February 19, 2010 5 Comments
Today brings news of a delightful lawsuit being filed by a disgruntled former employee of Manhattan billionaire Philip Falcone and his wife, the extravagant, luscious Lisa.
The Falcones have used their immense hedge fund wealth to become major players on the NYC social scene, but along the way they’ve garnered both good and bad publicity. This latest story is certainly the most unfavorable they’ve seen to date. While it’s too early to say how legit the employee’s claims are, it’s definitely not premature to announce that these people are hugely entertaining! Move over, Countess de Lesseps, because you’re about to be out-classed.
Philip heads Harbinger Capital Partners, a hedge fund with major stakes in the New York Times company and a variety of satellite operators. He bet big against subprime mortgages and made a staggering amount of money when the market collapsed. Hooray!
His wife grew up in Spanish Harlem, raised by a single mother on welfare — they met in 1992 when she was a fashion model/waitress and he was a young junk bond trader. Today, he’s one of the 300 richest people in the world, which has redounded to the benefit of Lisa’s ambitions to influence the fashion, culture and society of New York City. Together, they purchased the city’s foremost sex mansion.
However, according to their former house manager, they are also homophobic sex-harassers who won’t leave a gay man be.
The best source for background on Lisa Falcone is a fairly glowing profile in the New York Times that somehow fails to mention that her husband owns a huge piece of the company.
Here’s the strangest passage, in which the exuberant Lisa just can’t help but make a scene by throwing money around at a gala event…
Who is that woman and what is she doing?
That is what seemed to be going through the minds of many guests at a gala dinner in early June atop the High Line, the elevated downtown railway that has been transformed into a landscaped esplanade.
The long, elegantly decorated tables were packed with luminaries of the New York social circuit, including Oscar de la Renta, Martha Stewart, Harvey Weinstein and Jerry Seinfeld.
Joshua David, a founder of Friends of the High Line, which had saved the structure from demolition and spearheaded its revival, had just announced a $10 million challenge grant to the project from the media mogul Barry Diller and his wife, the fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, prompting a standing ovation. Suddenly, a leggy brunette in a cropped bob, flouncy Roberto Cavalli minidress and slingback, peep-toe heels by Christian Louboutin (who was in attendance) rose from her seat, approached Mr. David in the middle of his remarks, whispered in his ear and took over the microphone.
She was Lisa Maria Falcone, she said, and she and her husband, Philip A. Falcone, were so excited about the High Line and so moved by Mr. Diller and Ms. von Furstenberg’s gift that they decided to match it.
If that isn’t the work of a Grade-A Upstager, I don’t know what is.
DVF played it cool, but you just know she’s up in her weird penthouse buckyball plotting revenge on Lisa Falcone.
Arts institutions around the city took notice of Mrs. Falcone’s impulsive generosity, and as Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan put it, “suddenly recognized Lisa’s unique insight into, you know, culture.”
When City Ballet asked her to be on the board last June, Ms. Falcone said she asked: “‘Why me? Do you really want me on the board? Is it about my husband or is it me?’”
Peter Martins, City Ballet’s ballet master in chief, said Ms. Falcone had brought a breath of fresh air to the board. “She’s unlike anybody else,” he said. “She is young, generous, has lots of ideas.”
I’m totally sure that the Ballet honchos were sitting around trying to decide who to invite to their board, they all said “You know who is a complete ballet GENIUS? Wacky hedge fund wife Lisa Falcone! I heard her husband is wicked rich but that’s no concern of ours.”
The Falcones next made headlines with their purchase of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione’s sex mansion in the East 60s.
Let’s just say this was a very special residence; this money quote from the real estate agent tasked with selling it sums it up perfectly.
Speaking about features like the first floor’s massive, shimmering Roman-style pool, she said: “It’s odd to talk about houses like this, but that house had an odd energy to it.” So, were experts brought in to remedy Mr. Guccione’s energy? “Certainly… I hired two different feng shui people to look at it, and we had quite a few clearings on it. But that never stopped people from having odd feelings about it. Whenever people brought in children, they were ready to leave.”
The house featured honest-to-God 100% marble toilets:
To say nothing of its unparalleled collection of many-titted sculptures:
Unfortunately, this cultural landmark was promptly slated for destruction by the Falcones, who decided to gut it completely and rebuild from scratch.
For shame!! How dare they desecrate Guccione’s Caligulan perfection?
In an email to Gawker, Philip Falcone protested that he’s merely restoring the mansion to its original greatness, running some game about bringing the 1890s back. I ask you, would you rather see the 1890s brought back — or SEXY brought back? I think that question answers itself.
Then again, when you are married to Lisa Falcone, you bring sexy back every damn day.
Thus far the only real scandal associated with the colorful Falcones has been Gawker’s accusation that she draped her tittay balls around David Schwimmer in the movie “Breast Men,” but that proved to be a specious claim.
However, the accusations hitting the tabloids today are both explosive and juicy, like the time Rudy Huxtable and her fat white friend forgot to put the lid on the blender.
When it comes to tawdry Manhattan scandals, you need to go to the New York Post first:
A filthy rich Upper East Side couple treated their gay hired help like dirt, court papers charge.
In the Manhattan Supreme Court discrimination suit, William Gamble says billionaire Philip Falcone’s wife Lisa Maria subjected him to homophobic comments, repeatedly hit on him and struck him when he rebuffed her advances.
The couple also made Gamble work in a former pig-sty – literally. The suit says the previous occupant of Gamble’s office was the family’s pet pig, Wilbur, who was moved into more luxurious accommodations to make room for the help.
NY Magazine’s Daily Intel blog reports that Gamble ran into trouble the moment he started working for the Falcones, because he committed the twin crimes of gaiety and hotness.
Philip and Lisa Falcone will not abide it when you flaunt the twin crimes!
Upon his hiring to run the Falcones’ several houses, William Gamble was asked by Philip whether he was gay. When he said yes, this apparently sent both Falcones into a mad sexual shame spiral. “Falcone thereafter saw fit to utter homophobic comments directed at gay people in general and [Gamble] in particular,” the lawsuit claims…
Falcone’s wife couldn’t handle Gamble’s beauty any better, Gamble claims: According to the suit, she told him his “demeanor did not live up to her idea of what a stereotypical gay man should be, as [he] was not ‘effeminate’ enough.”
She teased him on a vacation for wearing bathing suits that weren’t skimpy enough, and then once, when she was drunk, “a visibly inebriated Falcone confronted and assaulted” Gamble, “forcibly pushing her hand down his pants to grab his genitals,” the suit says, as reported by the Post. “When rebuffed, Falcone struck [Gamble] three times with her hand forcefully enough to leave deep bruises on his abdomen.”
Quoting the terrifying straight woman from all gay men’s dreams, Lisa Maria then allegedly told Gamble “all he required was ‘a good fuck’ in order to change him into a heterosexual.” When the gang returned to New York, Gamble claims things never went back to normal. At one point, Gamble says, Lisa Maria hissed at him: “If you weren’t so beautiful, you wouldn’t be here.”
Lisa Falcone is used to getting her way, and you’d better play along like a docile ballet company unless you want to get your nuts squoze…
The Daily News piles on:
His brief stint with the couple came to an end shortly after a March 2008 trip to St. Barts, when Lisa Maria Falcone allegedly suggested that he don a skimpier swimsuit and mused that strangers might think he was her boytoy.
“She treated him like a barnyard animal,” said lawyer Jack Tuckner of Tuckner, Sipser, Weinstock & Sipser.
For their part, the Falcones vehemently deny the charges leveled against them. They call Gamble a money-grubbing liar who’s still bitter about getting fired.
Furthermore, they allege that he’s a fruitacious pansy with WAY too conservative taste in beachwear who might learn a thing or two if he would just loosen up and boof a cougar.
Lisa Falcone refused to reveal her age to the Times, saying she wants to be an example to young people. So take heed, young billionheiresses!
When you hire a gay guy to work for you, don’t treat him like your own personal Stanford Blatch, ie. with respect and love. Instead, sexually harass the shit out of him and you too can live in a STD-ridden sex mansion.
It’s the American Dream that every little girl in Spanish Harlem clings to. For one, it came true.
UPDATE: All the Lisa Falcone aficionados out there should not miss the profile in BusinessWeek by the genius writer Alexandra Wolfe. It’s a seriously hilarious read.
I’ll tantalize you with the opening paragraphs:
Lisa Falcone is sitting at the head of a conference table, rapping to music by Swizz Beatz and waving her tanned arms above her head. She’s meeting with the two employees of her fledgling company, Everest Entertainment. Just outside the room, her husband, Philip Falcone, is running his $9 billion hedge fund, Harbinger Capital, but that doesn’t hold her back. She produced the song and sings along as it blasts from iPod speakers on the table: “Come on bitches, get your hands in the air, ugly bitches too, we don’t care!”
Harbinger analysts walking by barely look up at Lisa, 41, who is striking in a low-cut leather dress and a huge diamond cross pendant. They know she’s the boss’s wife. Harbinger’s young, blond British receptionist brings a tray with a mug of green tea for Lisa, who likes to point out that the space is as much hers as her husband’s. “This is our office,” she says. “Eighteen years and no prenup means family office.”
Hahahaha. This picture is also a gem: