lehman Brothers melted down and billions of dollars and stock valuations were lost. My personal favorite character in the book is Sasha Silver. Sasha was most recently a Wall Street CEO, but in 2005 she sold her company, Silver Asset Management, to BridgeVest Financial. It was a big deal, but the wrong deal. Her partners cashed out and retired, leaving her in the less than pleasant position of being equally hassled and ignored by her owners. She has satisfaction with a loving, but overly busy, husband, good children, an oversized apartment in NYC and a mountain of money. But one of the most important things she has is a good reputation. In sharp contrast, Grisgby Somerset is a spoiled and entitled woman who refuses to believe it when her banker husband tells her they’re broke. She snaps at him, 'Don’t you dare talk to me in all these technical terms! It’s your job to make sure we have enough money to live our lives. So I will continue living as we have and will expect the bills to be paid.' As you know, the bills in this world are not small. The private schools cost between $33,000 to $60,000 a year; the charity events are plentiful and $1,000 a ticket. But you’re nobody if you didn’t purchase a table for $10,000 to $50,000. Top this all off with the expectations around clothes, jewels, vacations, the second house and of course, the third too." (Alexandra Lebenthal/NYSocialDiary)

"David Pogue is an incredibly popular technology columnist and one of the most influential gadget gurus in the world. With a column in the New York Times, TV gigs on CNBC, CBS, and PBS, and 1.3 million Twitter followers, Pogue can drive sales of a new gizmo with a few exuberant words or crush a company’s dreams with a thumbs-down on a new product. But Pogue in the past has landed in hot water for failing to disclose potential conflicts of interest. And he has recently attracted some notoriety after he and his wife, whom he’s divorcing, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct following an alleged scuffle during a domestic dispute that some reports say involved him hitting his wife with an iPhone. And now those two issues are converging: Pogue has been dating Nicki Dugan, a vice president at OutCast Agency, a San Francisco PR firm that represents top tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Cisco, Netflix, and Yahoo, since last year. (On April 24, things between them had grown serious enough that Dugan announced their relationship on her Facebook page.)" (Dan Lyons)


"In the past week, things have fallen apart in Sudan. With the clock ticking down toward the date when Africa's largest country officially breaks in two, the borderlands between the two would-be states have caught on fire. Abyei, the most volatile north-south border hotspot, has once more become a proxy battleground where the northern and southern governments are acting out a dangerous high-stakes game through their respective armed forces. On Saturday evening, northern tanks rolled into the contested town, using aerial bombardments of nearby villages for cover. Adding to the unfolding drama, as mortars fell into the United Nations peacekeeping mission base in Abyei, a U.N. Security Council delegation touched down in the northern capital of Khartoum to hold preparatory meetings ahead of the South's expected July 9 declaration of independence. The day afterwards, North Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti snubbed the council, calling in sick for a meeting with the delegation. A meeting with Vice President Ali Osman Taha reportedly also did not occur. Sources present inside the talks that did happen with the northern government said the discussions were less than fruitful, with little indication that the Khartoum government intends to back down over Abyei." (ForeignPolicy)


"It's looking like both big opening films today are on track for their pre-release estimates. Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures' The Hangover Part 2 earned an 'A-' CinemaScore and is heading for $30 million Thursday including $10.4M in midnight shows. That'll be its best-grossing day for this 5-day Memorial Weekend since 80% of colleges will be out Thursday and Friday. Hollywood is expecting a 3-day weekend of $80M-$85M and an extra-long 5-day Memorial holiday of $125M. DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda 2 distributed by Paramount earned an 'A' CinemaScore and is debuting Thursday with $6 million because only 10% of K-12 schools are out on Thursday and just 20% on Friday. The toon sequel should gross bigger each day with $45M-$50M expected for the 3-day weekend and $65M-$70M for the extra-long 5-day Memorial holiday. Internationally, Panda 2 opens in 10 markets day and date including Russia and Korea." (Deadline)

"Alec Baldwin ate dinner in a packed corner, one table over from the actress Linda Fiorentino, a few steps from the author Gay Talese and dozens of bent elbows away from producers, journalists and others lucky enough to get inside. So it went on Thursday, on the last night at Elaine’sElaine Kaufman scraped together $5,000 to buy an Austro-Hungarian bar on Second Avenue that nobody had ever heard of, and transformed the restaurant she opened there in April 1963 into one of the most famous night spots in America, a saloon salon that once attracted the likes of Woody Allen (Table 8), Jacqueline Kennedy (Table 10) and William Styron (Table 4). Forty-eight years later — and nearly six months after Ms. Kaufman’s death at the age of 81 in December — Elaine’s prepared to shut its doors early Friday morning, following a final farewell on Thursday evening that might have felt like a wake, were so many people not having such a good time." (NYTimes)


"Kate Winslet helped honor legendary photographer Mario Testino; Sigourney Weaver presented at the Art Of Giving; Big Girls with a Small Kitchen had a book party; Little Monsters danced to Born This Way at Angel Orensanz and more! Last night's parties were packed for the weekend and didn't care how late they stayed out! Where: Cipriani 42 Who Was There: Anna Wintour, Kate Winslet, Mario Testino, Yaz Hernandez, Valentin Hernandez, Courtney Love, Donatella Versace, Hamish Bowles, Prabal Gurung, Joan Smalls, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Josh Hartnett, Andre Balazs, Alexandra Lebenthal, Calry Cushnie, Michelle Ochs" (Guestofaguest)

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