Monday, May 30, 2005
When none other than The Donald says, "He spent money like it was water," then you know you're in the big leagues. Trump was talking about Alberto Vilar, who is currently sitting in jail spending the weekend locked up after being unable to meet the $10 million cash bail set at a hearing on Friday. Vilar is a leading patron of the arts, particularly the Metropolitan Opera and the Vilar Center for the Arts at Beaver Creek (CO), and a investment fund manager who has been accused of stealing $5 million from a client account to make good on charitable pledges. The Vilar Center website (here) says the following about him:
Now Alberto heads Amerindo Investment Advisors, Inc., a firm that pioneered investing in young technology companies twenty years ago. Performing arts remain Vilar's avocation and passion, and he has a particular affinity for opera and ballet, as well as symphonic, classical choral and chamber concert music. "Culture enriches our life," says Alberto. "'What would life be without Mozart?' as the saying goes." So when the opportunity to construct a world class performing and visual arts center in Beaver Creek came about, Alberto Vilar played a major role in its creation by making a significant naming contribution.
Federal authorities arrested Vilar on Thursday evening, May 26, at the airport in Newark as he returned from a financial conference in Las Vegas. One of his investment funds, the Amerindo Technology Fund, was a darling of the tech stock boom in the late 1990s, and crashed as hard as any fund in 2001. A New York Times article (here) details Vilar's various charitable contributions -- and related demands for attention for his generosity -- along with his successes and failures as an investment advisor. This case will be the next great New York high society prosecution, perfect for the summer gossip-fests in the Hamptons. (ph)