A quick update on avarice in America and beyond
America’s hottest new luxury option? The summer camp! Operators have been busy, the New York Post reports, turning rustic sleepaways into five-star “experiences” complete with everything from air-conditioned bunks to water-skiing. Top summer camps for the 1 percent now fill up nine months in advance and cost as much as a college semester. Eight weeks in Maine’s “blue-chip” camps typically run around $11,000. The International Riding Academy in New York’s Catskills charges $2,150 a week and offers enticing optional extras, like chauffeur-driven stretch-limo hops down to Manhattan’s biggest toy store. In Oregon’s High Cascades camp, tykes can learn how to snowboard — from former U.S. Olympic team trainers — at just under $4,000 per week . . .
One year ago California game maker Zynga handed newly hired CEO Don Mattrick $58 million. The company’s 2013 sales: $873 million. Bay Area high-tech giant Intel also hired a new CEO last year. This new hire, Brian Krzanich, pulled in $9.5 million. Intel’s sales for the year: $53 billion, 60 times more than Zynga realized. CEO pay in modern America, reporter Steve Johnson observed last week, can certainly be “hard to understand.” The corporate pay tracker firm Equilar has one reason: Pay at the corporate summit seems to bear “zero relationship” with performance. Equilar has just generated a series of stunning data visualizations that contrast the pay of 200 top U.S. CEOs to their company revenue, profitability, and shareholder returns. What the new data visualizations show: completely “random patterns.”
Oh, the stories this house could tell! The brick Elizabethan on Round Hill Road in Greenwich, Connecticut has just gone on the market for a sweet $65 million. The home first gained notoriety in the 1980s when billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley and her hubby Harry bought the gated 40-acre property for $11 million. The couple proceeded to have their company shell out $3 million more for renovations, a no-no that eventually led to criminal charges on tax evasion. Leona’s basic defense — “only the little people pay taxes” — wouldn’t prove particularly persuasive. She eventually served two years behind bars before kicking the bucket in 2007 at age 87. In her will, Helmsley stiffed two grandkids and left $12 million to her dog. That dog doesn’t come included with the home’s new sale price. “Trouble” passed on in 2011.