Interesting Elevator Conversations, I’m Sure


By Neal Comment

One of the problems with writing nonfiction about people and places on the contemporary scene yet is that the story always changes. Why, just last month, as Michael Gross was making the rounds to promote 740 Park, his exposé of the histories of that co-op’s elite residents, one of his prime subjects died. But the passing of TV Guide heiress Enid Haupt isn’t the only new development in the building…shortly after her death, Fortune reported that downstairs neighbor Israel Englander was negotiating with the SEC and Eliot Spitzer over alleged trading misconduct at his Millennium Partners hedge fund, and late yesterday afternoon, Reuters intimated that the settlment is almost ready, and will probably cost Millennium somewhere between $100 and $200 million. (If we were a mutual funds gossip blog, we’d note here that Spitzer also landed a $100 million settlement with Federated Investors yesterday, then speculate about what this means for his gubernatorial campaign. As it is, I’ll just say, way to beef up that inevitable book proposal, Eliot!)

Meanwhile, Liz Smith told her readers billionaire Ron Lauder and his wife are getting divorced, while United Technologies CEO George David won’t have to worry about whether he or his wife will get their penthouse apartment, because he withdrew his divorce petition. So it looks like there’s more than enough material for Gross to start working on a sequel, should he so desire, once he’s got his next book for Broadway—a look at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ultrarich benefactors—wrapped up.