Our Mayor's Wealth Climax: Bloomberg Is Now 13th on Forbes's Billionaires List

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Last month's news that Mayor Bloomberg, after donating millions to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins, has become the largest living donor to higher education in America's history should have been a clear enough sign.

Yesterday, Forbes released its annual archive of people who will forever have more money than you. Yes, the 2013 Billionaires list has hit the press and the numbers are higher than ever -- especially for our mayor.

Falling just behind H&M Chairman Stefan Perrson and just after Walmart's Jim Walton, Michael R. Bloomberg clocks in at 13th on the list with an estimated net worth of $27 billion. That moves him up seven spots from last year, when he reported only $20 billion as his take-home income.

Of course, we cannot forget that just six years ago, Hizzoner was 142nd on this list. Between 2007 and 2009, he moved up over 100 spots, finishing in a year with the world's largest increase in wealth by any individual. And between 2007 and 2009, the global(ized) economy also almost melted to the ground.

My, what a great couple of years it has been.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]

Wall Street Bonuses Are Up 8%! Happy Hump Day!

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No better time than a Wednesday to hear a headline we're unfortunately (yet willingly) accustomed to.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced yesterday that the collective pool of Wall Street bonus rewards is now up to $20 billion, showing a 8 percent rise in extra paychecks to the denizens of Downtown. And, to affirm this feeling of modern anxiety to lower-class lonely hearts, statistics point to a 10 percent drop (translation: 20,000 jobs) in the overall Wall Street job market due to companies' recent inclination to downsize.

In other words, there's much more money going around... just for less people.

Keep in mind that the average salary for a Wall Street worker is $362,900 - an amount that is somehow larger than what it was before 2008's financial implosion and, of course, five times larger than what most Joe Schmoes make. These numbers are from 2011, too; if the bonuses are any indication, the still-unavailable numbers from 2012 probably say what we're all helplessly thinking: maybe business school was the way to go.

Stay strong out there on this drenched Hump Day.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]

Mitt Loves N.Y.: Marc Rowan

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Forbes.com
With Mitt Romney as its de facto go-to candidate, the roster of Restore Our Future, Romney's designated Super PAC slush fund, reads like a laundry list of New York City's wealthiest denizens. And, according to the Center for Responsive Politics and contrary to popular belief, Super PAC's are receiving a huge majority of their donations from these single individuals rather then enormous corporations.

So, here at the Voice, we're going to tell you a little bit about our neighbors, one donor at a time:

With an M.B.A. and B.A. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in hand, Marc Rowan spoke to the alma mater - one that has pumped out an alumni class that  - with guidance and charm. 

The interview came in November 2009, just a year or so after Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns begged Wall Street for forgiveness while leaving Main Street in shambles. And Rowan's advice rides off of that bankrupt dynamic, echoing Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: "Mostly, as I've said, we see the best returns following chaos."

We never said it was good advice... unless you're going into the private equity business. With a $70,000 donation to Restore Our Future this past month, totaling $135,000 over the past few months, Gowan is banking on his buyout brother in arms storming the White House.
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Mitt Loves N.Y.: John Catsimatidis

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With Mitt Romney as its de facto go-to candidate, the roster of Restore Our Future, Romney's designated Super PAC slush fund, reads like a laundry list of New York City's wealthiest denizens. And, according to the Center for Responsive Politics and contrary to popular belief, Super PAC's are receiving a huge majority of their donations from these single individuals rather then enormous corporations.

So, here at the Voice, we're going to tell you a little bit about our neighbors, one donor at a time:

At the end of April, the rogue millionaire John Paulson had a little gala for Mitt. The guy that raked in on the housing market's collapse invited the mega-wealth of New York over to his townhouse on East 86th Street to shower Romney with donations. 

As sirens blasted outside and security efforts stifled the media, a group of "older white people, mostly men" huddled around the Presidential candidate to talk business.

One of these men was John Catsimatidis. On his own website, Catsimatidis describes himself as the "personification of the American dream." Dropping out of NYU to throw hope into the supermarket business, Catsimatidis opened his first Red Apple supermarket in the Upper West Side in 1969. In two years time and only 24 years old, he had opened ten across Upper Manhattan and was making $25 million. The rest is investment, real estate and property re-selling history. (According to Forbes, he's now worth around $2 billion).

And, that night, he told The Daily Beast that he and his fellow profit-seekers were "fighting for the soul of America." The Voice spoke with Mr. Catsimatidis and asked him what this soul-searching election was really all about.

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Mitt Loves N.Y.: John A. Griffin

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nytimes.com
Since the Citizens United decision, realpolitik has accepted the harsh reality in which a corporation has the same pedestal in our democratic elections as an ordinary Joe Schmoe. And, as a financial hub in America and abroad, New York has transformed into a politically charged Gotham; its corporate barons and hedge schemers run rampant under the new rules and regulations (or lack thereof).

With Mitt Romney as their de facto go-to candidate, the roster of Restore Our Future, Romney's designated Super PAC slush fund, reads like a laundry list of New York City's wealthiest denizens. And, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Super PAC's are receiving a huge majority of their donations from these individuals rather then enormous corporations; the unintentional consequence of the Supreme Court's opinion on the matter.

So, here at the Voice, we're going to tell you a little bit about our neighbors, one donor at a time.

First up, John A. Griffin. The man is a "Tiger cub" - a term used to describe pupils of Julian Robertson Jr., the head of one of the first hedge funds to explode in the late 1990s, Tiger Management, and one of the largest donors to Restore Our Future ($1.25 million to Romney, as of today). 

At Tiger, Griffin rose to the top and became second-in-command to Robertson; in 1996, he left and created the Tiger outgrowth known as Blue Ridge Capital LLC, a swanky hedge fund up at 660 Madison Avenue that buys short- and long-term investments. His portfolio value there is currently valued somewhere around $6 billion... and that's just his hedge fund's assets.

More importantly, both him and Robertson love Mitt.

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NYC Jury Hands Woman Malpractice MegaMillions

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The verdict is out and it could make one woman wealthy beyond belief

A New York City jury is forcing three separate hospitals - Jacobi Medical Center (Bronx), Kings County Medical Center (Brooklyn) and the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center (Jersey) - to pay a grand total of $120 million to a 45-year-old woman named Jacqueline Martin. According to the New York Times, the verdict's payment is one of the largest malpractice amounts ever sued for and issued in the state's history. 

So what happened?

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It's Hard As Hell To Party Like Its the 1940s (Census)

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Let there be records! Yesterday, the National Archives flicked on the switch for the 1940 census, marking the end of 72 years of confidentiality that held the records back from the public. In less than four hours, the site was paralyzed after being hit with 22 million visitors as people across the country clamored to fact-check their family's oral histories heard from grandparents everywhere.

With a database like this, New York in the 1940s is open to the public's eye. Think about it: you could find Truman Capote, James Baldwin and Allen Ginsberg (to name a few members of the city's cream of the crop at the time) if you put enough effort into it. But, here at the Voice, we found that the search  can prove to be tedious, long and unsuccessful if you only have snippets of information to toss into the browse window.


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55 of the Rudest Things Rude New Yorkers Do

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Travel + Leisure Magazine has once again declared New Yorkers the rudest of all the rude peoples of America. Congrats New Yorkers. You know what they say...any publicity is good publicity, and if you can be rude here, you can be rude anywhere! According to our pals at T+L, which based the rankings on input from their esteemed readers, "The Big Apple reclaims its heavyweight title in hostility, a dubious honor it last held in 2009 -- and a reputation it has had for much longer ("You talkin' to me?"). Besides its fast pace, New York City is also No. 1 for diversity. As a result, you might encounter unfamiliar mannerisms that aren't meant to be mean but come across that way. Deep down, voters probably love New York for its flamboyant, bird-flipping spirit. After all, it's also the No. 1 city for great theater." But what does that MEAN? And what rude things do we do? We've compiled a list of 55, but, please, feel free to add your own. To assume there are limits to our rudeness would be rude.

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Paraskevidekatriaphobia Sufferers Are Having a Bad Year

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Paper cuts are THE WORST.
Today is a day that strikes fear in the hearts of some and general amusement or even glad tidings in the hearts of stauncher types. It is Friday the 13th. If you are one of the terrified, you suffer from "paraskevidekatriaphobia," a potentially crippling disorder that means you are among plenty of people who cannot possibly pronounce that word and are also afraid of Friday the 13th. Which is, as we mentioned, today.

For the record, fear of Friday the 13th is also called "friggatriskaidekaphobia," which is equally hard to say and terrifying.

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Cabbies Told to Stop Honking So $%#& Much


Yesterday the Taxi and Limousine Commission issued forth a controversial missive to the city's 13,000 cabbies. "Drivers -- remember that honking is against the law except when warning of imminent danger!" it said, continuing, "be a good neighbor and save yourself a $350 summons -- honk ONLY in an emergency!" Emergencies include honking to avoid a crash and "to warn someone of a dangerous situation," a statement that could be applied quite liberally to cab transit in the city. Honking is NOT to make traffic move faster or because you are angry, the TLC instructs.


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