Goldman Elite Kick Back in Hamptons Amid Trump ChaosBy
Blankfein and partners fan out for coders, stem cell research
Seinfelds talk turkey eggs; Robert Downey Jr. auctions selfie
At times over the weekend, most of Goldman Sachs’s leadership seemed to be milling about the Hamptons -- semi-tanned, semi-relaxed and almost conspicuously not mentioning a certain New York mogul-turned-U.S.-president.
That’s been “a little consuming,” Lloyd Blankfein quipped at a cocktail party in Sagaponack on Friday night.
He didn’t let the latest political turmoil consume his socializing as the summer season went into high gear at parties and fundraisers across Wall Street’s favorite playground. At the event for the New York Stem Cell Foundation, the Goldman CEO had conversations about Harvard, country club memberships, his grandson (who calls him Pop Pop) and his wife’s golf game.
“She’s a professional golfer!” he said.
“I cannot putt,” Laura Blankfein replied.
And so the chatter went -- even as Trump loomed, delivering a speech that day in the middle of Long Island.
Dusty Philip, a Goldman partner, was among dealmakers in attendance the next evening at the Good + Foundation party at Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld’s house in East Hampton, along with Citigroup’s Ray McGuire and hedge fund manager John Griffin.
Jerry Seinfeld felt good about throwing the party outside rather than in his living room. “There’s no real invasion here,” he said. The husband of Good + Foundation’s founder also amplified the reason for hosting the event: Net-a-Porter is collecting new or gently-used children’s clothing and books to help young families in need. The retailer uses its own fleet of trucks to deliver high fashion to the area and is packing them with donations to haul back to the city until Aug. 13.
Elettra Wiedemann brought a carton of eggs as a gift for the hosts: “These are turkey eggs, and all the other ones are heirloom breeds," Wiedemann said, handing them off to Jessica Seinfeld.
Elsewhere that night, at the Watermill Center’s annual benefit, Robert Downey Jr. offered to take a selfie with a guest to raise money for the art incubator. Laurie Anderson performed a poem in the center’s courtyard.
It was easier to spot someone there with a link to Donald Trump than Goldman. Jason Wright, who heads investor relations at SkyBridge Capital, was talking up Anthony Scaramucci, the firm’s founder and the new White House communications director. Scaramucci had just made a splash with expletive-laden comments about his new colleagues.
“He’s a brilliant guy, and we’re going to miss him at SkyBridge,” Wright said. “He’ll do a great job for the president and the American people.”
Scaramucci vacated the White House post on Monday.
At a benefit for All Star Code in East Hampton, Charlie Rangel was happy to talk Trump, offering some biting praise. “No one will shatter the myth of white supremacy more than Donald Trump,” the former Congressman from New York City said. “This country, born in slavery, with persecution of blacks and lynchings -- we have gone through worse than Donald Trump and we shall overcome.”
Goldman partner Val Carlotti beat Marcus Samuelsson in a virtual go-cart race, a game created by students of All Star Code, a nonprofit that offers young black men technology training and career opportunities.
Other Goldmanites on hand included Jennifer Scully, Richard Lerner and Danielle O’Bannon. And there was Derek Jean-Baptiste, who worked at Goldman when Carlotti recruited him to get involved in the organization. Jean-Baptiste is now on All Star Code’s board, and starting a new job at JPMorgan this week.
At the party Blankfein attended, scientists explained their work on diabetes and Parkinson’s disease at poolside. Amanda Mullen, married on June 3 to Donald Mullen, a former Goldman partner, talked about the radishes at Balsam Farms.
And in a huddle, Roy Geronemus told the story of taking his college buddy Blankfein home over spring break. Geronemus recalled his father saying, “Of all your friends, including you, this guy is going to be the most successful.”
Their friendship is part of what brought Blankfein to the reception. Geronemus, a dermatologist, is the longtime chairman of the foundation.
Another draw was that Goldman colleague Steve Scherr was hosting the event with his wife Susan. A handful of other Goldmanites were present, including Russell Horwitz, secretary of the management committee, and Jerry Ouderkirk, a partner who works with Scherr at the consumer bank.
Scherr said supporting each other’s causes is one way Goldman colleagues get to know each other outside work, an important part of the culture. The idea was reinforced as Joe Cocker’s rendition of “With a little help from my friends” blasted across the patio. It’s an anthem that perhaps some close to the tumult of Trump administration -- including former Goldman executives Gary Cohn, Dina Powell and Steve Mnuchin -- might appreciate about now.