Dealmaker Lynn Tilton bares all

tilton110418_560.jpgShe claims to be a billionaire, wears miniskirts practically up to her crotch, and can be so emasculating that it took one employee months after leaving the firm to have sex again. She's Lynn Tilton, who runs the $8 billion private equity firm Patriarch Partners and has been a bit of a joke within the financial world. Now, her unorthodox style makes it into NY magazine - and it's not exactly a flattering portrait. Some snippets:

It's not as if Tilton isn't aware that her style can overshadow her substance. "I think the fact that I look like this hinders me in some ways," Tilton says between outfit changes. "But that's also what makes me so much more fascinating, right?" She begins wriggling out of the dress. "I'm all about transparency," she explains, as the dress falls to the floor. She's not wearing any underwear. "Where do you get someone who's worth looking at and listening to?" Stark naked except for her Gucci heels, seamless Brazilian Bronze tan, and diamond necklace, she flicks through the rack of clothes. "I mean, hello. I'm just trying to be someone who provides it all."


Discipline at Patriarch appears to fall into two categories. If the problem is merely that someone doesn't have the skills to do their job properly, "I stop talking to them," Tilton says. That's their cue to quit. If she believes that someone has the skills and is just being lazy, weak, or uncommitted, the discipline can be more severe. A wrongful-termination complaint filed by Andrzej Wrobel, Rand McNally's former CEO, accuses Tilton of "repeatedly, in business meetings ... throwing things at people, hitting and striking them, and calling them a flood of insulting names." Once, in front of a roomful of people at another company, she grabbed an overweight executive by his collar and dragged him over to a mirror. "What do you see?" she demanded. "Because I see a lazy, fat fuck."


[One] employee also says that Tilton perceives all of her male employees as being in love with her. Which is perhaps the reason that, holding court in a conference room during her 50th-­birthday party, Tilton offered her male employees a choice: They could take a Jell-O shot off her stomach or lick whipped cream off her breasts. "The crazy part was, she saw it as morale building," says one person present. "People were hiding in the bathroom."

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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