A quick update on avarice in America and beyond
You have to give this to the extremely wealthy: They may cheat on their taxes. But they sure do love their pooches. Some new evidence: Private jet operators are now chartering flights — at $67,000, on average, a pop — to deep pockets who can’t bear the thought of flying without their pets. About a half the charters that Jet Edge International books, says company CEO Bill Papariella, end up having pets on board. The typical Jet Edge customer, Papariella adds, has a billion-dollar fortune. Another new company, Sit ’n Stay Global, specializes in providing “pet-friendly flight attendants.” One divorced couple — with joint custody of the family dog — pays $50,000 every other month to fly the canine back and forth between New York and L.A., with only a Sit ’n Stay nanny for company.
Millions of Americans are still reeling, over six years later, from the titanic collapse of America’s housing market. One of the architects of that mess, former Goldman Sachs global mortgage chief Jonathan Sobel, happens to be doing just fine. Better than fine. Sobel has just placed on the market — for $43 million — his 4.8-acre estate in Southampton, Wall Street’s favorite Long Island summer watering hole. He bought the estate three years ago for a mere $13 million. Sobel, now a private equity kingpin, has been “trading up” quite nicely. He picked up $20 million earlier this year for a summer estate near Southampton he bought for $2.6 million in 2003. He picked up even more, $21 million, on the 2012 sale of a Manhattan penthouse be bought for $9 million . . .
Local bankers in Massachusetts have their own get-rich-quick scam. They’re converting their banks from institutions mutually owned by depositors into publicly traded financial companies. Their incentive: The huge pay jackpots that conversions typically bring. The community bank in Danvers, for instance, became a publicly traded bank in 2008. Three years later, Danversbank CEO Kevin Bottomley sold out to an out-of-state regional bank and pocketed $16 million. One local banker in Massachusetts is definitely not taking Bottomley’s lead. The Reading Co-operative Bank’s Julieann Thurlow is leading a charge to keep local banks local. Thurlow admits to having watched Jimmy Stewart in the Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life “too many times.” Says the local banker: “This walking away with millions of dollars after a conversion is just ridiculous.”