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Commentary Last Updated: Aug 17th, 2006 - 02:34:15

Rudy Giuliani opens his own bank
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 17, 2006, 00:24

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Momma mia! I thought Citibank advertised, �The Citi never sleeps.� But no, it�s his honor, the Sheriff of America, who quietly opened Giuliani Capital Advisors, a 100-person investment bank on April 30, reported by the good old Daily News, the same day Rudy met with Republicans in Iowa, in search of the commander in chief gig. And here I�m just catching up with him.

This guy works faster than someone running from his Office of Emergency Management on the 23rd floor of Tower 7(Larry Silverstein�s building) on 9/11/2001, pulled eight hours after the 9/11 hit. He told the 9/11 Commission he heard that Tower 7 was going down at 9:15. No wonder he was running around the street all day. He had no place to go.

Speaking of the OEM, Ray Kelly, New York�s current police commissioner recently said, �If Giuliani had any sense of the threat, he would have gotten out of the City Hall area. He put it [the OEM] right next to a target. It was just unwise.� Kelly, who was fired from the post by Giuliani in 1993 and reappointed by Mayor Bloomberg, shared these edgy observations in Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 by Dan Collins and Rudy critic Wayne Barrett. Check the August 10 review by David Saltonstall, Daily News senior correspondent..

Kelly also pointed out that in addition to using the site of the 1993 �terror� bombing, archaic radios kept the police and fire departments from effectively communicating on that chaotic and tragic day. Kelly suggested also that both departments should have had a unified post, so they would have been face-to-face. Maybe the mayor had had other things on his mind, which brings us back to Guiliani Capital Advisors (GCA).

Introducing Brand Rudy

Steven Oesterle, who runs GCA, had this to say, �There are a lot of high-class investment-banking boutiques out there, but we really thought there was room for another one that we could build off the back of this brand.� This brand would be, er, brand Guiliani? Move over Ralph, Calvin, Tommy, and Martha. Brand Rudy is here. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom.

According to the Daily News, �court filings show Giuliani Advisors has collected millions of dollars in fees and expenses from bankrupt companies. The filings open a rare window into the former mayor�s new empire, which includes a law firm and the consultancy Giuliani Partners.� I�m waiting for the restaurant, Rudy�s Window on the World. Maybe that would leave a bad taste.

The thing is lots of retired pols strike it rich tap-dancing in business. But the big RG (how would those initials look on your tailored broadcloth shirt) is a virtual tycoon. The presidency aside, his business interests, and I quote the News, �are vast and absorbing. Even his political trip to Iowa [was] scheduled to coincide with a paid speech in Des Moines.� And guess what? �Much of Giuliani�s work is confidential.� I�ll bet.

But a Giuliani aide, Sunny Mindel, said, �We�re in the private sector. We have clients about which you may not know anything.� I�ll bet. But their tasks include �high-profile� work for Mexico City and the pharmaceutical industry. Don�t tell me. They�re synthesizing Acapulco gold for pain sufferers.

Political Buzz Good for Bizness

Meanwhile, the �political buzz is good for business, but many wonder if [Rudy] can step off the money trail and back onto the campaign trail.� Hey, I�ll bet it�s as easy as Dick Cheney going from government to Halliburton back to government to Halliburton and George Bush skipping from Harken to the Texas Rangers to the governorship and presidency. Their respective net worth is $90 million and $20 million, that�s on the books. And of course, Mr. Bush luckily skipped the insider trading rap when he dumped his Harken shares the day before Gulf 1 began and hopped from the capital gains evasion rap when he sold his $600,000 worth of Texas Rangers stock for $15 million to Rangers� owner Tom Nixon. But I digress. Or do I? Is it all one thing?

�Court papers and other filings offer a glimpse at the [Giuliani) banking business,� reported the Daily News, �in which Giuliani Partners has a controlling stake.� In fact, GCA�s numero uno banking client seems to be Delta Air Lines. They hired the boyz last September (the cruelest month) at a monthly fee of $400,000. That�s a lot of scharola (escarole, green stuff) as we used to say in the old neighborhood. It�s supposedly an industry standard-fee but it still pissed off pilots who had to take pay and retirement cuts, including a retired pilot friend of mine who sent me the brand R article. But that�s life they say. And Giuliani asked for $20,343 in lodging and $9,471 in business meals for his crew. That�s living large, I say, on OPM (other people�s money).

Banco GCA also nipped Aloha Airlines for about $3 million for work on restructuring, and ditto for U.S. Airways creditors' committee. Jesus, if I were cynical I�d say these looked almost like disguised campaign contributions, like W�s $15 mill from Tom Nixon. But hey, let�s be optimistic. The man�s the American Dream, right. Father was a rough and tumble bartender, head-busting loan-collector in a saloon in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, did some time in Sing Sing; cousin a hijacker suspected of taking part in several murders; the family in general connected to the Family. Their rap sheet can run down your arm.

GCA in fact has 36 deals on its website with midsize companies, too. And other clients and its own investments, like 20 percent of a company selling energy-efficient lights to cities, with a $150 grand retainer for the deal. That�s about what brand Rudy earned a year as mayor. And the White House gig pays $400,000 a year, the monthly fee for Giuliani Capital Advisors. Anything wrong with this picture? What does Commissioner Kelly think? Well, it turns out a couple days after his Saltonstall interview, Kelly redacted most of his criticisms. Good soldier, let the negativity go. Be positive like brand Rudy. Arm-twisting here? Nah.

Why even Bernie Kerik, another Giuliani find for police commissioner, worked his way up to head of Homeland Security and did a stint before that as security chief in Iraq, until the Daily News brought us his double affair laid bare, one with Correction Officer Jeanette Pinero (for the bad boy in him) and one with famed publishing queen Judith Regan (for the autobiographic author in him). These were followed by revelations of his accepting nearly 200 grand in work on his home, thousands in cash and gifts without disclosure, and ties to a construction company believed to be linked to the mob. A real beaut Bernie.

Keeping His Political Torch Lit

Nevertheless, New York�s ex-mayor is keeping �his political torch lit.� He hired John Avlon, former City Hall speechwriter as director of communications for his political action tribe. He�s not letting the Republican Christian Right stop him either. He still has his urban roots, albeit a remarkably lousy record with blacks and other minorities. That should be worth something with all those nice white folks from all-white places.

Avlon, by the way, is a columnist for the New York Sun, slightly to the right of Ghengus Khan. He�s even, believe it or not, a critic of Bush�s domestic policy. He doesn�t like his ties? Among his heroes is the model centrist (and not so model husband) Bill Clinton. What a group.

But hey, that�s what it takes. Politics, as Hunter Thompson once said, is �the ultimate blood sport.� You have to want to kill to win. Did Gore? Kerry? Clinton did. Bush did. Just take a look at the stolen elections. And brand Rudy, what about him? Now on his third marriage, his first to his cousin, ending in annulment, the second to the genuinely classy Donna Hanover, mother of his two children, dumped for third bride, Upper East Side cutie Judy Nathan. This after, as Bob Novak of all people said, years of public adultery. Well, who knows how it will all wash in Wisconsin. Out, out damned spots.

For sure, you can expect anything from brand Giuliani. Just click the link to the left to my last Online Journal article on brand R. It�s an eye-opener.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at

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