Jewish World Review March 19, 2004 / 26 Adar, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports


Trump trumps everything; Mario vs. Joe; Trudeau pays up; more


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | NEW YORK — I hear that some of the luxury retailers in Trump Tower and directly across Fifth Ave. are a tad peeved that every single day they have to look at a humongous banner of The Donald glaring down at them and saying: "You're fired."

Trump ordered the garish banner strung up over his grand entrance two weeks ago — to celebrate his hit show "The Apprentice" — and he plans to keep it there, front and center, until the season finale on April 15.

Which assaults the refined sensibilities of the worthies in the Asprey store and the Avon spa paying top dollar to rent footage in Trump Tower between 56th and 57th Streets, and also at the Prada, Bulgari, Fendi and Van Cleef and Arpels boutiques directly across the avenue.

"I haven't heard any complaints," Trump told me. "It's the No. 1 show on television — so it's great for them."

Actually, "The Apprentice" is No. 6, but that's still pretty good.

But what about all the money and effort that went into establishing and promoting brands such as Asprey and Avon? "A lot of people would like to have my brand," Trump retorted.

MARIO VS. JOE

New York attorney and powerbroker Joe Califano Jr.'s soon-to-be published memoir, "Inside: A Public and Private Life," continues to raise hackles.

On Wednesday, former Gov. Mario Cuomo quibbled with a long passage concerning his behavior.

"He has an extraordinary amount of detail with which I don't agree," Cuomo told me after I faxed over 10 pages chronicling the governor's alleged attempts in 1987 to bully the lawyer over forming a special commission to probe official corruption. "Either he has a prodigious memory or he recorded the conversations. He seems to remember all the words of all of our conversations for pages and pages. . . . My recollections are a lot different."

Cuomo added that he still admires and respects Califano, and hopes to attend next month's book party.

In his book, Califano recounts that Cuomo picked him as chairman of the supposedly independent commission, but was reluctant to let him choose members and staff. He warned the governor that any investigation worth its salt would have to probe the Javits Convention Center and New York City milk pricing, telling Cuomo: "From news reports, it appears these issues could involve your son Andrew."

The disagreements came to head, the book says, with Cuomo's attempt to force Califano into publicly supporting a bill that would prevent the state-funded commission from investigating corruption in the state legislature.

When Califano refused even to offer an opinion, he says the governor screamed at him: "That's not good enough, Joe! I want your recommendation! . . . What I have to say is that I am signing legislation at your request (, so that no one can say I made a deal with the Legislature!"

Which is exactly what Califano suspects Cuomo had done.

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THE BRIEFING

CASE CLOSED: Four weeks ago, "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau announced in his cartoon strip the "Bush Guard Service" contest: "We're offering $10,000 cash to any witness who can definitively corroborate Mr. Bush's claim" that three decades before he became president, he served in the Alabama National Guard. "So if you served with Mr. Bush — even if only in the officers' club — we want to hear from you right now! Why? So we can put this trash story to rest and get back to the real issues." Well, it turns out that no credible witness has come forward to claim the prize, so this week, Trudeau mailed a $10,000 personal check to the USO. "We're extremely grateful for his generosity," USO Vice President John Hansen told me. But has Trudeau's check cleared? "Oh, I think he's good for it."

ANY TAKERS?: "Kill Bill" star Daryl Hannah wants to have a baby right away. "I'd be happy if I got pregnant tomorrow," she tells Jane magazine. "I have 31 nephews and nieces, and I've been at seven births with my sisters and best friends. It's definitely something I'd like to do." Meanwhile, Hannah explains her fondness for naked jogging — which I'd caution is probably not a good way to get pregnant. "Basically, we're all apes, right? I like to be unfettered whenever possible — if it's a beautiful day," she explains. "It's not like I throw off my clothes and start running out of control."



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© 2003, Creators Syndicate