Finally read all the way through James Stewart‘s New Yorker profile of Steve Schwarzman last night and my fact quibbles notwithstanding, must say it’s pretty good. As Andrew Ross Sorkin points out on Dealbook, Stewart has nailed down longstanding rumors of Schwarzman’s rift with his partner Pete Peterson, and done a more-than-respectable job of eliciting revealing quotes from the man who will probably henceforth be known by the subhead’s description of him as “private equity’s designated villain,” but he lets Schwarzman off easy on his poor showing in the realm of philanthropy. Turns out Schwarzman did buy a house once owned by the late Carter Burden — though as pointed out below, it was not his 740 Park apartment.
Speaking of which, I got an email last night about yesterday’s post on the Stewart piece. It said: “Dear M. Gross, I don’t think your previous post contains any verifiable information about the recent James Stewart article in the New Yorker. Is an anonymous quote from a member of the coop board necessarily a more accurate source than the one used by James Stewart? From your posted plans, it looks like there are three floors to me, unless that servant’s mezz. is a crawlspace. Isn’t that a triplex? This seems like a sorry attempt at generating drama for your own self promotion.”
My response? “The anonymous quote from a member of the co-op board is certainly better than the totally unsourced newspaper clips Stewart depended upon. Misinformation does not gain credibility from repetition. And I am 100% sure of both the credibility of my cited source and a second source who confirmed that the $37 million figure is dead wrong. If you think using anonymous quotes makes a story suspect and self-promotional, what does that say about The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, whose brilliant reporting on the Iraq war depends upon them? And if you look at the floor plans you will see that the lower floor is #15 and the upper floor is #16. Though not a crawlspace, the servant’s mezzanine is not a floor by any standard EXCEPT that of hyperbole.” Only after sending that response did I remember that Stewart uses anonymous sources, too. Are they more reliable when they’re in The New Yorker?