With a $100 million fortune made from selling miniature ceramic houses, Ed Bazinet is one of New York's richest men. His TriBeCa apartment is worth $28 million, and he was featured Richistan, Robert Frank's 2007 book about the super-wealthy. Two weeks ago, he suffered a manic break and purchased a whopping $20 million worth of expensive kitsch over the course of five days at the New York International Gift Fair.
Bazinet, whose apartment was described in Richistan as "a 10,000 square foot glass and chrome palace [that] looks more like a wing of the Museum of Modern Art than a home," was wandering the floor of New York's Javits Center two weeks ago for the gift fair, "the premier gift and decorative accessories market in the United States." Basically, it's booth after booth of preposterously pricey furniture, throw pillows, and wall art. A vendor we spoke to told us that Bazinet and an assistant walked up to their booth and ordered $15,000 worth of merchandise for delivery to his apartment.
But when the vendor called last Bazinet week to confirm the order and get payment information, an assistant told her that the order was cancelled. "We called to get his credit card information," the vendor said, "and his assistant told us that he had ordered $20 million worth of merchandise. She said he was having a bipolar incident, and had been hospitalized. They're cancelling all the orders. Hopefully all the other vendors called ahead to check like we did."
Katherine Roepke, a spokesman for Bazinet, confirmed the incident. "I don't know that it was $20 million, but much of that is true," she said. "He is hospitalized right now with a manic episode. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We all hope the best for him."
It's unclear how many other vendors were affected by Bazinet's spree. Representatives of the gift fair did not return phone calls.
UPDATE: Bazinet also ordered 96,000 "sachets and closet solutions"—for a total of $1.6 million—from ElizabethW. "When I asked Ed about the quantities he expressed frustration that many other vendors were asking the same question," writes co-founder Michael Lindsay in an email. "While we'll miss shipping the order, we wish him a speedy recovery."
[Image of Bazinet via Getty; image of penthouse via Luxist]