Leon Black's bounteous birthday bash

Were you there? Elton John was. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was there, too, along with Sen. Chuck Shumer, junk bond jailbird Michael Milken, top Goldman Sacher Lloyd Blankfein, Martha Stewart, Howard Stern, and a mess of other media, political, and finance sparklies.

Were you there? Elton John was. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was there, too, along with Sen. Chuck Shumer, junk bond jailbird Michael Milken, top Goldman Sacher Lloyd Blankfein, Martha Stewart, Howard Stern, and a mess of other media, political, and finance sparklies.

“There” was the swanky Southampton estate of Leon Black, who threw a fab 60th birthday bash for himself and about 200 of his best friends. I didn’t make Leon’s guest list, and you probably didn’t either, but I’m sure that you’re as grateful as I am that in this time of severe economic hardship for America’s workaday families, Wall Street swells like Black can still rub our noses in their wealth by squandering more money on a birthday party than most workers will be paid in their lifetimes.

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Black, a billionaire private equity huckster who heads a global investment outfit, wallows in opulence. His mansion on the exclusive Meadow Lane has sweeping ocean views, and such fellow billionaire dandies as David Koch and Calvin Klein are his neighbors. So it was just a trifle for him to lay out at least a million bucks to get Sir Elton John to perform at his splendiferous tribute to himself. To add to the glee of the soiree, Black brought in decorators to transform the pool area of his expansive grounds into a dazzling nightclub atmosphere. Top-shelf drinks flowed, and, of course, the food was divine, including seared foie gras for everyone.

It might enhance your appreciation of Black’s birthday blowout to know that a ton of his wealth came from a throw of the dice he made in 2009, betting on “distressed debt” from the financial crash. In other words, he made a bundle on other people’s misery.

Did I mention that profiteers like Leon pay a lower tax rate than you do? So, see, while you couldn’t go to his party, you do help subsidize it.

“Birthdays Still Big In Buyout Land,” The New York Times, August 19, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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