Steve Schwarzman's 60th birthday party last year may go down as the last, great party before the fall. Days after closing on what was then the biggest leveraged buyout in history, the $39 billion purchase of Equity Office Properties, the billionaire chairman of the Blackstone Group invited 500 people to the Armory on Park Avenue for a party that cost an estimated $3 million. A very long list of notables turned up—Donald Trump, Barbara Walters, Barry Diller, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon—as did many of the people who have now become poster boys for the global financial crisis, like former Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O'Neal, ex-Bear Stearns chief Jimmy Cayne. Rod Stewart was paid $1 million to perform for the assembled guests; Patti LaBelle sang "Happy Birthday." And the room was designed to replicate Schwarzman's $40 million co-op at 740 Park Avenue. So does Schwarzman have any regrets now the economy has crumbled and he was depicted as a real-life Gordon Gekko in the relentless press coverage that followed?
Sort of! When asked by Andy Serwer at Fortune-sponsored breakfast at Per Se today if he would have held the party all over again given what's happened since, he started off by saying he was just glad he made it to 60. A few regrets followed, although what seems to have upset him most was the damage it did to his personal reputation. "Obviously, I wouldn't have wanted to do that and become some kind of symbol of that period of time," Schwarzman said. "Who would ever wish that on themselves? No one." But it was fun while it lasted! "It was a great party," Bruce Wasserstein chimed in moments later.
Stephen Schwarzman And [HuffPo] Spar At Fortune Breakfast
Schwarzman vs. Wasserstein: Round 2 of the Accounting Debate [Dealbook]