The Abrupt Cancellation Of Phil Falcone's 2012 Birthday Party: An Inside Job?

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Two years ago, like a modern day Noah, Nicholas Jacinto arrived at the townhouse of billionaire Phillip Falcone with a menagerie of exotic animals. He carted a sloth, a king snake, a lemur, a marmocet, a hedgehog and a Brazilian aardvark into the hedge fund king’s $50 million Upper East Side home to set up for a birthday party. Jacinto had been hired to provide the entertainment, displaying the rare critters to gawking guests. But before the show could start, city Health Department inspectors swooped in. They ticketed Jacinto, a state and federally licensed wildlife expert, for not having a city permit for the animals, and sent him packing back to his Long Island farm with his tail between his legs. “It was a huge embarrassment what the department did to me,” he recalled.--DNAinfo New York, January 21, 2014

Wilbur adjusted the towel around her head. She took a long drag off her Lucky Strike and stared out onto East 67th Street. Phil hated when she smoked in the house, so she'd cracked the bathroom window and had the fan going. But honestly, she didn't much care what Phil thought right now.

Had she wanted to perform at the children's birthday? No. Of course not. She wasn't their monkey and she didn't do children's birthdays. But the fact that he'd made the call immediately after their fight felt especially cruel. Things weren't great with them but she never thought he'd go out of his way to hurt her.

She flicked the rest of her cigarette out the window and stared at her pores in the mirror. Phil used to tease her for spending hours scrutinizing her skin. Lately, though, he hadn't said anything. Maybe he was no longer paying attention. Maybe he'd noticed the fine lines where things were once smooth, and hoped she would, too. She knew it was ridiculous, but she couldn't help but feeling like he was trading her in for a new model.

There was a knock at the door. "Wilbur, can I come in?" Phil asked from the other side.

After all of their fights, the big ones and the small ones, no matter what had been said, no matter how many objects were thrown (Wilbur) or how many tears were shed (Phil), they'd always found their way back to each other eventually. Wilbur was still hurting, but she was ready to hear what Phil had to say, ready to move on. In a couple hours the guests would be arriving, and a little while after that they'd sing Happy Birthday and eat cake, and Wilbur would do her standard, "Are you one, are you two, are you three..." In spite of herself, she was actually looking a little bit forward to the animal display.

She opened the door, ready to reconcile. But Phil didn't come in. He stood at the threshold, without a hint on contrition on his face or in his bearing. There was no sign that he'd been crying at all.

He looked Wilbur directly in her eyes, coldly, efficiently. "Wilbur, we've got a lot of people coming soon, so get your stuff out of the living room?"

Wilbur felt like she'd been punched in the stomach. Expecting a rapprochement, her pugilistic impulse failed her. She just stared at him as he turned around and headed back down the hall, back towards the party she wasn't welcome at.

Now, it was her turn to cry. As her ducts opened, she flew past Phil, attempting to hide her face, a face that had never so much as felt the weight of one salty tear. Grabbing her things, she raced towards the stairs, to exile in her bedroom suite. But as she rounded the corner into the parlor, she paused: There were chafing dishes on the piano. On her piano. The piano where she'd entertained the family for years, sharing the bench with Phil for the occasional duet. The piano where she'd assumed she'd be banging out "Happy Birthday" in just a few hours.

The dam broke and tears streamed down her face, into the wrinkles that she had though just moments ago were her biggest problem. The doorbell chimed, and Wilbur could see the men removing cages from the back of a truck, cages full of her replacements. Her knees buckled and she stumbled briefly. But she wasn't about to give them or anyone else the satisfaction. It took an incredible effort, a feat of will and strength and endurance, but Wilbur Falcone steadied herself and, without so much as even wiping her face, calmly trudged up the stairs, before the first marmocet could scurry across the marble floor.

The ordeal had stilled her--steeled her, really. She wasn't sad, or self-pitying, anymore. She felt the blood rush into her cheeks: Wilbur was herself again. And she was in high, spiteful fury. This house was her stage, not some fucking rented lemur's. She hadn't spent all those nights with Lisa and Phil at Bottom's Up so someone else could call the shots.

That's when it hit her: If Phil could play so fast and loose with all of the other rules, what about this one? She remembered with a shudder that humiliating trip, all those years ago, to the city health department, when Phil first came into her life. She had earned her right to be there; had these intruders done the same?

She reached over for her iPhone--in the rhinestone-encrusted case she had had to buy for herself, despite dropping all of those hints in the weeks and months before Christmas. It didn't take her long to find the number.

"Hello. There's something strange happening on East 67th Street..."

City's Concrete Jungle Home to Illegal Zebras, Iguanas and Monkeys [DNAinfo New York]

Related

Phil Falcone Is Turning His Life Around

To put it lightly, the last couple years have been a rather dark time for Phil Falcone. Though his woes are too numerous to mention in full, they include: the adversity he's faced in getting people to believe in LightSquared; his unbelievably pissy investors, who still aren't over the time he borrowed $113 million from a gated fund to pay personal taxes, or offered to pay out redemptions in illiquid LightSquared equity; the Securities and Exchange Commission, which wants him banned from the industry for life; the woman who once offered a respite from it all, who now won't even come out of her room when she knows he's home; and, of course, the plunging returns in his once highly profitable hedge fund. It would be enough to make a grown man say 'Fuck, it. I'm done.' Put a few things in a sack, tie it to the blade of a hockey stick, and hitchhike back to Minnesota. But Phil didn't do that and now? After a merciless storm of shit that felt like it would never ease up? After long days of investors and regulators breathing down his neck and nights of having to pound on the front door because he was accidentally purposely locked out of the house? The tide feels like it's turning for Philip Falcone. Beleaguered hedge fund honcho Phil Falcone’s big bet on his own publicly traded entity, Harbinger Group, is helping to lift his troubled hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Management, out of the deep end. Falcone’s flagship fund posted returns of 10.6 percent in July and a whopping 28 percent gain in June. Of course, he's still down 5.8 percent year-to-date, and the the director of the SEC's division of enforcement wants hedge fund graduate schools to use Harbinger as a case study during the unit on "how to operate a hedge fund unlawfully," but tonight? Tonight he tells Lisa to treat herself to something nice. Tonight he tells Wilbur to pull the baby grand out of the closet, where it's sat untouched for months. Tonight his key works in the lock. Tonight we dance. Phil Helps Himself [NYP]

The Yet-To-Be Finished Memoir Of Wilbur P. Falcone

Wilbur glanced down at her watch. 12:13. Usually, she hated when people were late and, under normal circumstances, this would have gone beyond the point of what she'd tolerate. Hell, make her wait more than 5 or 6 minutes and you were ensuring you'd be receiving a series of irate texts inquiring sharply as to "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU??????!!???" and threatening "If you're not here in 30 seconds I'm leaving." But today she was practically willing Tom to continue making her wait under the bodega awning. Just another minute. Just one more minute.

Who Wants To Invest In Phil Falcone's New Company?

Harbinger Global Corp is coming to an exchange near you. Phil Falcone, the embattled billionaire hedge fund manager, has put together an unorthodox IPO that will see his hedge fund firm contribute assets valued at $350 million to a blank check company that will trade publicly. In the deal, a special purpose acquisition company that is expected to trade on Nasdaq and be known as Harbinger Global Corp., will acquire a majority interest in an MGM-branded hotel and casino development in Vietnam and a minority interest in an iron ore producer working in Brazil. Funds run by Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Management that are contributing the assets will get an ownership stake that could be as high as 96% in Harbinger Global and Falcone is slated to become executive chairman of the company. Falcone’s move to become closely involved in a publicly-traded company is audacious given that he is currently facing securities fraud charges from the Securities & Exchange Commission. Yeah, well, people also thought it was audacious for him to invite a burlesque dancing pig he barely knew to come and live with him and she turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him, so.