A Century of Executive Excess


Newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst acquires the land where he'll build Hearst Castle. The swimming pool would be redone three times to please him.


Egypt's gluttonous King Farouk dies at age 45. The 300-pound exiled monarch ate 600 oysters per week. The King's jet-setting lifestyle and extravagant spending habits helped lead him into exile.


Real estate queen Leona Helmsley is exposed for billing personal effects—from a $1 million marble dance floor to a $45,000 silver clock—to Helmsley Enterprises.


Oxbow Group Founder William Koch pays $500,000 for four bottles of wine thought to have belonged to revolutionary and oenophile Thomas Jefferson.


Financier Saul Steinberg hosts a 17th century-themed 50th birthday bash complete with live models reenacting his favorite Renaissance paintings.


Real estate tycoon Donald Trump's bankers impose a $450,000-a-month allowance to curb his outrageous spending habits, which include the $841,000 monthly cost of maintaining his 282-foot yacht.


Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal purchases the world's then-most-expensive private residence, near London's Kensington Palace, for $128 million.


Google (GOOG) founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page purchase a former Qantas Boeing 767 jet for $15 million to use as a company plane.


The delivery of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's 557-foot yacht is delayed because of difficulty finding "ethically sourced" exotic skins for the interior.

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