LA billionaire, Ron Burkle, depicted as a 20-year-old chasing night club troll in the Vanity Fair article that attempted to demystify why Bill Clinton is off his game these days, gave an interview to our own Patrick Range McDonald of the LA Weekly.
Several days before the Vanity Fair story hit the Internet, Burkle called me from New York City. I had already met with his spokesman, Frank Quintero, at the Yucaipa offices on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, where we discussed things “off the record” for an hour and a half. Days later, the phone rang and Burkle kindly introduced himself and said he heard the Weekly was writing an “unflattering article” about him. We then chatted amiably for an hour, just before Burkle flew in his private plane to Pittsburgh to watch the Penguins win a Stanley Cup game.
When the conversation was over, I contacted Republican political strategist Arnold Steinberg, to ask if Burkle’s ready availability was odd in some way. In an e-mail, Steinberg responded: “Ron Burkle is a hands-on guy. That said, it’s unusual that he would call a journalist directly and speak at length. … He must feel he is a good communicator. In fairness, one cannot dismiss the possibility he feels he’s in the clear and has a story to tell. In the past, he had political counsel who would handle this situation. Either his political advisers are gone, or [they] advised him to confront the story head on. More likely, he decided the benefits of confrontation outweighed the risks of dealing with unpredictable questions.”