Before the New York Times or the Washington Post get a hold of this, I want to issue my denials. Yes, I am linked to Jared Kushner through our mutual involvement in 666 Fifth Avenue.
Yes, I know Kushner is struggling to obtain cash for his investment at 666 Fifth, for which $1.2 billion in debt comes due in February. I know he recently got $184 million from Apollo Global Management and $325 million from Citigroup after meeting with their executives at the White House. Not to mention the 2016 meeting with Sergey Gorkov, who heads the Russian state-affiliated Vnesheconombank (VEB), or the Kushner family’s seeking financing under the EB-5 visa program, which allows foreigners to invest $500,000 in a property in exchange for U.S. visas.
But I had nothing to do with any of that. I swear. My entanglement with 666 Fifth stems solely from Stouffer’s Top of the Six’s, the 41st-floor restaurant, with what were once considered to be fabulous views. This might suggest, wrongly, that I was a player when, in 2007, the Kushner Companies paid $1.8 billion, mostly borrowed, for 666 Fifth.
No, no, no. Yes, in the early 1960s, as a boy on a spring vacation to New York City, I was taken to the Top of the Six’s by my grandmother and mother. It was made clear to me that this was a treat, a huge treat. It was the first time I’d been in a dark restaurant, with dim little lights on the tables. I ordered the prime rib, and both my grandmother and mother said, “He’ll never finish that.” But I did.
And that was it. I never went back. The restaurant closed in 1996. I remember it fondly, vividly, but I was never consulted on the building’s purchase. By anyone. And $1.2 billion in debt, that’s just not me. No, not at all.