December 4, 2007


A Tale of Two Giulianis: On the back of 9/11, Rudy Giuliani refashioned himself as a national hero, a top presidential candidate—and, through his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, became a very wealthy man. But the questionable backgrounds of some of the firm’s clients make one wonder what Rudy wouldn’t do to make a buck. As Giuliani’s former crony Bernard Kerik faces trial, the author uncovers troubling signs of greed, poor judgment, and conflict of interest (Michael Shnayerson, January 2008, Vanity Fair)

The other Rudy Giuliani is the one who has brazenly built a business on his 9/11 fame. Some of his clients have been large, established companies, such as Aon, the global risk-management firm that lost 175 people in the World Trade Center attack; Entergy, which operates nuclear power plants; and Delta Airlines and U.S. Airways. But a number have been scrappy little penny-stock start-ups, one of them backed by an S.E.C.-disciplined stock swindler. These are the players who have needed Giuliani most, to promote them, to open doors for them in government or business, or merely to lend them his name, at a very high price, so they can boost their stock or get bought by bigger fish. In doing business with these companies, Giuliani has sometimes created at least an appearance of poor judgment, or greed, or both. But if the crusading ex–U.S. attorney understands the importance of appearances, the other Rudy Giuliani seems oblivious to them.
From the Archives

“Cheer and Loathing in New York,” by Gail Sheehy (June 2000), about the showdown between Rudy and Hillary in that year’s Senate race—before Rudy bowed out

“Giuliani’s Princess Bride,” by Judy Bachrach (September 2007)

“Crazy for Rudy,” by Michael Wolff (June 2007)

Illustration by Risko.

Perhaps, as his most critical biographer, Wayne Barrett, suggests, Giuliani thinks his 9/11 aura will simply repel any unsavory stories about his business associations. Or perhaps he feels that, as long as no laws are broken, business is business. But those around him know enough to worry. Last year, when a binder full of confidential Giuliani campaign documents was either stolen or lost in Florida, and the contents found their way to reporters, a handwritten list of potential trouble spots in the candidate’s résumé seemed especially revealing. There, with the obvious sticky subjects—the messy divorce from Hanover, and subsequent wife Nathan—was a single word: business.

Giuliani has done an astounding number of business deals in the last six years—so many that the sheer volume may be the real reason they’ve evaded much serious scrutiny so far. But, taken together, they begin to suggest a not very attractive shape, and you don’t have to be a Democrat to see it. All you have to do is pick up a pencil and start to connect the dots.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2007 4:13 PM

Hillary! has Norman Hsu. Rudi has whomever he has.

It seems that paying the price of admission to presidential politics depends upon how much corruption you can put up and get away with.

If I recall correctly, George Washington bought booze for his supporters.

It seems, whether we choose Republicans or Democrats, that we must choose someone who best keeps their dirty laundry under wraps.

The other contenders will have their laundry examined, too.

Posted by: Ed Bush at December 4, 2007 6:09 PM