The entire cast (minus the fabulous Caroyln Castiglia, who was capturing this joyous moment on her camera) of All the Way, For the Children, my big "Celine Dion" extravaganza at Mo Pitkin's, on January 28, 2007. This photo was taken backstage right after the show. (No, I don't normally wear eyeliner.) Front row (from L. to R.): Laura Mannino; Katina Corrao; Shawn Hollenbach; Alana Harrison (love that smile!); back row (L. to R.): Adira Amram (gettin' down!); Paul Case (looking very handsome and solemn, like an extra on Law and Order), me, and Eric Poindexter.
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Although you may never have heard of him, there is this particular New York City billionaire real estate developer--let's call him Brent S%#@ (just so he doesn't sue me for defamation)--who you might call one of the banes of my existence. (Although I’m not even quite sure what a bane is. But whatever it is, Brent is one. A big one.)
(Normally, I would place a picture of Brent here, with a witty caption under it, but again, there's that little issue of a defamation lawsuit that keeps coming up!)
The reason I have such a powerful dislike for the man is that he personally managed to make my life a living hell back in 2006.
Now you'd think that a billionaire would be too busy or important to spend any time ruining a regular person's life. But not, Brent; no, he is so generous with his time that way. He's the kind of guy who always has an extra hour or two if it means he'll able to ruin even just one extra life.
Now, normally, I don’t consort with billionaire-real-estate-mogul types, as you can imagine, so it may seem a bit odd that I would end up being personally screwed over by one. But I can assure you that the story I am about to tell you is true—it’s a shocking, sordid tale of drama, intrigue, and landlord-tenant regulations. And I promise all will be revealed in due course. (Just like a Jackie Collins novel.)
But first, a little background is in order.
Brent was born in the early 1960’s into a life of wealth and privilege on the West Coast of the United States. He’s the grandson of a man who founded a privately-owned real estate firm that is still controlled by his descendants to this day. In fact, Brent's grandfather started the company during the Great Depression. (Now that took balls, wouldn’t you say?) And amongst other claims to fame, he was responsible for creating a very well-known hotel chain as well. (Though I couldn’t find any documentary evidence to confirm it, I assume he wore a top hat and monocle and took baths in gold coins.)
Brent would follow in his illustrious grandfather’s footsteps as a real estate mogul, except he would do it his way—on the East Coast. (Such a rebel, that Brent.) After earning a B.A. out east, he temporarily returned to the West Coast to begin his law degree. But he quickly realized that finishing law school was for quitters! So he cut his losses and dropped out, choosing instead to move to New York and get a “real job.” (And by “real job,” I mean a lucrative position working for another billionaire real estate mogul, who, incidentally, would later become his father-in-law. But I digress.) Eventually, Brent rose to the position of partner at one of New York’s most esteemed real estate brokerage firms—which, I’m sure, had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with his family connections.
But raking in millions a year by selling rich people expensive apartments wasn’t enough for our hero Brent. Oh no, he was destined for the pantheon of real estate gods. And he was determined to do it on his own terms. That’s why, in 2001, he started his own real estate company, S%#@ Equities LLC.
So what does all this have to with me you ask?
Well, unbeknownst to me, Brent had a brilliant plan to turn Manhattan rentals into condominium gold, and I would soon become an expendable peon in that brilliant plan.
However, unbeknownst to Brent, his brilliant plan wasn’t so brilliant after all, and fate had more than a few unpleasant surprises in store for him too.
(TO BE CONTINUED...)