Hedgies, Economists and Musicians Mingle At Milkin Mixers In Hamptons

Aug 25 2014 | 6:00am ET

By Amanda Gordon (Bloomberg) -- Leave it to Michael Milken to bring some gravitas and sweat to the Hamptons -- along with a mentalist and a David Koch encounter with Kenny Loggins.

Over the weekend, Milken enlisted friends with homes there to host breakfasts and lunches about changing the world, organized by the Milken Institute’s FasterCures. There were warm-ups and cool-downs for the Charles Evans PCF Pro-Am Tennis Tournament pairing 32 professionals with 32 amateurs, including Steve Schwarzman, John Paulson, Bill Ackman and Larry Leeds, to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which Milken founded.

The matches took place on courts at the homes of Larry Gagosian, William Mack, Koch and Schwarzman.

“Today I watched a match with John Griffin and Howard Marks,” Milken said at the Saturday dinner event. “What was interesting about it is that Howard’s son Andrew used to work for Griffin at his hedge fund and he recently left to form his own, so there was a lot of competition out there.”

“Howard won 7 to 5,” Milken said. “John had never lost a match the last four or five years here at the tournament.”

Milken also noted Griffin, of Blue Ridge Capital LLC, and Marks, of Oaktree Capital, are neighbors in East Hampton. So Griffin will likely find a way to get past his upset.

Griffin’s wife, Amy Griffin, “was fantastic,” Milken said. She played with Jared Palmer, while her husband partnered with Alex O’Brien.

Schwarzman’s Backhand

“Bill Ackman told me before the tournament that he was as good as any pro playing in the tournament, and he won his flight,” Milken said. His partner was Jared Pinsky. On Saturday they defeated Mark Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles, playing with the Kastles’ Bobby Reynolds, among others, and were set to take on real estate developer Arik Kislin and Robert Kendrick in the finals on Sunday.

Schwarzman played with Kevin Kim.

“His best shot is his backhand volley,” Kim said of Blackstone Group LP’s chief executive officer. “He’s fun to play with. He has good energy and he works hard out there. I kept on going to get water, and he was out there, ready. He’s in good shape.”

“My strongest shot is moving to the side so that my partner gets to play the ball,” Schwarzman said. “That is also my second-strongest shot.”

With only weeks of summer left, Schwarzman said the most interesting place he’s visited recently was Kazakhstan, “because I hadn’t been there before,” while Nouriel Roubini, the economist, said he’d made a trip to see progress in African countries.

“It’s great being in the Hamptons, but Africa is the place where you see how the world is going to change,” Roubini said.

Metallic Tattoos

As for summer reading: “I’ve been mostly reading e- mails,” Schwarzman said. “It’s just that we’ve got so many things going on.”

His wife, Christine Schwarzman, wearing metallic tattoos she got at a Jennifer Miller boutique earlier in the day, did have a book recommendation: “The Other Language” by Francesca Marciano. “Her use of words is so elegant,” she said. “It’s a compendium of short stories. It’s an author I’ve never read, and now I’m going to get her other books. The topics are all over, and the stories are not so short, 60 to 70 pages.”

Koch, like Milken, a prostate-cancer survivor, said he had read “Sons of Wichita,” a biography of his family, on the bestseller list and reviewed by the New York Times a few months ago.

Tough Biography

“It’s actually a pretty accurate book,” Koch said. “It tells the whole story of my father and his father coming over to America from Holland, how father then went to MIT. I do have bones to pick. I’d say the last third of the book is about our involvement with politics, and I think it’s a bit extreme there. The author doesn’t give us a break.”

Koch is known for sending a lot of money politicians’ way, through political action committees and by hosting fundraisers. On Aug. 15, he attended a fundraiser for Senator Ted Cruz of Texas at the home of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP partner Robert Giuffra.

Koch noted that Giuffra, a friend, and Cruz both served as clerks for Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

“Ted Cruz, he’s a brilliant guy, I like him immensely,” Koch said. At the fundraiser he sat next to Cruz’s wife, Heidi, a managing director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “She was great, a very smart woman.”

Beating Democrats

His prediction for the upcoming elections: “I think we’re going to beat the hell out of the Democrats and save this country from ruin,” Koch said.

The focus of this past weekend’s activities was to turn prostate cancer into a chronic disease, a condition that can at least be controlled if not cured, by 2017 or 2018. “I’ve scheduled a vacation for 2017 so let’s say then,” Milken said before calling for donations from guests to fund young investigators. Steve Schwarzman and Paulson were both contributors of $225,000, as was Koch.

On Friday, Koch hosted a Prostate Cancer Foundation dinner at his home, in tents decorated with chandeliers and mirrors, in a Moroccan style. The mentalist Lior Suchard was the entertainment.

“I wanted to figure out how he did all the tricks,” Roubini said. “I figured out half of them.”

The next night, Koch made his first visit to the Parrish Art Museum for a ticketed fundraiser where his co-hosts included real estate developer Richard LeFrak and First Wall Street CEO Glenn Myles.

There, after a dinner of sea bass, he found himself meeting Kenny Loggins, the soft-rock Grammy winner known for hits since the 1970s, and the evening’s featured performer.

“He seems like an awful nice fellow,” Koch said. “He was a huge hit. It’s interesting that he’s still well known and popular.” Among other songs, Loggins performed “Return to Pooh Corner” and “This is It” on the Parrish’s patio.

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