What do we know about Lynn Tilton? She runs the $8 billion private equity firm Patriarch Partners, and prior to that worked on Wall Street with a slightly lower profile with gigs at Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Amroc. She sports 5-inch heels to “look sufficiently fierce to make sure I garner the respect I deserve.” Her office is decorated with whips, handcuffs, and a portrait of her “stretched across the hood of a black Mercedes.” She only “strips and flips men, not companies.” And she once sent a Christmas card to customers that featured a stuffed tiger, a naughty Santa suit and a whip. But that’s all surface. Until now, we haven’t really gotten to the mystery underneath the Roberto Cavalli miniskirt and a fur-trimmed cape, or determined her motivations and what makes Tilton tick. Luckily, Lynn recently granted audience with New York and let it all out. Every burning question you’ve wanted answered. Like:
Why did she decide to start Patriach, when she’d retired from Wall Street, had “a good-looking man, great sex, a small island, and was still looking good in a thong bikini”? A vision.
One night, on vacation in Costa Rica, she woke suddenly. “I was laying there in this hotel room, and I saw my father and my Mayan teacher very vividly,” she explains. “They said this was not what was planned for me. I said, ‘Why did I go through this path, to empty myself out of any needs or material longings, only to be sent back to New York to be a businessperson?’ And the answer was: You’re not capable of leading until nothing can hold you back. Get your ass back to New York. So I got up in the middle of the night and left.”
Does she see herself as the female George Soros? Yes.
Tilton’s goal is “to be part of the intelligentsia. An enlightened thinker. One of the people who are called together to think through economic issues for America. You know, like how George Soros is called on issues.”
Why is she pissed at Obama, for whom she voted? He hasn’t called her and she highly suspects he’s plagiarised her work.
“Look, I am the largest female business owner in this country,” she says, coming out from behind the rack in a Herve Leger gown. “I own 74 midsize businesses, and Obama has not once called me into the White House on these issues.” More offensive, Tilton claims, as a female stylist reaches into the bodice of the dress to plump up her cleavage, the president has borrowed language from her articles. “I mean actually lifting pieces,” she says. “Literally, I can give you paragraphs. I got like twenty e-mails after his speech, when he was like, ‘We need to be innovators and the makers of things.’ ”
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