Scene Last Night: Kravis, Boies, Petraeus, Navab, Harman

David Petraeus, the retired Army general, had a victory last night presiding over the Woodrow Wilson Awards at the Pierre hotel.

“David asked me what the highest-grossing dinner was, and he met and exceeded that,” said Jane Harman, the director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and retired California representative. The amount raised was $1.4 million.

Support from his firm, KKR & Co., which he joined in May, was a factor, as was a willingness to be teased about his abs, which Harman called “the strongest in western civilization.”

Lawyers Mary and David Boies accepted the award for public service; Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis were honored for corporate citizenship.

“What really separates our country is not our prosperity and respect for the individual, it is our rule of law,” David Boies said. “We are all equal and the law is what we employ to see that happen, so this award is not for us, but for the law.”

Among his accomplishments was winning a ruling with Ted Olson upholding marriage as a constitutional right for same-sex couples -- a campaign Kravis donated to. Mary Boies’s practice focuses on antitrust and corporate commercial litigation.

A video played at the event showed the Boieses morphing into Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

“Marie-Josee is like Milton Friedman, but taller and much more elegant,” said hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones in the video on the Kravises.

As for Henry Kravis, “If you don’t give to him, he’ll LBO your company,” Jones said.

Major Gifts

Marie-Josee Kravis, an economist, said she and her husband were reticent about accepting the award, because calling attention to the kind of major philanthropic gifts they have made can be a “distraction from the smaller gifts that define our country.”

Referring to Petraeus, Kravis said, “Certainly the best thing I’ve done so far this year was convince Dave to come to KKR, and that was not easy.”

Among the guests were Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia Business School, Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York, and several KKR executives, including: Scott Nuttall, head of global capital, Alex Navab, co-head of North American private equity, and Ken Mehlman, global head of public affairs.

The honorees shared a table with the chairman of the Wilson Center’s board of trustees, Thomas Nides, a vice chairman of Morgan Stanley, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and John Hess, chief executive officer of Hess Corp.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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