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DAN'S PAPERS, November 20, 2009 Page 23 www.danshamptons.com

Twentysomething…By David Lion Rattiner

Sheltered

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Of course, nothing dumb has ever been done on the Island. Except maybe for the time I backed up over my suitcase. Or the time I hooked a swimmer by his shorts and kept reeling him in. It’s true. I’ve done some dumb things, and it must be just me, because here, all the men are brilliant, all the women are beautiful and all the children are gifted. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it...

times are good and they risk even more money when times are bad, and they do it in all areas of business, wherever they see opportunity consistently and publicly. One of the most notable figures of our time for being a true wealth creator and an economic analyst that acts deliberately on his observations is Wilbur Ross, who happens to have a house in Southampton. Ross isn’t annoyingly rich, because when you read what he has done, you feel like he deserves it. When the steel industry in the United States was all but abandoned, Ross bought in, put Americans back to work and created one of the most successful steel companies in the world. His whole career is based on turning things from bad to good. When oil was at the height of its bubble and Al Gore and Goldman Sachs oil brokers had us believing that gasoline was going to cost $10 a gallon, Ross recognized the bubble and went and bought himself an Indian airline that was struggling because of high oil prices. What seemed like the next day, oil prices came down dramatically, and his airline, SpiceJet (I’m not kidding, that really is the name) headed for blue skies. As bank after bank failed thanks to bad mortgages, Ross made headlines for buying failing mortgages with intentions of turning them around. And the world watches

as he does it, amazed by his brazen commitments but secretly confident that he has it right. As the stock market seems to be in an impressive recovery, it’s hard not to think that we are heading into a government-created stock-market bubble. The current economy reminds me of Mike Tyson; you simply never know what the hell he is going to do next, good, bad or ugly, and it puts everybody on edge. But there has been hope—the stock market has been soaring, news has been positive and we’re starting to feel that things are getting back on track. But just when I started thinking that things were turning honky-dory, Ross had to go and ruin my day. Bloomberg.com’s headline said it all: “Wilbur Ross Sees Huge Commercial Real Estate Crash.” According to Bloomberg.com, Wilbur Ross said in reference to commercial real estate, “All of the components of real estate value are going in the wrong direction simultaneously.” Gulp. On the upside, you’ll know the commercial real estate collapse is coming to an end when Ross starts buying up all of the malls in America. That will be the time to get in.

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We have some of the world’s greatest masters of business in the Hamptons. There are captains of industry, and there are financial wizards that simply dazzle us when we learn how they came to be. For many of them, their stories make it sound like they were just riding a wave. There are the people who made big money making big bets on real estate when banks were giving million-dollar loans to busboys. There are the guys who made big money forming funds that bet on stocks in industries that bubbled, such as oil or dotcoms. There are the annoying people who inherited the patent for the air-conditioner. When you read about many of these people, there always seems to be one big move, one big deal, that put them on top and allowed them to coast ever since. But then there are the guys who, time and again, make investments or form businesses that simply dazzle. They make money when

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Wilbur Ross Ruins My Day

Dan's Papers Nov. 20, 2009  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

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