Saturday, May 25, 2013

Great Gossip from Sheila Weller on Orrin Hatch, John Boehner and David Koch

I have never before come across the writings of Sheila Weller, but she appears today in a WaPo feature called She The People. In her article, she dishes gossip about celebrities, the powerful and David Koch.

Here is some of the gossip that she writes:
Ali MacGraw told me that Richard Nixon was one of the most vulnerable people she’d ever met. 
Orrin Hatch earnestly asked Carly Simon her opinion of the rock songs he wrote.
[T]hree-weeks-ago [...] John Boehner beamed proudly as he walked his daughter down the aisle to marry a Rastafarian.
I wasn't aware of any of this. But then she wrote about David Koch, a money hand dealer in ideas. This part I already knew:
Jane Mayer wrote an excellent piece in this week’s New Yorker about how a documentary by distinguished filmmaker Alex Gibney called ”Park Avenue: Money, Power, and The American Dream,” based in large part on Michael Gross’s book “740 Park,” essentially caused Koch, a recent mega-patron and board member of New York City’s PBS affiliate WNET, to resign from WNET’s board and to cease his donations.

[T]he most egregious lines Mayer wrote were these: “At one point [in the documentary], a former doorman — his face shrouded in shadow to preserve his anonymity — says that … the cheapest person [in the building full of super-rich cheapskates] was David Koch. `We would load up his trucks — two vans, usually — every weekend, for the Hamptons . . . multiple guys, in and out, in and out, heavy bags. We would never get a tip from Mr. Koch. We would never get a smile from Mr. Koch. Fifty-dollar check for Christmas.”

Let me repeat that: FIFTY DOLLARS’ TIP FOR CHRISTMAS, to this hard-working guy who toted barge and lifted bale for this multibillionaire every weekend. I gave $30 more than that to the cashiers who simply rang up my take-out sushi three times a week at my favorite seafood market.
But what is fascinating about the column is her comparison of how Koch tipped versus another chairman of the board, Frank Sinatra:
The fellow-writer friends I’ve polled who live in New York in significantly more modest circumstances tip their doormen or supers, at Christmas time, considerably in excess of the distressingly small lump of coal Koch dropped in his doorman’s stocking. $900 to  $1,000  in apartment and service-people holiday tips (and more to them for special work provided during the year) is the name of our game [...] 
Decades ago, Frank Sinatra used to give $50 (that’s about $300 in today’s money) to his doormen, every time one of them held open his Manhattan apartment building’s  front door.  No wonder “All The Way” sounded so soulful.
There's no law, thank heavens, that you have to tip a certain amount, but there is a thing called class. And for lessons on that we should turn to Frank Sinatra, not David Koch. Koch can tip as little as he wants, but when you have the $$$$s, you really want to have the "little people" covering your back. It's dumb to run the scene any other way and when you have the $$$$s you should be running the scene.

If Koch had spread some pocket change hundreds around, he might have got tipped off to the documentary early and might have been able to stop it while still in production. Instead, the little people slammed him, instead of helping him. Dumb move on David's part.

1 comment:

  1. Did you ever read that article about Sinatra, that was recently linked to Sinatra had some issues. Personally, I think he had one of the (if not THE) greatest voices ever, but if David Koch was as loaded (on illegal substances) as Sinatra, he wouldn't have the power he does today.