neighbours frequently bicker over shrubbery (seriously), but it is not every day that one neighbour just knocks down the greens-in-question.
When a relative stranger complains to Lloyd Blankfein about it, it’s downright unusual. It’s even more bizarre when the knockee is a significant client of the knocker.
That’s exactly what happened to Jim Chanos, the president of Kynikos Associates, who voiced his grievances about an incident involving the hedges on his Hamptons property to Goldman’s CEO. Luckily, he lived to tell the tale to Bethany McLean.
In a big Vanity Fair article, McLean details the incident, which involved Marc Spilker, co-head of Goldman’s asset-management division, knocking down Chanos’s garden hedges without asking. Chanos, who says he paid Goldman between $40 million and $50 million in annual fees, thought Blankfein might be able to help a major client out.
Chanos’s house in the Hamptons neighbours Spilker’s property. In the Vanity Fair article, it sounds like Spilker wanted to widen the path down to the beach and Chanos didn’t, because widening the path would require Chanos to knock down his hedges.
After Chanos complained to Blankfein about Spilker, one of Blankfein’s lieutenants essentially told Chanos to buzz off. The CEO wouldn’t listen to his complaints over the issue, he said, and told him point blank that Goldman didn’t like the way he, Chanos, “was handling this.”
Well, as it turns out, Chanos didn’t like the way Goldman “was handling this” either. McLean says he pulled all his business within two weeks.