It's not an L.A. story, but I couldn't resist. The 60th birthday party of Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman of Blackstone Group, was held at the Seventh Regiment Armory on NY's Park Avenue and as the NYT aptly reported, it was a coronation. Schwarzman is not just a billionaire several times over, he's the head of the most prominent private equity firm in the world - the same firm that just completed a $39 billion purchase of Equity Office Properties, the largest leveraged buyout ever. Goodness knows how much the birthday bash cost, but just imagine where those many millions of dollars could be better spent. As it was, the guest list included Donald and Melania Trump, CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo (with her husband, Jonathan Steinberg, son of financier Saul Steinberg), Barbara Walters, Vernon Jordan, Tina Brown and Sir Howard Stringer, among lots of others. Rod Stewart was the main entertainment and Patti LaBelle sang “Happy Birthday” to Schwarzman.
The most interesting part of the DealBook post are the comments. Here's what Gil has to say: "Truly embarrassing that society celebrates this type of financial waste when so many are hungry, in need of medical attention or in need of shelter. But then again if Mr. Schwarzman spent the day handing out food baskets in Africa it wouldn’t make front page news. Makes you wonder if it is society or the media…" Then there's "Not so bad," who posts, "This guy works hard, has a little luck, and wants to invite a lot of people to a big party? Go for it!"