Aaron Phillips, Author at My First Class Life

Aaron Phillips

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Cartier’s Motto: Diamonds and Gems on Everything for the Ultra Rich

For nearly 175 years, Cartier’s name has been a symbol for opulent wealth and high status. The London-based jeweler comes from humble beginnings, but they’ve worked their way to the top of the luxury goods market. In fact, it’s not Cartier’s penchant for gluing rubies on anything that will sit still for it, but instead their willingness to innovate, which has caused them to grow into a worldwide brand.

Cartier: Putting Diamonds on Pretty Much Everything Since 1847

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There aren’t too many other jewelers with Cartier’s reputation for decadence and quality, and it’s a reputation that they’ve certainly earned. In fact, some of the most glamorous, over the top pieces have been put on public display recently. The creatively-named Denver Art Museum’s exhibition features some of Cartier’s greatest hits from the 20th century, and people are lining up to see them all.

One striking piece shows off a huge emerald, making it the centerpiece of a diamond and gold necklace. Owned and worn by the Countess of Granard, it’s literally fit for royalty.

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In fact, many of Cartier’s pieces have been worn by royals over the years. The Duchess of Windsor commissioned a brooch in the shape of a flamingo, detailing the bird with opulent gemstones.

Jewels Formerly Owned By The Duchess Of Windsor To Be Auctioned At Sothebys

Incredible timepieces are another thing that Cartier’s is famous for. This striking clock, with an Egyptian motif done in mother of pearl and lapis lazuli, was purchased by Mrs. George Blumenthal in the 1920’s and lent out to the museum for display.

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It’s not just the latte-sipping museum crowd who is excited to see what Cartier can do, though. At this year’s SIHH, a Geneva convention for luxury watches and high-end jewelry, Cartier stole the show. As you might expect, their watches were brilliantly designed, absolutely packed with precious gems, and crafted with an attention to detail which sets Cartier apart even from other world-class jewelers.

Twinkling Diamonds and Gold Panthers

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One of the innovations that the jeweler put on display was their Serti Vibrant gem setting. This setting, which is completely unique to Cartier, makes every carat count by moving the gemstones on the watch face slightly. A vibrating watch sounds silly, but just take a look at the way that the facets of each diamond catch the light and twinkle.

 Cartier Serti Vibrant Watch Wrapped in Diamonds

Cartier’s SIHH showing wasn’t all technological tricks, though. Their new Metiers de Art line of men’s watches were much more traditional, but still stunned spectators with their over the top use of gemstones and incredible craftsmanship.

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One of the big favorites with the crowd was Cartier’s Reversed Tourbillon — available today for just a bit more than $122,000 — flipped one of their most popular men’s watches inside out.

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Another piece that Cartier showed at SIHH features a pair of leopards on the face, rendered in delicate gold filigree and accentuated by dozens of carats worth of gemstones.

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If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It

Wearing any of these Cartier watches sure does make a statement. In a world where every broker and businessman has a gold Rolex, Cartier offers a way for people of exceptional taste and wealth to let the nouveau riche know that they’re a step behind you. If you’re at the top of your game, or just willing to sell your house in order to buy a watch, Cartier has proven time and time again that they’re the brand to buy.

Muammar Gaddafi Net Worth: The King of Kings Extravagant Spending Habits

Muammar Abu Meniar el-Gaddafi was born in 1942 south of Sirte, Libya, located in the North African desert.

The son of a poor Bedouin nomad, Gaddafi lived a modest life in his family’s remote desert camp until the age of 9, at which point he went away to school. While a student, Gaddafi was inspired by the speeches of the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and quickly became a committed Arab nationalist. While in school, Gaddafi became involved in organizing his fellow students into revolutionary study groups.

Gaddafi was commissioned into the Libyan army in 1965, where he shortly began laying groundwork for an overthrow of the Libyan monarch – whom he considered a pawn of West-European nations. Gaddafi acted quickly, and in just four years he took control of the army and seized power in a coup d’état, effectively overthrowing King Idris.

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Since assuming power, Gaddafi has given strong support to a wide variety of terrorist groups and regimes. Gaddafi saw himself as a revolutionary, and a pious Muslim called upon by Allah to continue the work of Nasser.

Muammar Gaddafi was able to build his unmatched wealth due to his violent control over Libya’s natural resources – specifically the country’s abundant oil. Thanks to the vast supply of Libyan oil, Gaddafi managed to print money for over 40 years. At the time of his death, he had enough money to distribute more than thirty thousand dollars to each of Libya’s 6.6 million citizens. For those not interested in doing the arithmetic – the controversial leader died with an estimated net worth of over $200 billion, spread out all over the world.

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At the start of the Libyan conflict, authorities found and seized approximately $65 billion of his wealth, most of which was hidden in bank accounts all over the world. A number of European countries including England, France, Germany and Italy, have all found billions quietly tucked away in their banks. Interestingly enough, the Obama administration also found close to $40 billion hidden (admittedly not too well) in the United States. While Gaddafi has been dead for quite some time now, authorities and U.N investigators are still waiting for many countries to resolve what Gaddafi might have hidden within their borders. While Gaddafi might not have hid his banks accounts as well as he had hoped, billions of dollars worth of gold hidden in Libya is yet to be discovered.

This type of wealth is hard for anyone to fully comprehend. Gaddafi is one of the richest people of all time. To compare – Gaddafi was three times as rich as Carlos Slim, four times as rich as the business tycoon Warren Buffett, and ten times as rich as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

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Having wealth of this magnitude is sure to get to anyone’s head, as was the case with this troublesome political figure, as well. Gaddafi saw himself as a fashion icon, and he often changed his outfit multiple times a day. He was often spotted wearing all gold everything, and often rocking some quality Versace frames.

Obviously his vast wardrobe was not the only luxury that the colonel allowed himself. He spent his money left and right, often without thinking twice. But then again – who would? With his virtually never-ending stream of cash, Gaddafi didn’t need to worry about ever running out. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the extravagant and lavish purchases that the Brotherly Leader has made throughout his reign.

Among the long list of his assets is a luxurious London mansion. The beautiful eight-bedroom house is also a home to a long list of amenities only the ultra rich can imagine. Besides having a swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, a suede-lined movie theatre, the house also has a fully electric garbage store that raises and lowers eight trash bins into the ground, where a steel plate folds over to hide them discreetly.

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While Gaddafi loathed the United States, he still owned some property in New Jersey. His New Jersey mansion comes equipped with a tennis court, a shooting range, and a giant pool.

The revolutionary owned much more real estate, but to shift gears from his houses let’s take a look at some of his transportation means. First on the list is his private airliner – Afriqiyah One – Airbus A340, which cost him approximately $150 million. The aircraft was reported to have silver leather bound armchairs, blood-red and grey carpets on the floor, and nightclub like spotlights scattered all over the interior. Much like with the rest of his belongings, this beautiful plane showcased his extravagant tastes, and tremendous wealth. The only thing more impressive than owning a private jet, is owning two (or three, if you’re Gaddafi.)

Unfortunately the colonel couldn’t enjoy his aircraft too much (at least not from the sky), since Nato imposed a no-fly zone over Libya. While a slight inconvenience, this problem wasn’t much of a concern, as Gaddafi owned a number of beautiful cars that would transport him anywhere he wanted to go.

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The most notable vehicle in his collection is a 230-hp V6 beast that Gaddafi designed himself. The car was build as a response to the increasing number of car accident deaths and injuries suffered on Libyan roads. The Libyan Rocket is built with safety being of equal concern to style. The car is equipped with many airbags, an electronic defense system, and specialty, collapsible bumpers that supposedly help in an event of a serious crash. While super safe, Gaddafi didn’t cut any corners with the design of the exterior. The machine has the nose and tail of a rocket, and one needs to see it in its full glory in order to fully appreciate it.

These assets are just the tip of the iceberg, as no one knows for sure exactly what the Gaddafi family owns around the world. What is known for certain is that Gaddafi squeezed all he could out of the Libyan people to support his ridiculously lavish lifestyle.

Vertu: The Mobile Phone For The Filthy Rich

Vertu – the manufacturer of handmade, luxury phones – is headquartered in the United Kingdom. Although the company was originally established as a subsidiary of Nokia in 1998, the phone manufacturer was since sold to a private equity group (EQT VI) for an undisclosed amount. Rumor has it that the deal total was in the neighborhood of 200 million, with Nokia retaining a 10% share of the company.

“In 1995, Frank Nuovo, the chief designer of Nokia, had an idea that mobile communication devices would one day be available not just in the mass market, but also in the luxury market. That idea was discussed and talked about for several years.” This is the president of Vertu talking, regarding their brand in 2000.

The idea behind their phones was to design a device that is a union of craftsmanship and technology. The beautifully designed handsets simply scream extravagance, and exclusivity. In essence, Vertu to the cellular device market is what the Rolex is to the wristwatch. The phones are crafted only from the best materials available on Earth (more on that later), and each handmade device undergoes a series of extensive and stringent quality checks.

When shopping for a Vertu phone, the price becomes rather hard to ignore. Since these cutting-edge devices run between $10,000 and $25,000, the cost of the phone is practically part of the feature set.

So, what exactly makes the Vertu phone so pricey?

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Well, besides providing exclusivity, the phones are also rather well made. While, the original Vertu line up ran on the Symbian operating system, newer models ship with the latest Android software.

Next, let’s look at the hardware. Using Vertu Signature Touch as an example; the phone’s large 4.7-inch touch screen is coated with a sheet of sapphire crystal, making it nearly impossible to scratch. In fact, unless you have diamonds lining your pockets, you can safely bet that the display stays in its pristine condition during its lifespan. That being said, if you fall under the category of people willing to drop upwards of $20k on a mobile phone, you may also be part of the subset of people carrying diamonds in their pockets, so beware.

Another factor that adds to the cost of the phones are the materials used in production and the build quality of the phone. Some of the materials responsible for the exorbitant price of the device (including the scratch-resistant, sapphire screen) are: strong and durable titanium (or gold, depending on your taste), some ceramic is used around the earpiece of the handset, and premium animal hide is used to coat the back of the device. These are just a few, among many other luxury materials used in production.

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It is also worth mentioning that a single builder assembles each individual phone by hand in a factory in England. If you own a Vertu phone and are curious to see who assembled it, you can look for the etching of the builder’s name on the underside of the SIM door.

Since the company went all out with the production materials, it comes as no surprise that the phone feels great in the hand. When you’re holding a Vertu phone, you instantly know that you’re holding a premium device. Using the Vertu Signature Touch as a reference point, we can get a feel for the whole extravagant line up.

Coming in at a hefty 6.77oz, the phone is nearly twice as heavy as an iPhone 5. The heavier, seemingly more sturdy build of the Signature Touch pairs nicely with the rather strong haptic feedback from its high definition touchscreen. Interestingly enough, it has been reported that Vertu phones tend to smell just as nice as they look. The stitched calfskin apparently emits “a rich, intoxicating leathery scent,” or to translate this quote to consumer English, “just another quality to add to the already heavy price tag”.

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While the Vertu lineup is sure to please the senses, that’s not the only quality-set that sets these phones apart from the rest of the market. There are two other ‘special’ features that are worth a look – the in house Concierge service and the Silent Circle encryption.

Privacy is clearly something that Vertu holds in high regard, and their customers can rest assured that their text messages and phone conversations are locked down. Vertu phones use voice, video-chat and text encryption powered by Silent Circle. Emails, are unfortunately not protected under this feature. Another thing to keep in mind, is that the receiving party must also be running the Silent Circle encryption in order to enjoy full end-to-end encryption. Also noteworthy – Silent Circle services are free for the first year, but require a subscription afterwards.

In fact, pretty much any special feature of the Vertu phone requires a subscription of one sort or another. Since the company already managed to sell you their $15k phone, chances are rather good that they can milk you for some more easy money. A great example of this ingenious marketing is the Concierge service that comes with every Vertu classic.

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Much like Silent Circle encryption, the Concierge is free for the first year, but the price is then bumped to about $3,000 yearly. This service – or feature, whatever you want to call it – grants you access to a personal assistant 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. You press a small button on the side of the phone, the Concierge app gets fired up – and a real, live person is ready to take your requests. Needless to say, quite a bit more intricate than Apple’s Siri.

When talking to someone from the Concierge, you can request any number of things, and the assistant on the other side will make them happen (within limits of reason, of course). From getting a cab, to securing seats in the VIP section of a popular club, the Concierge service does it all. When initiating the service for the first time and setting up your profile you can choose include your credit card number so that you can be billed directly for plane trips, exotic vacations, and concert tickets booked via the Concierge.

While this service is not cheap, it is certainly convenient. Chances are, if you’re buying a Vertu phone, you’re not worried about the yearly costs of the Concierge. If you are concerned with the cost of these extra features, though, then chances are you’re not the type of person that Vertu is after.

The CEO commented – “Many of our customers desire and appreciate the compact size of Vertu products that comfortably fit inside the pocket of a well-tailored suit, or in an expensive clutch bag.”

While there is definitely a market for uber expensive phones, the question remains – is the Vertu phone really worth 50+ iPhones? Additionally, there are some serious limitations regarding Vertu’s internal engineering; specifically their lack of expandable storage and a mediocre battery life. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Vertu phones generally last half a day on a single charge. On the other hand, if you ever find yourself running low on juice, you can just ask your assistant or butler to plug it in.

Kanye West Net Worth: Adidas Yeezy Deal Adds to $155 Million Fortune

Love him or hate him — and a lot of people sure do seem to hate him — Kanye West is one of the hottest self-made, 21st century entrepreneurs. He’s risen from middle-class roots in Chicago to the top of the music industry, and then gone on to successfully leverage his fame to make big profits with business after business.

Net Worth is $130 Million and Growing

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The performer’s net worth before he was married was estimated to be $130 million, and it’s only grown since. He mostly made his money in the music game, first producing and then releasing records of his own. To date, West has stacked up 12 platinum records and sold about 20 million records in addition to his tour dates, investments, and other ventures.

Kanye Couldn’t Make Money Selling Fast Food To Americans

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While most of his business deals seem to work out, Yeezie does have a few flops. One of the most prominent is his unsuccessful plan to bring California’s Fatburger chain to the Windy City. Chicago didn’t care for the burgers, and West’s planned franchise expansion into 10 locations never made it past the first three. All of the Chicago Fatburger locations are now shuttered, and Kanye lost cash on the failed venture.

Can’t Tell Him Nothing

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Clearly though, Kanye’s biggest enemy isn’t his business sense, it’s his ego. He’s inspired eye-rolls and grumbles after interrupting the Grammy awards, not once but twice, in order to let the world know how much he loves Beyonce. That sort of self-confidence is great for branding when you’re young, but will people be so forgiving as the star ages and loses touch with what’s hot? Fortunately, that’s not likely to happen. Kanye wisely chose to keep himself grounded by marrying Kim Kardashian, a woman who is famous for nothing if not being calm and stable.

Kardashian Merger Makes Huge Back-End Profits

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Kanye’s oversized ego might make the rest of the world cringe, but it’s right at home in the Kardashian family. Kanye and Kim’s lavish $12 million Paris-to-Florence destination wedding had everything you could possibly imagine and more. Kanye’s nothing if not a shrewd businessman — and a good judge of character — so the prenup leaves Kim with $1 million for every year that she can tolerate being married to a man who is essentially a walking infomercial for himself.

Since their marriage, KimYe have combined their fortunes for a total net worth of at least $155 million, depending on which report you read. The power couple is continuing to keep the media buzzing about them at any cost, showing up for gossipy guest appearances on Kris Jenner’s talk show and bringing their baby North to outdoor photoshoots at New York’s frigid fashion week.

Yeezy’s Kicks Make Millions Despite Fashion Flop

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Speaking of fashion week, Kanye’s latest venture includes a clothing line and a personalized pair of $350 Adidas trainers. Yeezy’s attempt at haute couture was widely panned as a flop by none other than acid-tongued Anna Wintour. The shoes were so popular, though, that they took a cue from their namesake and sold out as soon as they possibly could. Adidas is poised to make millions on the deal, burning through their initial supply of 9,000 pairs over the course of a weekend.

If this latest business move is any indication, the world is going to be seeing a lot of Kanye West for a very long time. Lucky us.

Overnight Millionaires With Bitcoin: Everything You Need To Know About The Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin has been building an online following for awhile because it offers something unique that investors want. Some people also like the idea that you can generate cash essentially from nowhere, letting a gadget the size of your toaster run 24/7 for a shot at a few bucks. It’s also appealing to investors looking for big gains on a risky new currency, or a way for online shoppers to anonymously buy just about anything under the sun.

Coinbase, a regulated Bitcoin exchange, officially came online just last week, lending a little bit more credibility to the cutting-edge currency. Over the course of 2013 Bitcoin made huge gains, piling on nearly 6500% in value in order to trade as high as $1250 per coin. The exchange rate has since fallen to what the market sees as a more realistic valuation, averaging about $230 per coin. However, the rise in Bitcoin prices turned a lot of nerdy hobbyists into overnight millionaires.

Bitcoin Millionaires

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The way that Bitcoin itself is set up, and the fact that it’s only recently been seen as a reportable asset, makes the exact number of Bitcoin millionaires a bit of a mystery. A few investors, like Jered Kenna and Charlie Shrem have come forward, giving out interviews to big business websites like Bloomberg after price jumps in 2013. Kenna cleared a cool $1,400,000 on his 5,000 Bitcoins when the priced surged over $280 in April of 2013.

Other Bitcoin success stories, like Roger Ver, have made their money by approaching the cryptocurrency in a more traditional way. Ver helped to set up BitInstant, and unofficial exchange that was built to help fill the gap left behind when Mt. Gox went belly up. Since becoming involved in the currency as a consultant, he has gone on to drop his holdings in the Yen and US Dollar in order to focus on Bitcoin exclusively, to the tune of millions of dollars in profits.

Getting in the Game

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If you’re interested in making an investment in Bitcoins, there are a few things you need to know. The first is that Bitcoin is volatile, with no national GDP to prop it up, the currency is known to swing wildly especially when there is movement in the market because of outside forces. Since Bitcoin doesn’t rely on any one nation to set its intrinsic value, to a certain extent it looks to worldwide events — for better or worse. European banking woes are just as likely to cause swings in the value of Bitcoin, as is improving American domestic housing demand. It may well be the first truly international currency.

Another key fact to keep in mind before you jump into Bitcoin is the fact that a huge amount is sitting dormant. The anonymous inventor behind Bitcoin holds hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the currency in an account that’s never been touched. If, or when, that money starts to move it could have huge consequences for the market value of Bitcoin. Nobody knows exactly who’s holding it or what they plan to do with it, but those untouched coins could be used as big leverage to move the whole market.

A Good Idea with a Bad Reputation

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The bottom line is that Bitcoin is still mostly seen as a way to anonymously buy black market goods or as a high-stakes investment opportunity. Legitimate currency traders might be looking on with a scowl, but Bitcoin has already demonstrated that it has the potential to make millionaires out of its early adopters. Still, its been tainted by its use as the de facto currency behind online drug marketplace Silk Road.

Following in Bitcoin’s Financial Footsteps

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Bitcoin, for better or worse, has been so successful that it’s opened the door for a bunch of other copycat currencies. Other cryptobucks are using a similar model, with some small updates, in order to give consumers more options when it comes to spending money anonymously. Both Dogecoin, named after a popular meme, and Litecoin are widely used in some of the same places where Bitcoin is accepted, and both tend to be more affordable and stable.

Bitcoin’s potential for huge gains, its inherent anonymity, and the buying power that it grants its users, all mean that this currency won’t be going away anytime soon. Whether or not that means you should get involved depends mostly on your tolerance for risk in the name of profits..

The Rothschild’s: Behind the Closed Doors of the Richest Family in the History of the World

The Rothschild family has grown into one of the most prominent, and controversial, lines of wealth and power in the world. The saga of the Rothschilds began in the 16th century and still continues to this day. It all began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a banker who elevated his family from poor peasants living in a crowded hovel, all the way up to the heights of fortune and fame.

A Fortune Built on Nepotism

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Amschel Rothschild started his business by exchanging currencies across European countries, providing his services to the elite, including princes and kings. As his business grew, Amschel was able to open up multiple branches across the continent, which he put his children in charge of running. Before Mayer passed away, he would leave his entire fortune to his five sons.

Keeping the wealth and business in the family was a large point of concern for the Rothschilds. Routinely, Mayer Rothschild would arrange marriages between first cousins. Although it wasn’t taboo at the time, the thought of building wealth and power by sleeping with your relatives seems more than a little bit icky today.

Expanding Across Europe

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When the family finally ran out of attractive cousins to marry, the Rothschilds began to spread out. They expanded their empire all across Europe, opening branches in England, France, Italy, and Austria. The family kept doing what they do best, made an absolute ton of money and grew in power and influence.

By 1980 the business had thousands of employees, but trouble was looming on the horizon. The French President, Francois Mitterrand, nationalized the local Rothschild banking branch and changed the name to Compagnie Europeenne de Banque. Instead of accepting these changes, Baron David de Rothschild opted to fight back, opening Rothschild & Cie Banque in order to compete with his former business.

Trials and Tribulations

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While things were bad in France, times were even worse in Austria. World War II was the start of the family’s dramatic fall. All of the Rothschild palaces that were located in Austria were seized by Nazi Germany and the family was forced to flee. With the turbulence and looting that followed, it wasn’t until 1999 that the Austrian government was able to recover most of the belongings lost in the war.

The family also had its fair share of infighting and internal problems. They were split over their support for Zionism, with many family members directly supporting the Israeli state. Not only has this lead to the majority of conspiracy theories, but the Rothschilds have also seen their fortune diminished in disputes over land and commodities in the troubled area.

Giving A Little Bit Back

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Philanthropy was also a large part of the Rothschild family. The arts were very important to the family, and an undisclosed amount has been given to support museums and collections. It is estimated that their contributions are well into the tens of millions of dollars. There are museums all across Europe today that still proudly display artwork donated by the Rothschilds, in galleries built through their generous donations.

A Continuing Legacy

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There are still many members of the Rothschild family that live today. These include Hannah Rothschild, Robert Baron Rothschild and Victoria Katherine Rothschild. Although the name is not as powerful as it once was, there is no doubt that the Rothschilds were one of the most influential and richest in world history. Without them, the face of England, Europe, and talk radio would have looked very different.

50 Cent Net Worth: Shutting Down the Haters with Stacks of Cash

Curtis James Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, was on Instagram last week posing with a huge pile of cash. He posted the photo of himself flashing the peace sign and holding a banded stack of $50 bills, worth $5,000, sitting in front of a pile of countless other stacks. To top it off, 50 shared the photo with the caption “Still got a little pocket money.” If nothing else, Jackson must have some pretty deep pockets.

Fat Stacks

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Throughout his 15-year music career, 50 Cent has gained a reputation for being real, acting tough, and getting paid. Of the three, it’s easy to argue he’s best at getting paid. Jackson’s net worth is estimated to be over $240 million, making him one of the richest rappers. He’s so rich that his record producer is even named ‘Money.’

Curtis Jackson broke through into the rap world after recording a popular track on Eminem’s movie ‘8-Mile.’ His first album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” was such a huge success that it debuted at number 1 on Billboard and went platinum 6 times. All that success translates to cash, and 50 started making it right away, trading in his old life hustling drugs on the street for fame and fortune.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

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For all the stacks of cash the rapper has made, 50 hasn’t been able to put his old life entirely behind him. After his first arrest for selling crack in 1994, which was followed up by a second arrest three weeks later when cops raided his home and found even more drugs, 50 Cent has been in and out of jail and took part in violent feuds with other artists.

As recently as August of 2013, Jackson has been dragged in front of a judge in order to answer for his behavior. His latest problems stem from domestic violence and vandalism charges levelled by then-girlfriend Daphne Joy who said the rapper kicked her and ransacked her bedroom before fleeing the scene of the crime after police were called. He might not be on the same level as Chris Brown, but the fact is that issues with anger, violence, and thirsty hos have plagued the rapper’s career.

Not A Role Model

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50 has been pretty vocal about the fact that he isn’t a role model, just a man who came from nothing and got rich because he worked hard. Nobody’s arguing with the fact that maybe kids shouldn’t be looking up to the drug dealer-turned-artist, but for all of his bluster and history of violence Jackson seems to be settling into his first class life pretty well.

The artist counts his cash from a mansion in Connecticut, valued at $10.9 million, that sits on a private lake. The 48,500 square foot property has 21 bedrooms and 25 bathrooms, marble floors, a huge home theater and recording studio, and multiple pools and hot tubs. He might not be a role model, but plenty of people would kill to emulate Jackson’s rags to riches life.

Crazy, Rich, Spoiled Billionaires Continue to Waste the Courts Time in Multi-Year Feud

What do you get when you mix two billionaires with way too much time on their hands, and the hot Bahamas sun? An epic very public slap-fight between them, of course! Two billionaire neighbors who can’t stand eachother are engaged in the grown up version of arguing over whose Father is stronger, having now launched a multi-national defamation lawsuit. The court case, which is only the latest entry in the epic feud between hedge fund manager Louis Bacon and Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard, is underway in New York. Preliminary hearings are being held there despite the alleged incidents all having occurred in the Bahamas.

A Back And Forth History Of Jerkdom

Among other accusations, Nygard maintains that Bacon has killed people, supports the KKK, routinely bribes island officials, and smuggles narcotics. Bacon, obviously upset that Nygard has taken the claims public on the island, has filed suit for defamation of character. The two fully grown, successful men have a history of going back and forth at each other, making outlandish claims and involving local and American authorities in their dispute.

For his part, Nygard has gone so far as to organize public protests where marchers held signs condemning Bacon’s alleged white nationalism and role in the KKK, a claim which hasn’t been substantiated in fact. Although this latest court case turns the tables, Nygard has previously sued Bacon successfully for libel, after the hedge fund manager produced an inflammatory video alleging that Nygard used Canadian sweatshop labor in order to create the stripes on the flannel he uses in his Canadian fashion, or something equally as ridiculous.

Fun In The Sun

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Bacon and Nygard have been neighbors on the island for decades, and each man owns a beautiful home surrounded by lush tropical landscapes, exotic women, and gorgeous beachfront ocean views. Either one of them can have anything they desire at a moment’s notice, due to their vast personal wealth.

However, neither man appears capable of stepping back, taking a breath, and realizing that two billionaires who live in the Bahamas could be having a better time doing literally anything other than antagonizing each other. That is, of course, assuming that the two men are capable of getting joy out of something other than professionally and personally destroying a fellow billionaire, which does not appear to be true.

What’s Next?

As the court case proceeds, Bacon will make the case that he does not, in fact, routinely smuggle drugs and fugitive criminals, commit arson, and murder people, all charges which Nygard has publicly levelled at his neighbor — a man whom he probably has more in common with than he has differences, due to their shared wealth and privilege.

While it’s possible that the judge may throw the case out entirely because none of the actions have occurred on American soil, it’s just as likely that he will award monetary damages. Unfortunately for both men, any damages that Nygard is forced to pay will be only a tiny fraction of his truly massive wealth, and any settlement that Bacon receives will be just a drop in the bucket compared to his multi-billion dollar fortune, so it’s unlikely that either man will stop acting like a spoiled brat any time soon.

Chinese Bankers Receive Death Sentence After Stealing Millions, Buying Lottery Tickets

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If you needed proof that American-style capitalism is alive and well in modern China, then look no further. In 2007, two Chinese bankers thought they had struck gold. They stumbled on a plan to leverage their position in finance in order to fund a high risk venture. That is, they stole a bunch of money from their employer, the state-owned Agriculture Bank of China in Hebei, and then bought lottery tickets.

A Surprisingly Strong Q1

The truly surprising part of the story is that things went largely according to plan, at least to begin with. The banker that hatched the scheme, Ren Xiofeng, not only won the lottery but was able to replace the missing funds before his bosses even noticed the money was gone. Somewhere, on an extremely comfortable minimum-security prison yard, Bernie Madoff was smiling dickishly.

Of course — just like with horse racing, hoarding gold, playing the slots, or buying Bitcoin — there’s no guarantee of a sure thing. Ren’s plan began to come apart when he decided to double down, bringing coworker and fellow vault manager Ma Xianjang into the fold in order to help him steal even more of the bank’s money. The pair managed to make off with the equivalent of $6.6 million in two separate heists, and again prudently invested the money in lottery tickets.

Liquidity And Other Problems

When, surprisingly, they didn’t manage to hit the jackpot twice in a row, the bankers did what any reasonable pair of embezzlers would do when the heat was on: They ran away, with fake IDs and expensive cars purchased with what was left of their cash. Once their bosses caught on to the missing money and reported it to the Chinese authorities, it sparked one of the largest manhunts in the country’s history, landing the savvy businessmen at the top of the Chinese Most Wanted List.

After the pair were inevitably caught and brought to justice, they showed the world one key difference between Chinese and Western capitalism by being put to death on April 1st, 2008. If nothing else, Ren Xiofeng and Ma Xianjiang have proven that even though embezzling has an excellent ROI, unless you cover your assets the risk-adjusted return makes it a bad choice in the long run — especially when the auditors have a firing squad.