Showing posts with label Wealth-Rich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wealth-Rich. Show all posts

October 10, 2015

The RICHEST Politicians in Washington or trying to get there


 When billionaire businessman Donald Trump announced his campaign in June, he told the crowd he would self-fund his presidential bid, explaining, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich…”

The Donald’s campaign to be the Republican nominee for the White House is unique for many reasons, but one of the main things that sets him apart may well be his enormous personal wealth. With a net worth that reaches far into the billions, his “I’m really rich” self-assessment feel like a bit of an understatement.

While Trump’s wealth is an outlier, even in the moneyed business of political campaigns, many other politicians sport hefty bank accounts of their own. Using a variety of data sources and research, InsideGov took a look at the richest active politicians, ranking the top 24 officials and candidates. While creating the list, InsideGov consulted data from the Center for Responsive Politics and included federal-level legislators, governors and declared presidential candidates.

July 4, 2015

This 4th Trump Gets the AHole Award from the Hispanic Community

This award is presented by adamfoxie blog for beyond efforts  to be one

Perez Hilton reported that Ricky Martin tweeted his contempt towards the atrocious comment of the American magnate against the Mexican immigrants. I’ll leave that to your business partners like Univision and NBC, who have the power to scold you where it hurts.
As of early Wednesday, more than 700,000 people had signed a petition calling on Macy’s to cut ties with Trump.

Trump’s track record would look a lot better without the corporate bankruptcies, and many critics doubt he’s worth anything near the $9 billion he claims.
The reaction from Republican presidential candidates, however, has often been far less aggressive.

“Donald Trump is finding out that Hispanics have real power, and it’s not just political power; it’s economic power”, said Fernando Mateo, chairman of Hispanics Across America. In essence, Trump noted that Mexico was not sending their scientists and scholars to America.

And though polls have shown Trump is unpopular among the broader Republican electorate – suggesting his support has a relatively low ceiling – he has managed to dominate headlines about the 2016 race since his June 16 campaign launch. Isn’t that awesome? While your comments are incredibly ignorant and racist, I don’t want to spend my time chastising you… “They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists”. “These are people just pouring across the border”.
Some people have more money than sense. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump with regards to immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its organization relationship with Mr. Trump”.

ROGERS: Phyllis York, a retiree, says the GOP needs what Trump has.
Meanwhile, other parts of the Trump empire have also been impacted, including the announcement that the Ricky Martin Foundation was withdrawing a golf tournament that had been slated to be held at the Trump worldwide Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. NBC said Trump will no longer be allowed to host “The Apprentice“. The retail giant, Macy’s, followed suit shortly thereafter, announcing plans to phase out the sale of the Trump menswear collection from its shops.
The Hispanic groups in the United States of A have spoken out vociferously against Trump and his prejudiced talk.

May 13, 2014

A Mayor tries to change NYC being the City of Only! the Rich


“Budgets are not just a collection of numbers, they are not just an accounting document,”said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio when he revealed his FY 2015 budget last week. “They reflect fundamental values.” A municipal budget, to trot out an old chestnut, is the way a society writ large votes with its dollars.
So we should be optimistic about de Blasio’s $74 billion plan, which, as New York Magazine explains, espouses “his consistent priorities: education, housing, the homeless, and raises for municipal workers, all in service of combating income inequality.” The Times editorial board stodgily declares that “there is a lot to like in what Mr. de Blasio is proposing.” And Brent Budowsky of The Hill writes (under a headline non-ironically anointing the mayor as the “FDR of New York”), “[The budget] will be a standard for progressive experimentation and execution in the same way Roosevelt created a New Deal for America that not only survives today but also includes many brilliantly successful and popular policies, such as Social Security.” New York–area members of Congress are eagerly praising the budget, too.
Among the budget’s highlights is a $41 billion allocation, over the next ten years, to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing. De Blasio says that this—”the largest, fastest” affordable-housing program ever attempted on a local level—will create around 194,000 construction jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs. The New York City Housing Authority will receive $70 million for repairs and security upgrades. An additional $14.4 million will go toward providing shelter for both homeless families and single homeless adults. Says Denise Miranda of the Urban Justice Center, “De Blasio ensures that no New Yorkers will have to choose between living in a mold-infested NYCHA apartment or being homeless.” (That any New Yorker ever did, of course, is a sad example of the city’s prior commitment to affordable housing.) And $17.75 billion will be used for settling outstanding contracts with the city’slabor unions. (In today’s antilabor climate, the fact that “union” isn’t a bad word in the de Blasio administration is a very big deal.)
De Blasio’s budget is a vital wake-up call to a city that saw gentrification and de facto segregation rise under Mayor Bloomberg’s watch, especially where housing is concerned. “Mayor de Blasio’s [housing] plan could help decelerate the seemingly irreversible social segregation that is plaguing New York,” writes Richard Eskow at the Campaign for America’s Future. “What happens if this plan isn’t carried out? Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn will increasingly become white, wealthy enclaves. Gentrification will drive lower-income families out of even the outermost boroughs. Service workers and other lower-earning workers could soon face commute times that rival those of apartheid-era South Africa. The rich cultural diversity that has been New York City’s hallmark will disappear, and the school desegregation called for in Brown v. Board of Education will become impossible to achieve.” It’s frightening indeed when New York City can see Johannesburg as a “peer” on desegregation.
In a related item, the budget calls for a twenty-five percent increase in public-library funding, further demonstrating the mayor’s commitment to providing cultural and educational opportunities across the city, and not just in its elite Midtown core.
Could we finally be leaving Mayor Bloomberg’s Gilded City behind? In the introduction to our special issue about the Gilded City last year, we quoted James Parrott, chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, as saying, “New York City’s government is significant enough in its breadth…that the policy tools exist and the wherewithal exists to do something at the margins to lessen inequality.” De Blasio recognizes this. He also recognizes that he serves at the pleasure of the people—all 8.3 million of them—and that his mandate encompasses all of them.
A city in which white people, who make up 37 percent of the population, but earn 51 percent of the income—and where African-Americans and Latinos, who constitute 47 percent of the population, yet take home only 34 percent of the income—keeps its fingers crossed when it calls itself “great.” So does a city that, during the Bloomberg administration, denied shelter to record numbers of homeless individuals and families. 
As De Blasio’s term unfolds and as his budget takes actual shape, the city government will work provide both real and symbolic results for the people, an upgrade from too many years of relying solely on the symbolic. To see just how potent this new brand of progressivism has become, just look at the scene from the recent sixteenth birthday party of New York’s Working Families Party—which de Blasio helped found. In a speech, honoree Cynthia Nixonannounced, “We’re at the beginning of a great progressive era in New York City… Bill de Blasio, [public advocate] Letitia James, [city council speaker] Melissa Mark-Viverito. That is a holy trinity if I ever heard of one. We’ve had so many victories lately, and I feel that if we keep working, we have so many more coming.”
It’s said that the ideas behind New Deal were invented, developed, and tested in New York City in the 1910s and ’20s before going national under FDR. Behind De Blasio and WFP’s “holy trinity,” perhaps the New New Deal can start here, too.

March 22, 2014

The Resentment Against the Super Rich is Growing

People don’t hate you because you’re beautiful. People hate you because they are getting uglier.
Use that logic, substituting income for attractiveness, and you’ll have a better grasp of why the 99.9 percent really resent the 0.1 percent.
Populist rhetoric is leaving U.S. billionaires feeling persecuted, vilified and begrudged their hard-won fortunes. Quoth Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, in Politico: “[I]f you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”
His comment echoes the reductio-ad-Hitlerum arguments venture capitalist Tom Perkins made in a recent Wall Street Journal letter to the editor, portending a “progressive Kristallnacht.” (Was there a special session at Davos about Third Reich talking points?)
Yes, anti-inequality rhetoric has grown in recent years. But it’s not the growing wealth of the wealthy that Americans are angry about, at least not in isolation. It’s the growing wealth of the wealthy set against the stagnation or deterioration of living standards for everyone else. Polls show that Americans pretty much always want income to be distributed more equitably than it currently is, but they’re more willing to tolerate inequality if they are still plugging ahead. That is, they care less about Lloyd Blankfein’s gigantic bonus if they got even a tiny raise this year.

Unequivocally, the rich have gotten richer over time, and income has become more concentrated within a tighter tier of Americans. In the 1970s, the top 1 percent of families received about 8 percent of all income, whereas their share is nearly 20 percent today. Americans’ concerns about inequality, however, don’t closely track these changes in inequality.
The General Social Survey, for example, has asked Americans about attitudes toward the income distribution for almost 30 years. Peculiarly, it shows Americans were most critical of income inequality during the early and mid-1990s, when incomes were far less concentrated than they became in later years. Remember, though, that a jobless recovery was also strangling the middle class during that time.
What happened over the next few years of the tech boom is striking. Median household incomes grew, and the incomes of the highest earners skyrocketed, meaning the chasm between the rich and the rest widened. But public criticism of the distribution of income meanwhile fell. In other words, by 2000, inequality had objectively grown, but objections to inequality had shrunk. Not coincidentally, 2000 was also the year that Americans were most likely to agree with this statement: “The way things are in America, people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living.”
In the years since the Great Recession, hostility toward inequality has again rebounded, probably also driven by concerns that the rich are moving onward and upward while everyone else is left behind.
The link between objections to inequality and perceptions of economic mobility can be traced down to the individual household level, too. Generally speaking, Americans who are pessimistic about their ability to improve their own living standards are more likely to think that “differences in income in America are too large,” “inequality continues to exist because it benefits the rich and powerful,” and “large differences in income are unnecessary for prosperity,” according to survey analysis by Leslie McCall, a sociology professor at Northwestern.
Calculations based on a recent Pew Research Center survey likewise found that people who believed their family’s income was falling behind the cost of living were more likely to say the government should do “a lot” to “reduce the gap between the rich and everyone else.”
“When growth doesn’t lift everyone, the rich are not seen as deserving, and income inequality can symbolize unfairness,” explains McCall, who wrote “The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution.” As long as the rising tide is actually lifting all boats, people care less if some boats enjoy a bigger lift than others.
One implication of these polling trends is that if the 0.1 percent want to be left alone — or at least not pursued by pitchforks and guillotines — they should probably support policies that promote the upward mobility of other Americans. That would include things such as early childhood education, more generous Pell grants and a higher minimum wage, for example. While some of these policies might require higher taxes, it’s not clear that marginally improving mobility or raising the living standards of the most destitute would do much to hinder the very richest Americans’ ability to continue getting even richer. So far, little else has.
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

March 21, 2014

Obscene Wealth “85 Individual’s Have as Much as 3.5 Billion People"

The world’s 85 wealthiest people have as much money as the 3.5 billion poorest people on the planet – half the Earth’s population. That’s according to Oxfam’s latest report on the risks of the widening gap between the super-rich and the poor.
The report, titled “Working for the Few,” was released Monday, and was compiled by Oxfam – an international organization looking for solutions against poverty and injustice.
The document focuses on the extent of global economic inequality caused by rapidly increasing wealth of the richest people that poses the threat to the “human progress.”
A total of 210 people became billionaires last year, joining the existing 1,426 billionaires with a combined net worth of $5.4 trillion.
"Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown," the report stated.
Also, according to the Oxfam data, the richest 1 percent of people across the globe have $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the planet’s population – which effectively “presents significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems.”
“It is staggering that, in the 21st century, half of the world’s population — that’s three and a half billion people — own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all fit comfortably on a double-decker bus,” Oxfam chief executive Winnie Byanyima told a news conference.
And the number of the rich is steadily growing: for example, in India the number of billionaires skyrocketed from six to 61 in the past 10 years, and their combined net worth is currently $250 billion.
The report comes ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos which begins later this week, and urges the world leaders to discuss how to tackle this pressing issue.
Among the solutions presented by Oxfam are measures to avoid tax dodging and using economic wealth to pressure governments, looking for political benefits. Also, the organization calls for “making public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners,”as well as “challenging governments to use tax revenue to provide universal healthcare, education and social protection for citizens.”
Oxfam also said that there are many laws that favor the rich, which were lobbied for in a “power grab” by the world’s wealthiest people.
Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries for which data are available, according to Oxfam.
"A survey in six countries (the US, UK, Spain, Brazil, India and South Africa) showed that a majority of people believe that laws are skewed in favor of the rich," the report said.
For instance, almost 80 percent of the Spanish and the Indians, as well as over 60 per cent of the US and the UK residents, either agree or strongly agree that “the rich have too much influence over where this country is headed.”

March 20, 2014

The Billionaires First came for the Money, then they Stoled the Country

First the rich-rulers came for our economy, and we said nothing. 
Then they came for our government, and again, we said nothing.
Now, they've come for science, and we're not saying a word.
Thanks to Republican-backed austerity measures, our nation’s scientific infrastructure has been hit with devastating budget cuts.

All across America, research labs are shutting their doors, scientists are joining unemployment lines, and potentially life-saving drug trials and research projects are being put on hiatus.
But have no fear, because the billionaire oligarchs are here.
As William Broad points out in The New York Times, "Yet from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, science philanthropy is hot, as many of the richest Americans seek to reinvent themselves as patrons of social progress through science research."
Broad goes on to write that, "The result is a new calculus of influence and priorities that the scientific community views with a mix of gratitude and trepidation."
 Broad goes on to write that, “The result is a new calculus of influence and priorities that the scientific community views with a mix of gratitude and trepidation."

And as Steven Edwards, a policy analyst with the American Association for the Advancement of Science said, “For better or worse, the practice of science in the 21st century is becoming shaped less by national priorities or by peer-review groups and more by the particular preferences of individuals with huge amounts of money."

From disease research and underwater exploration, to space travel and climate change denial, billionaires are funding just about all aspects of science -- or pseudoscience -- in America today.
As a result, basic science research, which is most often responsible for huge scientific breakthroughs, is suffering, because it's not in the personal interests of the billionaires.
They’re only funding areas that they personally care about, and they're privatizing science in the process.

But this billionaire takeover of science in America shouldn't come as a surprise, because it's just the latest piece of the puzzle.
Before they had their sights aimed on science, the billionaires came for our economy, and turned it into an oligonomy.
With the help of Ronald Reagan, they unleashed Reaganomics on America, taking our nation back to the Gilded Age era of oligonomy, an economy dominated by oligarchs.
In 1981, soon after he took office, Reagan signed into law one of the largest tax cuts in history.

That legislation included a 23% across-the-board cut to individual income tax rates.
And in 1986, Reagan again lowered individual income tax rates.
Meanwhile, Reagan also stopped enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act, a law that has been on the books since 1890.
The Act prevents monopolies from forming, and protects against other unfair business practices.
Unfortunately, without being enforced, corporations were allowed to grow out-of-control under Reagan, as the billionaire oligarchs got even richer.
This all inevitably led to a massive split between the wealthy elite and everybody else in America, a gap in income equality that is getting worse and worse every day.

Next, the billionaires came for our government, and turned it into an oligarchy.
From the halls of Congress to state houses across the country, government is working for the wealthy elite first, and everyone else second.
The ultimate proof of the oligarchs' success in taking over our government came in 2008, when they crashed our economy.
During the Great Recession, total U.S. household wealth fell by about $16.4 trillion, with much of those losses going into the pockets of the oligarchs who caused one of the worst economic collapses in American history.
Not a single billionaire bankster was jailed or even prosecuted for that collapse.
And for even more proof that Washington has turned into an oligarchy, the NRA, a group that is among the oligarchs, is fighting feverishly to block President Obama's nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to be Surgeon General.
With help from current Senators, including Democrats, the NRA has launched campaign against Murthy, arguing that his position that gun violence is a significant public health threat means that he is hostile towards the Second Amendment rights of American citizens.
Over the past 40 years, billionaire oligarchs have slowly but surely taken over just about all aspects of life in America.
But enough is enough.
It’s time to end America’s oligonomy by rolling back the Reagan tax cuts and enforcing the Sherman Anti-Trust act, so that corporations can't grow out-of-control and amass endless piles of money.  

And as for Washington’s ruling oligarchy, we need to roll back Citizen’s United, and say loudly and clearly that money is not speech.

March 17, 2014

The US Has Abandoned Democracy for Aristocracy in the Last 25 Yrs Now the Job is Done

(image by Digital Sextant)

The American Revolution was waged against aristocracy (which was the longstanding system), who happened to consist of British aristocrats. The American Revolutionists fought to establish a democracy instead. They did this, though democracy had never before existed (except in very limited form, in very small places, such as ancient Athens, and even there only briefly).
Thus, the American Revolution was a truly revolutionary “revolution," unlike any before it.                                                                        
Not only was hereditary status banned by the Constitution (in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8), but wealth itself was removed from political power. A property qualification (a requirement that one must own a certain amount of wealth), for the right to vote, was rejected by the members of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, even though a few members there had wanted such a requirement. However, even the few who did want that, such as Gouverneur Morris, said they wanted a property qualification only in order to prevent an aristocracy in this country; not to start a new one here. That's how unified against aristocracy they were. Everyone agreed: aristocracy must be avoided. On 7 August 1787, Morris said to the Convention, "Give the votes to people who have no property, and they will sell them to the rich who will be able to buy them." James Madison's record of the Convention went on to say of his speech: "He had long learned not to be the dupe of words. The sound of [the word] Aristocracy therefore had no effect on him. It was the thing, not the name, to which he was opposed, and one of his principal objections to the Constitution as it is now before us, is that it threatens this Country with an Aristocracy."
But, anyway, Morris's proposal, for a property-qualification for the right to vote, was voted down.
Madison then gave a speech himself, saying: "The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of republican Government, and ought not to be left to be regulated by the Legislature. A gradual abridgment of this right has been the mode in which Aristocracies have been built on the ruins of popular forms." Those words could be said by today's Democrats, against proposals by today's Republicans. But these words were said then by the man who drafted the U.S. Constitution. Today's Republicans should blush, as supporters of traitorism.
Everybody at the Constitutional Convention was an enemy to aristocracy; all of them were democrats (small-“D”).

No policy-position is as anti-democratic as is the proposal to eliminate estate taxes -- taxes on estates (inheritances) that are very large. The reason is that inheritances are the foundation for any aristocracy. Even the idea or concept of inherited wealth or status is anathema to democracy -- a virtual invitation to aristocracy. America's Founders waged the Revolutionary War to destroy aristocracy here; and that's the reason why the U.S. Constitution prohibited it, in the only way they knew how (at that time). 
Inheritance of a small amount from one's parents -- only enough to give a child a modest boost (yet, still, children of the poor don't get such a boost) -- can be debated by supporters of democracy; but large inheritances must be taxed very heavily, if the concept of democracy is to be meaningful at all.
If inherited wealth or status is permitted, then democracy is doomed: wealth and power will become more concentrated with each successive generation.
However, today's U.S. has eliminated taxes on all estates below $5 million, and has lowered the taxation-rate on large estates. This means that some babies enter this world with more money than the average American draws as income throughout his or her entire lifetime. Other children are born with little or nothing, and must go into debt in order merely to survive. Their children suffer even worse. Then their wages are garnisheed to pay those debts. Serfdom emerges and spreads.
That's not the only sign of democracy dying in America. Other signs are more subtle. For example:
On 13 March 2014, Robbie Couch at Huffington Post headlined "Chelsea Clinton Tells SXSW That She's 'Obsessed With Diarrhea' -- For a Great Reason," and showed video of this U.S. princess, daughter of a former President, saying, "I'm obsessed with diarrhea" because "I find the fact that 750,000 children still die every year around the world because of severe dehydration due to diarrhea unacceptable." Reader-comments following this report did not object to the star-system that has taken over in our country and that propelled her upwards, the system that causes a person of no remarkable abilities (such as this princess) to have news-media flocking to her, and reporting every self-promotion that issues from her (so that not only the ex-President’s wife, but also their daughter, will inherit the dynasty-founder's public attention), while far-more-capable actual experts on the given subject receive no such hereditary advantage, and are ignored by star-struck media.

Chelsea's parents are centi-millionaires because, due to Bill Clinton's (earned) Presidency, they receive (unmerited) enormous speaking fees, of hundreds of thousands of dollars for each speech they give at closed-to-the-press meetings at Goldman Sachs, etc., fundraising for themselves or their political campaigns, plus favored access to investment information, and other such advantages that are typical for aristocrats and that cause inequality of wealth to be soaring in this country -- as it now is soaring.
Chelsea Clinton's paparazzi press constitutes a sign of America's descending into aristocracy.
But, instead of democratic revulsion against it, the reader-comments to this news-story were like this:
"Hillary 2016 and Chelsea in 2024!!!!"
"goodonya Chelsea!!!!"
"Look at the great genes she, smarter & smartest.....U GO GIRL!!!"
 "She really is a cutie. More importantly, she is a smart cookie."
She hadn't said anything noteworthy, but people were praising her as if she had.
Latching onto a charitable cause, in order to promote oneself, is both good and bad: it is good if the person is especially well-qualified to talk about the subject (which Chelsea Clinton wasn't), or else is especially articulate and persuasive in making the case (which Chelsea also wasn't), or else doesn't easily get sidetracked onto other topics (such as tacos, as Chelsea was -- and a quick goodbye to the cause of opposing diarrhea -- for which, it turns out, she wasn't even fundraising). 
There are millions of people who can make a case more informatively than Chelsea, or more persuasively, or with fewer of "uh" and "um" and repeated, stumbled, words. But those other people aren’t aristocrats, as Chelsea Clinton is.

And, so, since this country is degenerating from a democracy into an aristocracy, our "news" media become more and more focused on less and less qualified "stars" such as she. Competency is no longer rewarded with success. And incompetency increasingly is. Not only the body-politic, but the economy, thus head downhill.
This is becoming a "whom do you know" country, no longer a "what do you know" one -- much less a "what can you do" economy.
Democracy in the U.S. is dying, and those are just some signs of the broader trend toward a rule by aristocrats, otherwise called "plutocracy," which inevitably means, in fact, rule by thieves, stealing from the masses to enrich the classes: kleptocracy. Because inherited wealth or status is stolen from everyone else, not earned in fair competition.
This is the new welfare program for the super-rich. It's Robin Hood in reverse. And it is profoundly un-American. 
It is even anti-American, in the sense that America's Founders had waged war against rule by aristocrats. But today’s Americans accept it. 

March 12, 2014

15 Central Park West, Secrets, Real Estate

Here are the Secrets of the most expensive real estate in the US if not the world. Thanks to CAROLINE HOWE and The Daily Mail UK we have great photos for you and a simple story that details some of the most famous people living there or that have lived there. I would rather have a townhouse on a quiet street if I had their money than go for a white high rise structure facing Central park or any park were there is always people around. But this is New York and we don’t accommodate the rich here, the rich being that we have so many here, they accommodate us.  

Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue…so passé. If you want the good life in the Big Apple and you happen to have a spare $15 or so million check out 15 Central Park West.
Penthouses have sold for close to a mind-boggling $100 million each and residents have included an unlikely mix of Hollywood A-listers, Russian and Chinese oligarchs, hi-tech moguls from Google and Yahoo! and big names from Wall Street.
‘The residents of 15 CPW are our latter-day priesthood of power. 15 CPW is the high altar of their secular religion,’ writes Michael Gross in his latest chronicle of 'real estate porn', House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address, published by Atria today.
High-rise for high-rollers: Penthouses in Fifteen Central Park West have sold for close to a mind-boggling $100 million each and residents have included an unlikely mix of Hollywood A-listers, Russian and Chinese oligarchs, hi-tech moguls from Google and Yahoo! and big names from Wall Street
Luxury: Initial asking price on the smallest unit was a modest $1.78 million. The bulk of the rest had asking prices between $5 million and $9,999,999
Luxury: Initial asking price on the smallest unit was a modest $1.78 million. The bulk of the rest had asking prices between $5 million and $9,999,999
'Cramped'? Kelsey Grammer's then wife, Camille, famously complained that a $3,500sq ft apartment was too small. ¿That seems pretty obnoxious [but] I¿m used to living in a substantial sized house,¿ she added
'Cramped'? Kelsey Grammer's then wife, Camille, famously complained that a $3,500sq ft apartment was too small. ‘That seems pretty obnoxious [but] I’m used to living in a substantial sized house,’ she added
According to Gross the residents of 15 CPW are members of ‘the floating crap game of wealth.’  As he puts it, it’s not inherited wealth that gets one a pad at 15 CPW. Instead ‘you just need a big checkbook.’ And there's plenty of fat wallets in residence with billionaires living on top of billionaires.
In 2006, Denzel Washington bought his apartment for $13 million – modest compared to other units in the building. He already owned a mansion in Beverly Hills. Gross says the proximity to Broadway inspired the actor’s purchase. 
'Fortunately,' Washington boasted, 'I’m independently wealthy. I mean, I got enough money is what I’m saying. I got a couple of dollars.'
Still, Denzel didn’t refuse a small discount on the purchase price in exchange for using his name to potential neighbors. As a prominent African-American and A-lister, his buy-in gave the marketers of 15CPW early bragging rights.


Kelsey Grammer, appearing on Broadway in La Cage aux Folles, rented 14K for $29,000-a-month, for himself and his then-wife Camille, a star of the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. 
The show even videotaped a segment with Camille and Kelsey and their children inspecting the apartment, the housewife declaring in the segment that the luxury 3,500 square foot apartment was too small. 
‘That seems pretty obnoxious [but] I’m used to living in a substantial sized house,’ she added.
But by the time the episode aired, eight months’ later, Camille had filed for divorce from the Frasier star. According to Gross, Camille had called her hubby from California and someone in the building told her that Kelsey’s wife was already in the building. 
‘They genuinely didn’t know that Grammer was having a fling’ with Kayte Walsh, a former flight attendant 27 years his junior. 
Sting moved into his $26.5 million digs after a massive renovation and the installation of his own private elevator so he wouldn’t have to ride with another resident. He also has his own private chef and three or four assistants tending to his every need.
Revolving doors: Gross' book reveals how A-Rod would order hookers to turn up just before or after his then girlfriend Cameron Diaz would turn up. He was allegedly hated by the staff
Revolving doors: Gross' book reveals how A-Rod would order hookers to turn up just before or after his then girlfriend Cameron Diaz would turn up. He was allegedly hated by the staff
But it was baseball superstar Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodeiquez who caused the most buzz in the luxury building.
Once the highest paid New York Yankee (recently suspended for 162 games because of allegations he used performance enhancing drugs) A-Rod was one of the prominent celebrity renters, shelling out $30,000-a-month. He was also an all-star bachelor womanizer. 
'He was a douche,' Gross quotes a 15 CPW staffer. 'No one liked him…Not a nice guy, an unfriendly narcissist.'
One day he was with Cameron Diaz, according to the book, and ten minutes later he was with Kate Hudson. The staff thought Diaz was way too nice for A-Rod who used the residence as home plate with visitors including Madonna. 
'He got hookers all the time,' Gross quotes a building member. 'Usually two at a time, two times a week. One time he had two go up, they came down and left, and ten minutes later, Cameron Diaz walks in. He doesn’t care. I hate the guy. He thought he was God.'
'Fifteen,' observes Gross, 'is the most outrageously successful, insanely expensive, titanically tycoon-stuffed real estate development of the twenty-first century – with jaw-dropping excess.'
So what does a mogul get for his or her big bucks?
To serve its demanding tenants, the building has a staff of more than four dozen – seven concierges, six doormen, eight white-gloved lobby attendants, three package-room attendants, eight porters, a maintenance man, four security guards and 12 part-time engineers.
There’s a walnut wood-lined library, a fancy screening room, a private 66-seat restaurant offering room service, a health club and a seventy-foot pool – in a prime New York location overlooking Central Park.
With all the luxuries, 15 CPW has become a celebrity in its own right, a building with fascinating and iconic DNA.
The location itself, the southwest corner of Central Park, was a potential goldmine. In the years following the economic decline after the stock market debacle in 1987, the Mayflower Hotel, a 'comfortable' residential hotel, stood where 15 CPW now soars. 
The Mayflower had once been the home of Felix the Cat creator Patrick Sullivan and the eccentric Max Schaffer, who owned the bizarre Times Square emporium Hubert’s Museum on 42nd Street and its fabled flea circus. The hotel also was home to the Bolshoi Ballet in 1979.
But by 2000, the Mayflower, which opened in 1926, was long past its glory days. 
The only thing it had going for it was 'a front row seat on the park that’s as comfortable as a Barcalounger', according to the 2000 New York Times Guide to Hotels in New York City.
The area around the hotel had become run down, too. 
Indiscreet: Camille Grammer caught Kelsey cheating on her when she called from LA only to be told his 'wife' was already in the Manhattan building
Indiscreet: Camille Grammer caught Kelsey cheating on her when she called from LA only to be told his 'wife' was already in the Manhattan building
Secrets: Michael Gross' book goes behind the curtain of the super-exclusive address
There was an ugly fence around the statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle, a block south of the Mayflower, and homeless people and derelicts slept on blankets on nearby sidewalks and peddled old books, annoying passersby and tourists. 
Still, anything near Central Park was considered top real estate.
Enter the prescient and shrewd Zeckendorf brothers – Will and Arthur, developers of luxury buildings - who picked up the Mayflower for what was a New York song - $401 million, and would turn it into an unimaginable tower of power by 2008.
'The Zeckendorfs were targeting the rootless, new global elite, the newest new money, the kind of customers who will pay $10 million or more for a Central Park-view apartment,' Gross writes.
'Major wealth was created by those people,' stated Arthur Zeckendorf referring to the buyers, and it was money just sitting around waiting to be spent.
Apartments were sold at 15 CPW before they were completed and the prospectus promised that that the building would 'meet every reasonably exacting standard'. 
Initial asking price on the smallest unit was a modest $1.78 million. The bulk of the rest had asking prices between $5 million and $9,999,999.
The penthouse on the 42nd floor, with what is described as 'the incredible King of the World terrace' has a living room open on three sides and a master bedroom with Gay White Way views.
It also includes a maid’s room and a kitchenette off the master bedroom where the owner can have a late-night snack or get an espresso in the morning.
But it’s been the celebrity and masters of the universe inhabitants of the building that caught Gross’s imagination and that of the New York media, which often ran gossip column items about the comings and goings of the rich and famous.
Paparrazi wait outside hoping to shoot not only the superstar tenants but also the celeb friends of owners who often drop by - the likes of  Alec Baldwin, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Robert Downey Jr., Robert De Niro, Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen and Jake Gyllenhaal who have graced the halls.
As Gross reported, the staff sees all - and don’t always keep their lips sealed. 'We know your secrets,' one staffer promised.
Gross tracked down an engineer, identified by the presumed pseudonym of Pasco Cornejo, who formerly worked on the building’s staff. 
He recalled going into one apartment that had a water issue, and was shocked to encounter a wide variety of sex toys and the resident 'walking around with very sexy see-through. We’d see her diddling herself,' Cornejo revealed.
One high profile condo owner is Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs. He had a wall of security around him and was, according to Gross, inundated with no less than 100 pieces of hate mail a day following a 2009 expose of Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone. 
The 15 CPW Staff were not permitted to address him by name. 
Wall Street mogul Sandy Weill also has a security detail and had installed an elaborate security system in his $43.7m pad that raised his bill another $10 million.
Thank you, Sir: Staff at the building can expect to earn around $22,500 in tips at holiday times. The residents' manager takes home $600,000
Another resident installed moisture sensors that email the resident manager if there is a leak, temperature sensors on water pipes and an anemometer on the roof that measures wind speeds and retracts the canvas awning on the terrace.
It pays to work at 15 CPW, Gross noted, because staff tips could be astronomical.  Sandy Weill handed out $90,000 in tips the first year. The typical resident gave $100 to $500 to each employee. 
In 2011, Gross reported, the average employee’s holiday take was about $22,500. Concierges and anyone performing special favors can pocket up to $100,000. The resident manager’s income was estimated to be $600,000 – even before tips.
Condos had become preferable to co-ops and nosy co-op boards that insisted on seeing a buyer’s financials as well restricting renovations when 15 CPW went up. 
These new buyers had no way of showing credit history because there was no history. They were willing to pay whatever it took. 'They go to developers and say, "You’re asking fifty million dollars? Here’s sixty, but we close next week,'” real estate lawyer Edward Mermelstein told Gross.
The building was as glamorous as anything on ritzy Park or Fifth Avenues and changed the face of the West side of Manhattan.
And it gained a new status when early buyers started flipping or selling their apartments without even occupying them. 
A $13 million investment could yield $27 million. One penthouse was going for $90 million, the other being offered for $80 million in September 2005. 
One broker, Dolly Lenz, stated she knew of four 15 CPW listings asking as much as $150 million. Renting out one’s unit could net as much as $75,000 a month.


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