Thursday, May 11, 2017

Simply intriguing

Pizza for lunch. Photo: JH.
Thursday, May 11, 2017. I read somewhere long ago that this date is the median birthdate in the human race. More people are born at our around this day, than any other in calendar. Other than that, I have no idea if it’s true. It’s simply intriguing. The Harvest times and all.
Yesterday's sky just before dusk looking east toward Roosevelt Island.
Last night at Sotheby’s the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) hosted their 11th Annual Connoisseurs Dinner. The ADDF  was created by the brothers Ronald and Leonard Lauder. They and the rest of the Lauder Family underwrite all of the expenses for the running of the foundation so that all moneys donated go directly into funding development for the drug that eventually cure the disease who numbers are growing.

Paula Zahn opened the evening once everyone was at table. They honored Tad Smith, the President and CEO of Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s contributes to the cause by underwriting the dinner, holding it in one of their galleries that are full of beautiful Modern, Impressionist and Contemporary art going up for auction. I took these three pieces (I’m drawn to portraits). A very lively and chic Andrea Fiuczynski, Executive Vice President of Sotheby’s America conducted a “Fund a Scientist” auction and raised more than $600,000. More than $2 million was raised from the evening with every penny going directly to research.
It’s a lovely evening despite the darkly serious topic. The Lauders have provided a sense of hope. Ronald Lauder reminded the audience of the polio epidemic of the 1940s and 1950s and how it was believed they’d never find a cure because everything tried failed. Until Dr. Salk came along. And a miracle has joined the ordinary; no one even thinks of polio today. That is the attitude that the ADDF promotes.

Black tie. Cocktails amongst the great art and then at 7:30 we moved into an auction room decorated for an elegant and delicious dinner (catered by Sant Ambroeus), and great wines from the Sotheby’s Collection. And by 9:30 everyone could go home on this weeknight.
Paula Zahn.
Dr. Howard Fillit.
The weather in New York was nice yesterday. On the cool side of low 60s. But sunny with blue skies. I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Danielle Hirsch and a friend of hers whom I’d never met, Nicole Noonan. Nicole is a matrimonial lawyer. Or was, for although she’s still in the matrimonial business (or divorce business, to put is more precisely), she’s in the funding  business.

Her company, which she started, is called New Chapter Capital, Inc. She funds clients who are getting a divorce – usually the woman whose husband has departed with all the credit cards and cash that one needs to live, as well as pay for professional services and electricity and heat.

Nicole has, not surprisingly had a lot of national publicity on it, although I hadn’t heard of it until Danielle told me about her. It’s called Divorce funding. If you’re getting a divorce in New York or L.A., you’ve probably heard about it. It’s not a good Samaritan fund, in case you’re wondering. It’s a business and a loan is a loan.
DPC, Nicole Noonan, and Danielle Hirsch at Michael's.
Nicole first heard of divorce funding in the UK and Australia, and wanted to bring it to the US. Nicole’s commitment is to promoting self-confidence in clients so that they may feel empowered to deal with the difficulties in her personal relationships that spring up in a divorce. Her underwriters, New Chapter Capital, are in the UK and make the final determination on funding a client in terms of his or her likely entitlement.

Every table at Michael's was full with many of the regulars: Donny Deutsch with Meryl Poster, Michael Gross, Peter Brown with Shirley Lord and Peter Haywood, Stephen Haft, Herb Siegal with son Bill Siegal; Esther Newberg, Vicky Ward, Joan Gelman; brothers Drew and Scott Schiff; Kay Pick in from L. A.; Obama’s Ambassador to Paris, Jane Hartley; Francine LeFrak, Diane Clehane interviewing Don Wildman; Alan Patricof, Danny Lufkin, Barry Frey, Montel Williams, Nick Verbitsky, Teri Agin with Maury RogoffLisa Linden, Beverly Camhe, Susan Magrino with Jane Heller, Andrew Stein.
Her experience as a matrimonial lawyer directed her to this solution for those in need. First Capital also provides referrals for lawyers, accountants and other experts. There are many women getting divorced, for example, who know nothing about the family finances, who don’t ever see a bill or write a check. All of this must change quickly for the client’s survival.
Most of Nicole’s clients when she was practicing were “affluent women during the marriage and when the marriage was ending the husband would cut off credit cards. If they had no friends or family to turn they would be forced into accepting a settlement for less than what they were entitled to.”

“…What they were entitled to” is an arbitrary phrase when it comes to divorce, both pro and con. The attitude varies from person to person; generous to selfish. Then it eventually goes before the judge and he or she decides. Clients range from stay at home moms who’ve put their careers on hold to raise the family, to the woman who was married for 30 years who saw no way out of a loveless marriage without funding. Then there are the clients whose assets are frozen during a divorce and have no way of paying for appropriate representation. In the meantime, Nicole Noonan comes to the rescue.

Michael’s was its busy Wednesday. Table One next to ours was host to a lunch given by Susan Mercandetti for her friend Holly Peterson. Among the guests were Juju Chang of ABC, Ashley McDermott, Kathy O’hearn, Tammy Haddad, Leslie Bennetts, Betsy West, Ali Wentworth, Kyle Gibson, Amy Cappallazzo, Joanne Rosen. A great looking cake arrived with waiters singing happy birthday, joined in by the guests at that table. I just couldn’t hear the name when they got to the "Happy Birthday dear ...." It was a good one though.
The gals at Table One celebrating Holly Peterson's new book, It Happens in the Hamptons.

Contact DPC here.