Pete Peterson Buys $3 Million Co-Op To Stop Scandal At Council On Foreign Relations

Private-equity titan Pete Peterson just dropped $3 million to buy a co-op and save the Council on Foreign Relations from a perk scandal:

NY Observer: Pete Peterson, the co-founder and senior chairman of the Blackstone Group, and the chairman emeritus of the massively powerful Council on Foreign Relations, has bought that organisation’s apartment at the huge Imperial House co-op on East 69th Street. According to city records, he paid the council $3,040,000.

Why would Mr. Peterson, who bought David Geffen’s $37.5 million duplex on Fifth Avenue last year, pick up a petite co-op? “Let me give you the background,” Mr. Peterson said after returning The Observer‘s phone call, much to The Observer‘s surprise. He explained that Leslie Gelb, the council’s so-called Board Senior Fellow and its president from 1993 to 2003, plus a Pulitzer winner for his work on The Times‘ “star wars” series, was given the Imperial co-op when he became the foreign policy group’s leader in 1993.

“Part of the original deal with Les was that the council owned the apartment and rented it to him, and a couple of things came up that changed the situation,” he said. “A board member raised the question as to whether it would be proper for the council to continue to own the property given the fact that he had not been president for five years.”

Mr. Peterson, who is worth $2.5 billion, according to the Forbes 400, handled the prickly situation like a (wealthy) maestro. “I said, ‘Look, I don’t want any questions to be raised about this; why don’t I just buy the apartment?'”

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