No one until recently has been a better or more high-profile friend of Bill Clinton than L.A. billionaire Ron Burkle, Kim Masters writes at the Daily Beast. But now, "the symbiotic relationship has ended with great acrimony," with sources close to Clinton telling her that Burkle allegedly stiffed the ex-president out of more than $20 million.
The $20 million in question, a supposed “final payment” in connection with profits from their almost decade-long partnership, was discussed last year by The Wall Street Journal, which reported that Clinton was “walking away” from the money.
One Clinton confidant says a negotiation between the former president and the supermarket magnate went on "for months and months. They compromised and they agreed on different numbers and at the end of the day Clinton decided life's too short. We'll give it up and we'll just sever the relationship.”
Burkle spokesman Frank Quintero responds: “I’m not going to comment on things that aren’t true.” The Burkle camp denied the Clinton sources' version of events, and said that documents would be made available to support their point. Ultimately those documents were not produced prior to publication.
Business Week also hinted at the breakup in a recent interview with Burkle.