If you're stupid rich, you're probably smart with money. If a billionaire wants to buy a floating fortress, you know he's getting the best floating fortress guy to get the best floating fortress deal, and then have his floating fortress accountants write it all off as a floating business expense. But some crazy millionaires really are just crazy, throwing away orphanage-saving amounts of money on the dumbest, most useless shit you could imagine. Stuff like ...
In Los Angeles, when you're middle class and sick, you get a doctor. When you're poor and sick, you get a doctor who got his degree from a correspondence college. But when you're rich and sick, you get a "doctor" -- someone who will prescribe you unlimited Xanax, no questions asked, while also thoroughly cleaning your chakras. What is generally not done is further asking that "doctor" to fix the entire starting bench of your Major League Baseball team.
When Jamie McCourt, one of the owners of the Dodgers, had an eye infection, she did what all rich people do and got a "doctor." Vladimir Shpunt was an aging former Soviet scientist with magic powers. In the 1980s, Shpunt started believing he could emit healing "V energy," which positively influences people over great distances. In fact, that's how he healed McCourt's eye infection. From the other side of the U.S., he sent her positive thoughts, and then, as if by magic, her eye stopped being infected. Take that, traditional medicine (which she also used)!
After witnessing such indisputable proof of the divine, McCourt and her ex-husband Frank decided that this V-wizard was what their baseball team needed. So they hired Shpunt, paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars to simply watch Dodgers games on the TV and think positive thoughts. But that makes his job seem silly and unimportant, which it definitely wasn't. After all, it was Shpunt who made the Dodgers win the National League West championship, evident by the McCourts' congratulations email with a "special thank you to vlad for all of his hard work."
And when they then tanked the next season, it was Shpunt who "diagnosed the disconnects" between the coach and the manager and got them both fired. Jamie also had him treat outfielder Jayson Werth's broken wrist, both in person and from his jim-jams at home in Boston. It went so well that Werth had to go find a real doctor on his own and miss the entire season.
Shpunt was kept on with the team until '08, when he quit himself, probably because things were getting too weird even for him. After the news came out that McCourt had employed a legit crazy person, she was kicked off the Dodgers board and had to leave the country in disgrace. By which we mean she was appointed its new CEO, and later was made ambassador to both France and Monaco by President Trump. Like we said, it's different for rich people.
Jimmy Galante was a mobster from Danbury, Connecticut who ran a multi-million-dollar garbage truck empire. He was like a real-life Tony Soprano; hell, he even had a son named A.J.! Except we don't remember an episode wherein Tony bought A.J. a sports team just so he wouldn't feel like a massive failure.
In high school, A.J. Galante was your typical teenager who loved playing hockey. But then he wrecked his knee during senior year and dashed his dreams of ever going pro. Jimmy figured that the only way for his kid to still live the dream was by coaching and managing a real professional hockey team. In the span of a few days, Galante purchased a minor league hockey team franchise, named it the Trashers, and moved them to his town's rinky-dink ice rink. A.J., a 17-year-old, was named general manager, and had to have his first press call while ducking teachers during free period.
And like any spoiled rich kid, when it came time to fill out the roster, A.J. hired the most expensive (read: violent) players he could find ... willing to play in minor league hockey. His #1 pick? Brent Gretzky, brother to Wayne.
The only way a no-name hockey league could get royalty like (the worst) Gretzky was to pay them a king's ransom. Gretzky's salary was $100,000, almost half of the teams' capped league budget. So in order to get around the silly fair play cap, Jimmy did what any mobster would do and started cooking the books. Players (and their families) would get paid through fake no-show jobs in his waste management companies, allowing for them to spend about $750,000 a year on bruisers. Galante then went on to spend another $3 million renovating the Danbury hockey stadium, even though it could only seat 3,000 people.
But the dream went up in smoke when the FBI finally raided Galante's offices. As one of Galante's assets, the Danbury Thrashers were seized and disbanded after only two glorious, excessively violent, thoroughly debauched seasons.
Domino's owner Tom Monaghan took on a struggling pizza parlor and turned it into the "Fine, if nothing else is open" empire we know today. But as a devout Christian, his true calling was never delivering his customers' pizza, but to deliver them from evil. So he used all of his cheese wealth to build a new Garden of Eden: a planned community in Florida.
Monaghan had been dirt poor when growing up, so when he finally became rich, he vowed to enjoy his wealth to the max. He loved cars, so he bought the most expensive ones on the planet. He loved architecture, so he bought almost everything Frank Lloyd Wright ever made. He loved the Detroit Tigers, so he bought them too. But eventually, Monaghan decided that what he really loved was getting into Heaven. So he made a vow of poverty and sold off his assets one by one, using it all to save as many souls as he could here on Earth. With his $250 million foundation, he started Ave Maria, the first ever gated community devoted to the Lord instead of HOA rules.
Founded in 2005 and located at the edge of the divine Corkscrew Swamp in southern Florida, the town was built to house Ave Maria University (where every study is Bible study), and is centered around the Ave Maria Church -- which, in the typical Floridian style, is the one-eyed snake of Catholic churches.
And because this is still definitely a gated community for old rich people, it also boasts of a golf course (where daily confessions are held).
For being the most divine place on Earth, Ave Maria has a lot of earthly critics. Some have dubbed it the "Catholic Jonestown" because of Monaghan's cultish undertones. By his divine will, the town has no pornography, access to contraception, or (presumably) any good pizza places.
Ball may be life, but the wealthy play the game differently than the rest of us. Oracle CEO and big-time billionaire Larry Ellison is a huge basketball fanatic -- so big that he's even considered buying the Los Angeles Clippers, which is its own kind of charity work. But like any billionaire, Ellison is also a big fan of yachts, and owns several, including the 10th-largest in the world. So it didn't take long for this tech genius to figure out how to combine his two greatest pleasures in a wildly decadent way.
That's right, not one but two of Ellison's yachts have entire basketball courts. When on his yachts, Ellison shoots hoops at least twice a day to relax, because nothing is more relaxing than playing basketball on a wet floor on a ship rocking back and forth.
But it can never be said that Ellison is the wasteful type of massive yacht-owning billionaire. Firstly, the courts double as helipads. Secondly, Ellison has hired a personal gofer to sail in a small boat behind the yacht in order to retrieve any basketballs that get shot over the fence into Poseidon's backyard. Welp, "Personal Aquatic Basketball Retrieval Captain" has got to be the weirdest job description we've ever heard of.
Steve Cohen is one of the successful hedge fund managers in the world, with a current net worth of $12.8 billion. And all of that is more impressive when you find out that he likes to throw money away like fast food napkins. Where do we even begin with this guy's frivolous spending? Oh right, how about the shark?
That sucker up there is (unless you ask your granddad) a work of art. It's a shark pickled in formaldehyde. The work is titled The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living. Created by real-life Alice In Wonderland character Damien Hirst, the world's most expensive brined fish was commissioned in the early '90s for today's equivalent of $95,000. But when our man Cohen wanted to buy the shark, he didn't kid around with the bid. He didn't offer twice its value, or ten times its value, but nearly a hundred times its contemporary value, reeling in the shark for a reported $8 million (though some sources claim it was actually closer to $12 million).
Now, that is maybe too much money for a dead shark, but it's definitely too much money for a rotten dead shark. The artwork was nearing the end of its shelf life when Cohen bought it, but he was perfectly aware of that. In fact, he felt so bad for the previous owner, mogul Charles Saatchi, that he offered to get him a new, fresh shark for Hirst to turn into art. Cohen not only helped Mr. Hirst find a professional preserver so that the new shark wouldn't rot as quickly, but he also paid for everything, adding at least several hundred thousand dollars to his bill. All for a work that was already past its expiration date.
Speaking of things well past their shelf life: Guy Fieri. Living his best billionaire life, Cohen allegedly once paid Fieri $100,000 to drive around with him through Connecticut, eating hot dogs and pretending like they were on his TV show Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives. After being his paid escort, Fieri became a close friend with the billionaire for real, and Cohen later appeared on the show when Fieri visited Steve's favorite restaurant, Super Duper Weenie.
It looks like he paid $100,000 for an appearance, but wound up getting a friendship thrown in. Now that's good business.
Peter I. Santiago is outrageously not wealthy, but has a Facebook page you will like.
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