January 22, 2008

It’s a good Day to be a Clinton

A really good day.
Former President Clinton stands to reap around $20 million -- and will sever a politically sensitive partnership tie to Dubai -- by ending his high-profile business relationship with the investment firm of billionaire friend Ron Burkle.
On a related note, Ron Burkle raised $1 million hosting a dinner for Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign.
Mr. Clinton initially signed on with Mr. Burkle as a senior adviser to closely held Yucaipa. As part of that arrangement, Mr. Burkle agreed to give Mr. Clinton a share of the profits from two Yucaipa domestic investment funds if their returns reached a certain threshold. Mr. Clinton's adviser arrangement ended in early 2007, five years after it began. But Mr. Clinton still hasn't settled the issue of his payout. [..]

Mr. Clinton's duties and activities as a Yucaipa adviser have never been completely clear to outsiders. He has met at times with people involved in various Yucaipa business deals. And the former president's vast global network of contacts probably has been an asset for Mr. Burkle in dealings with business, labor and political leaders. Over the years, Mr. Burkle has said publicly that Mr. Clinton's prestige and connections have helped Yucaipa get its business proposals in front of top corporate decision makers.
Ron Burkle calls President Clinton invaluable.
He's invaluable," Burkle says of his idol. President Clinton "is unique, he brands us to people who matter. He got us in with the Teamsters, and that's important for deal flow going forward."

Yucaipa arranged for Clinton to make a speech at a Teamsters conference in 2003, and later Clinton urged Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. to trust Burkle and present him with possible deals. Result: This spring Yucaipa paid $100 million to buy a controlling stake in Allied Holdings, a trucking outfit in bankruptcy proceedings. "Clinton got it to the point where Hoffa actually helped us with that deal, something I couldn't have gotten on my own," Burkle says. [..]

Burkle says. "My best call in corporate America isn't one-hundredth of what President Clinton is just picking up the phone and saying 'Hey, we've got this is idea, want to come talk about it?'"
I guess you can put a price on invaluable, 20 million dollars.


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