A high-wattage gathering of Hollywood moguls feted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Brentwood on Thursday night, raising nearly $600,000 for his reelection campaign and quietly discussing their hope that Cuomo will seek presidency, if Hillary Clinton decides not to run.
Behind Hillary, he's the second pick," said one attendee at the evening gathering, held at the Spanish-style manse of Fox Film chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos and his wife Ann.
Cuomo addressed the crowd -- which included Jeffrey Katzenberg, MPAA chief Chris Dodd and NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt -- from a podium set up in Gianopulos' backyard. About 150 people -- who paid between $5,000 and $25,000 to attend the event -- stood under heaters as Cuomo boasted about his state's tax credit program for movie and TV production, saying he hopes to lure more filming to New York. He also surprised some members of the audience by "trash talking" Eliot Spitzer, saying his predecessor created a mess at the statehouse.
His straight talk delighted the crowd. "It was like we were listening to Mario," said one insider. "He was great," said Katzenberg, whose political consultant, Andy Spahn, helped organize the event.
Co-hosts include a selection of entertainment industry A-listers. Among them: Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, Paramount’s Brad Grey, Sony CEO, Michael Lynton, Disney chairman Alan Horn, CBS CEO Les Moonves, NBC Universal’s Jeff Shell and Ron Meyer, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and Dodd.
Cuomo hands out the Hollywood tax credit to studios wherein NY State essentially pays them to film in New York and they pay him back by feting him in Hollywood, handing him $600,000 in cash and talking him up for president in 2016.
How is this not quid pro quo?