Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

  • 02 Apr 2014 at 9:00 AM

George Soros Could Do This All Day

In 2006, George Soros was a new-ishly divorced bachelor about town. As a 75 year-old billionaire with a libido that would not quit, Soros wasn’t looking for anything too serious. So when he met a young woman named Adrianna Ferreyr in the Hamptons, he intended to keep things light, and for the next five years, he did, engaging in what he and his lawyers would later describe as “on-again, off again and non-exclusive.” Oh sure, he promised to buy Ferreyr an apartment on East 85th street, but when your net worth has 10 zeros attached to it, giving a woman a 2-bedroom condo carries no more weight than tossing her a twenty for cab fare after informing her she can’t spend the night. Which probably explains why Soros, after “heartlessly dumping” and then “briefly reconciling for a romantic night,” didn’t think it was a big deal to lean over and whisper that he’d given the place away to another woman (who would later become his third wife). Soros was subsequently treated to a piece of Ferryr’s mind and after that, allegedly “slapped Ferreyr across the face and proceeded to put his hands around her neck in an attempt to choke her…then…attempted to strike her with a glass lamp, and though he narrowly missed, it smashed on the floor and she cut her foot, which required three stitches,” according to a lawsuit filed by Ferryr in August 2011, which sought $50 million in damages.

In the two and half years that have followed Soros has:

  • Strongly denied the accusations and refused to give Ferryr a dime
  • Offered to settle for a trifling $250,000
  • Prosed to the woman– Tamiko Bolton– he let have Ferryr’s apartment
  • Claimed that he was the one who was assaulted and that after hearing Bolton was getting her apartment, an “enraged” Ferreyr “picked up a nearby lamp that was made partly of glass and…attempted to strike Soros with it” (according to this version of the story, the lamp allegedly made contact with his arm before shattering on the floor)
  • Gone ahead and married Bolton
  • Watched Ferryr, during a deposition in February, yell “expletives” at one of his lawyers, tell another lawyer he was “going down” and “should go to prison and get beat up,” kick one of his aids in the shins, and, finally, hit him in the face with such intensity that she knocked off his hearing aid

At this point in the story, Soros is 83 years old. He has a new bride. His Quantum Endowment made $5.5 billion last year. Has he had enough? Does he want to spend however many years he’s got left in peace? Does he decide to just give Ferryr what she wants, a figure that is roughly the amount of cash he carries around in his wallet? Or does he choose to send a message– to any women from his past thinking of coming out of the wordwork to demand an apartment1 or, should things not work out with Tamiko, the women of his future who would do the same– that George Soros rolls over for no one? Read more »

As you have more than likely heard, Michael Lewis’s 14th book was released yesterday. In Flash Boys, Lewis explores the world of high-frequency trading, focusing on a Canadian named Brad Katsuyama who left the Royal Bank of Canada to create trading platform called IEX, which “slow[s] down customers’ orders to stymie high-frequency traders,” who Katsuyama (and Lewis) believe hurt non-HFT investors. Some people, like the co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading, have applauded Lewis’s latest effort (“We believe Lewis’s book can have a big impact on complex market-structure issues that have been simmering for years,” he told Bloomberg). Others think it’s a piece of garbage they wouldn’t use as liner in their parakeet’s birdcage. Read more »

Ching Hwa Chen and Tyrone Hawk know what we’re talking about. Read more »


It’s about lowlives who spread falsehoods about Michael Lewis, with a subplot about the guy’s mom. Read more »

Jenkins, 52, is trying to revive profitability at the securities unit, the biggest source of income for the London-based firm, while wrestling with demands for higher pay from its bankers. He has fallen behind on targets he set as CEO and faces calls to outline a clear plan as he prepares to meet shareholders at the annual meeting next month…His efforts to revive profit have been hampered as revenue from trading bonds, currencies and commodities dwindles across the industry and regulators press Britain’s second-largest bank to increase capital or shrink assets to meet limits on leverage. Barclays’s full-year adjusted profit excluding one-time items as well as gains or losses on the value of the lender’s debt fell 32 percent to 5.2 billion pounds. The firm raised about 5.8 billion pounds in a rights offering in October. “There’s a feeling he has lost control of the business,” Christopher Wheeler, an analyst at Mediobanca SpA (MB) in London who last week cut Barclays to neutral from outperform, wrote in a March 24 note to clients. “The threat of an uncomfortable annual general meeting is becoming very real.” [Bloomberg]

  • 31 Mar 2014 at 2:58 PM

Bonus Watch ’14: Mike Cavanagh

Mike Cavanaugh gave up a lot when he quit his job as the co-head of JP Morgan’s corporate and investment bank to become president and co-COO of the Carlyle Group. He gave up the chance to see the words “heir apparent” mentioned in every article written about him for the next five years, or until Jamie Dimon decides to retire. He gave up the bi-monthly treat of having Dimon take him down to the entrance of 270 Park and tell him that one day, everything the light touches will be his. He also gave up millions a year if you’re only looking at base pay, though it’s unclear why you would do that. Read more »

The good news: Bill Gross is taking baby steps toward being comfortable with employees looking him in the eye and one day might even be able to sustain an entire conversation in which no one averts their gaze. The less good news: performance year to date. Read more »

As those of you who keep close tabs on the trials and travails of La Familia Falcone know, one of the biggest mistakes Phil made in the last several years was the time he borrowed $113 million from a gated investor fund to cover personal taxes, for which he had failed to set aside enough cash. Falcone learned the hard way that clients don’t take kindly to these sorts of things– even if you pay them back, with interest– and that the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t either. Point taken, all that jazz. In retrospect, it might even make sense to Phil re: why people got upset. Having said that, there is no way he, or anyone for that matter, could have predicted anyone would get their panties in a twist over this: Read more »