Getty-Rich-Quick Scheme

Attendees listened intently and cheered her to the rafters. She got a cool million for an hour-long speech, which is more than Boris or Blair could ever hope for. And it wasn’t even her specialty—she’s an ecdysiast—but during the recent Hedge Fund Week in Miami, Kim Kardashian was the star speaker. It tells me all I want to know about hedge fund managers, as I had a good teacher long ago, one John Bryan of toe-sucking fame.

Luckily my father was still alive back then, and after Bryan had taken me to the cleaners, old dad put his foot down. “I have a drawer full of moldering proposals on how to become richer from financial advisers,” he told me, “stop looking for shortcuts and try being a shipowner.” After my father’s death on July 14, 1989, I actually went looking for a financial adviser, warned by friends that advisers are beholden to no one, hence I had to be careful. On a whim I chose a childhood friend who was a brewer and whose family, like half of mine, had come to Greece from Germany with King Otto, the first Greek king after the war of independence of 1821. His name was Karolos Fix, and the Fix brewery enjoyed a monopoly for generations.

Fix had run the brewery to the ground and left Greece under a cloud. We met up in Gstaad and he invited me to invest in his new fund. However crazy it may sound, and over my wife’s loud protests, I did. The result was 22 percent annual returns for the next fifteen years. Some envious types went so far as to call me lucky, as I was the first to invest with Fix and to advertise his returns. Karolos Fix eventually went down and I almost went down with him, but not quite, Madoff and all that. Thank God for the wife.

I bring all this up because of a lawsuit by a wealth manager against a couple of Getty women, which is as rare as a lawsuit by a priest against two of his flock for not following his sermon. The two Gettys are out-of-wedlock daughters of Gordon Getty and obviously very rich. I’ve been a friend of Mark Getty for forty years, and I know Tara Getty, who owns the most perfect gentleman’s motor yacht, the Bluebird. There are a lot of Gettys around, but I don’t know them. (Most of them are too California for my taste.) The two Getty ladies being sued are hardly my type either. They support causes like “racial inequities and bias, gendered violence, and trans phobia.”

I read about this case in the New Bagelite, whose reporter gave the impression of being very anti-rich, very anti–trust fund, and very anti–tax avoidance. Money managers invest one’s wealth, and I happen to have the best there is. They are young, Latin American, and based in Miami. The hack writing about the lawsuit described wealth managers as clergy or consiglieri who tend to get prime seats at weddings and patriarchal deathbeds. And arrange financial matters for out-of-wedlock children. This is all Hollywood, in other words, bulls—.

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