Style icon Pat Field turns 68 today. Film director Darren Aronofsky is turning 41. Christina Ricci is 30. Senator Arlen Specter is turning 80. Children's author Judy Blume is 72. Josh Brolin, the actor and son of James Brolin, is turning 42. Locanda Verde chef Andrew Carmellini is 39. Tech visionary Raymond Kurzweil turns 61. Celebrity nutritionist Oz Garcia is 59. Fonzworth Bentley, Diddy's former assistant and now the host of his own show on MTV, is 36. Chynna Phillips is turning 42. And Arsenio Hall turns 55 today. A few people celebrating birthdays this weekend—including Mayor Bloomberg—are below.
Hedge fund manager Richard Perry and his fashion-designer wife, Lisa Perry, live in a 17-room penthouse on Sutton Place. They're also big-time modern art collectors and home design obsessives. (Their Manhattan apartment earned a 10-page spread in Vogue a few years ago; in the Hamptons, they may own the only house that has a pool installed in its dining room.) But their art collection has landed the couple in a bit of trouble. The Perrys installed a green stainless-steel "diamond" sculpture by Jeff Koons, which they purchased for $2.3 million in 2005, on the terrace of their Manhattan pad. (A crane was required to put it there.) Not only do the couple's neighbors totally despise the piece ("I think it's as ugly as it comes," says one), some are now complaining that it's blinding them:
The Guardian's Paul Collier has proposed a brand new crime (and a brand new word): bankslaughter: "With bankslaughter, when the bank blows up—even if it is a decade later—a criminal investigation traces back to determine whether crucial decisions were reckless. If a reasonable banker faced with the information available at the time would not have taken those risks, the person responsible is dragged off the golf course and jailed." Clusterstock's John Carney thinks this may just be the dumbest idea ever and should be "nipped in the bud before some populist lawmaker tries to make a garden party out of it." In the meantime, if you see Jimmy Cayne, Chuck Prince, or Dick Fuld on a golf course tomorrow and they look a little queasy, now you know why. [Guardian via Clusterstock]
The website selling these "Financial Crisis Cards" say the decks come with just two jokers, but we have a feeling there are a few more of them in the mix. Bring them to your next bridge game at the Palm Beach Country Club and you'll have what will certainly be an instant crowd-pleaser. Or you could buy one now and rest assured you'll have the perfect gift for when former Bear Stearns chief (and bridge champion!) Jimmy Cayne's birthday rolls around next February. [Financial Crisis Cards via Dealbreaker]
• Bank of America sold off a $7.3 billion stake in China Construction Bank as it seeks to raise cash. Good news: only $26.6 billion to go! [DB]
• Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce that Hank Morris has pleaded guilty in the pension fund probe and will be cooperating with the investigation. [WSJ]
• Citigroup has lent out the same amount it's taken from Washington ($45 billion), a sign that Vikram may have a heart, after all. [AP, Dealbreaker]
• AIG's Ed Liddy will defend his company's rep in front of a Congressional panel today. At the very least, he can report the busted insurance giant is $1.2 billion richer now that it's sold off its Tokyo headquarters. [WSJ, DB]
• Is AIG officially the most despised company in America? Following the disclosure over the weekend that execs planned to go ahead with $165 million in bonuses to top execs comes word that a good deal of the billions in bailout money it received went to banks like Goldman Sachs ($12.9 billion), Merrill Lynch ($6.8 billion), and Bank of America ($5.2 billion). [BN, NYT, WSJ]
• Larry Summers: "There are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what's happened at AIG is the most outrageous." [BN]
• UBS plans to cut another 5,000 jobs. [Reuters]
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver turns 65 today. Rudy Giuliani's ex-wife, Donna Hanover, is 59. Real estate developer Francis Greenburger is 60. Peter Gabriel is turning 59. Robbie Williams is 35. Stockard Channing turns 65. Jerry Springer is 65. And Henry Rollins turns 48. People celebrating their birthdays this weekend—including Valentine's Day birthday boys like Michael Bloomberg and Steve Schwarzman—after the jump.
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?
Geoffrey Raymond is the artist who's been making a name for himself with his portraits of disgraced CEOs, turning up outside office buildings and encouraging employees to "contribute" to his art by adding an inscription of their own. He was outside Bear Stearns shortly after Jimmy Cayne was ousted; last week, he stood outside AIG with a Hank Greenberg painting set up on an easel. But it isn't the safest line of work: When he appeared outside Lehman Brothers with a portrait of Dick Fuld (which he eventually sold for $10,000), he says he "almost got beaten up by a 'drunk, angry' employee wearing one of the firm's corporate softball league jerseys." [NYO, previously]
Rumors: did they take down Lehman? This was one of those nagging questions to which we were too overwhelmed to answer yesterday. Now we know: Yes and no! On the one hand, as both rumormonger David Einhorn and pretty stiletto-wearing former Lehman CFO Erin Callan could tell you, that is how capitalism works. You short a stock, you start a word-of-mouth marketing campaign about how, say, "Lehman is the new Bear," which translates roughly to "Lehman is the new venerable investment bank whose demise those terrible short-sellers and their malicious rumormongering will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy," and, lo and behold, the shit happens. Of course…it doesn't happen if your company has a sane and convincing leader who can go on CNBC and say, "here, look at our books! Our firm has such robust ratios of cash and hard tangible assets to covenants and other accounts payable that it really doesn't matter what our stock price does because, familiar as we are with the pussy nature of Wall Street confidence and the easily-distracted myopic ephemera-addled lemmings who govern such day-to-day fluctuations, we've seen to it to inoculate our business from such attacks by stockpiling enough hard currency and solid — but also liquid! — financial instruments that we can weather a crisis of confidence without having to undermine our case by begging them for money!" Lehman had no such leader. And it had no such assets!
Former Bear Stearns chief Jimmy Cayne has had a lousy few months, hasn't he? It was while Cayne was frittering away his days on the golf course that the investment bank imploded, of course, and the firm was later sold off for pennies on the dollar to Jamie Dimon's JP Morgan. Thousands of people lost their jobs, the Bear name has since been relegated to the dust bin of Wall Street history, and there's even been chatter that Cayne could face criminal charges in connection with the firm's demise. Then there's the humiliation of watching his personal fortune go up in smoke: Once worth more than $1 billion, Cayne now has less than 10% of that to his name these days. (Embarrassingly, Cayne's little nephew—who he broke into the business—is worth more.) Not that anyone is feeling sorry for Jimmy and his wife, Pat, now that they'll be forced to think twice before ordering up a $5,000 bottle of 1959 Château Margaux the next time they visit Le Bernardin. But those reveling in the schadenfreude, though, haven't considered the people who are really going to suffer: Jewish orphans! After the jump, everything you wanted to know about the James E. Cayne and Patricia D. Cayne Charitable Trust.
When you loathe someone, there's nothing more cathartic than scrawling ad-hominem invective over a portrait of that person! At least, that's the thought behind a new painting of disgraced Bear Stearns chair Jimmy Cayne by Geoffrey Raymond, the artist who's made a career out of painting controversy-tainted Wall Streeters. Raymond was standing outside Bear's headquarters at 383 Madison yesterday and offering Bear employees a red marker to express their black thoughts about Cayne on his painting, "The Annotated Bear." A few employees of the about-to-shutter bank—today was the last day in Bear Stearns' 85-year life—took up the offer, scribbling love notes like "Dear Jim, Up Yours" and "Now You Know What BS Stands For." Make yourself at home in the pillory, Jimmy, it's going to be a long time before these burned bankers tire of throwing rocks at you.
The Wall Street Journal is in the midst of a trillion-word ongoing series chronicling the downfall of Wall Street firm Bear Stearns earlier this year. Today's installment looks at the rapid compounding of the firm's financial problems, which builds inexorably into a crisis. That's nice and everything, but the really interesting part comes when the story reveals what threw a wrench into the multibillion-dollar firm's effort to save its public reputation: Eliot Spitzer and his stupid hooker! Not to mention their old card-playing stoner chairman of the board:
The Wall Street Journal begins a three-part series on the downfall of Bear Stearns today: "Months before regulators pressured the firm to sell itself, nervous traders futilely begged Alan Schwartz and his predecessor, James Cayne, to raise more cash and slash Bear Stearns's huge inventory of mortgages and the bonds that backed them. At least six efforts to raise billions of dollars—including selling a stake to leveraged-buyout titan Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.—fizzled as either Bear Stearns or the suitors turned skittish. [WSJ]
Formerly the chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns, Jimmy Cayne's career ended in disgrace—and his $1 billion net worth went up in smoke—when the investment bank crumbled in early 2008 amid the global credit crisis. He now spends his time putting golf balls, playing bridge, and smoking, uh, cigars. His nephew is hedge fund manager Richard Perry.