Thursday, February 7, 2008

Does This Profile Make Me Look Fat?

FBI Case File 0932074G – Exhibit 36:

The following is an annotated1 transcript of a telephone conversation recorded on Thursday, February 7, 2008 between one Stephen A. Schwarzman and an individual identifying himself as "The Epicurean Dealmaker." All dialogue transcribed verbatim.


Hey, TED, it's Steve.

Stevie! Howya doin' babe? Hey, you know, I asked you never to call me here.

Sorry, I know, but I have to talk to you about something right away.

Alright. Shoot.

Thanks. Hey, listen, before I get started, I just want to thank you for not writing any more nasty articles about me in your blog. You were really getting under my skin for a while there, you know.

I know. You're welcome. Thank you for sending Francesca over as a "peace offering."

No problem. She's some firecracker, isn't she?

Yeah. Now, what did you want to ask me?

Oh, yeah. Did you see the profile on me in this week's New Yorker?

Uh, yeah.

Well? Whadja think?

Not good, Steve, not good.

Really? I kinda liked it.

No, Steve. It makes you look like a fathead.

Oh. ... Anything else?

Yes: monomaniacal, driven, aggressive, tightfisted, greedy, controlling, hyper-competitive, miserly (to others), obnoxious, obsequious to superiors, self-aggrandizing, pigheaded, tyrannical, abusive, sensitive to criticism, and desperately needy for recognition.

Is that all?

Well, to be fair, you also came across as focused, smart, successful, and immensely wealthy.


You and your publicist could have done a better job getting your friends to testify to your positive character traits, though.

Really? What do you mean?

Well, it's gonna be difficult for the average reader to believe you're a good guy when the only "friends" who gave you positive testimonials for attribution are people who want money from you, like the President of Yale, an M&A lawyer, and legendary brownnoser Jimmy Lee.

Hmm. I see your point. Do you think it's too late to pay some more folks to say nice things and have The New Yorker print a correction?

Unfortunately, yes.

Okay. Next time, maybe. What else did you think?

Well, I've gotta be honest with you here, Steve. A lot of my friends and colleagues on Wall Street and in private equity are pretty pissed off. I mean, it's one thing when Andrew Ross Sorkin takes a swipe at you, or even when I yank your chain in my blog, but it's entirely another when Jimmy Stewart crucifies you in The New Yorker. I mean, shit, man, that's the fuckin' magazine of record for the intelligentsia in this country. You can bet all your old foes are refreshed and rearmed, and gunning for you.

But I thought Stewart was pretty fair. Did I miss something?

Well, no, he didn't really crucify you himself, he just laid out the cross and the nails and offered you a hammer. It appears you did the rest yourself.


And—here's the point, Steve—you have now proved beyond a shadow of a doubt to everyone who suspected it that Wall Street, private equity, and hedge funds are crawling with arrogant, self-absorbed, and greedy bastards who will stop at nothing to bank more coin than the entire of Sub-Saharan Africa could spend on food and shelter for the next millenium just in order to enjoy $400 crab claws and more top end real estate than the Sultan of Brunei.


The rest of us were kinda trying to keep that a little quiet.


Yeah, well. And by the way, what's with the "I don't feel wealthy" gag? Who did you think you were fooling with that one?

Well ... I kinda thought it made me sound like a regular guy and all. You know: humble.

Humble?! $125 million in real estate humble, or $4.4 billion in Blackstone stock humble? Oh, by the way: sorry about the stock price. That's a bummer.

Yeah, tell me about it. Fuckin' Michael Klein. I shoulda listened to you about him. Fucker.

Never mind. You weren't the first, and you won't be the last to get taken in by that poisonous little cherub.


No offense, by the way. ... I mean, about the "little," and all ...

Don't worry about it.

Hey, listen. Francesca's coming out of the shower now, so I gotta go.

Yeah, yeah. Go ahead.

But really, don't feel too bad about it. Henry Kravis and Ken Griffin are big boys, and they and their buddies can take care of themselves. Hell, you should all just chip in for travel expenses and send David Rubenstein to Washington for a few months. He'll talk 'em to death. He'll give 'em a "course in remedial English." Hah-hah.


And besides, no-one ever liked investment bankers anyway, not even you. So you really haven't done us too much damage. Who knows? Once they read that we're all working like slaves for assholes like you, maybe we'll even get a little sympathy.

Yeah, fuck you, asshole.

But seriously, now. You've got some fence-mending to do with your fellow members of The Tribe who work on Wall Street. I've heard from a lot of them who think you just blew a hole in their image a mile wide. I just got an e-mail from one of them about you today. You wanna hear what he says?

I guess.

He says: "If that asshole Schwarzman is still looking for places to give away some of his money, tell him he should start with the UJA and the ADL. That meshugenah fucker just set back our cause by twenty years."


Tell me about it.

Okay. Well, thanks for the feedback, I guess.

No problem. Say, maybe you should fire Tony James again today. That always cheers you up.

Yeah, I'll think about it. See ya.

See ya. Hey, and Steve, you realize this means I'm gonna have to start blogging about you again. I've got my street cred to protect.

I understand. I sort of expected that. Say "hi" to Francesca for me.

I will.

Oh, and ask her for me, when you get a chance, if she ever got that nasty infection cured.



1 Update: At the request of the Supervising District Officer, links have been added to the transcript to provide background references to case officers unfamiliar with the highly insular and claustrophobic world view of the two subjects. Full translation would require a lifetime subscription to financial industry "fan mags" like The Deal and The Wall Street Journal, which is strenuously discouraged.

© 2008 The Epicurean Dealmaker. All rights reserved.