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No Palm Beacher's have taken the billionaire Giving Pledge yet



By Dian Vujovich

Well, how do you like that! When I read through the list of billionaires who accepted Warren Buffett’s and Bill Gates’ invitation asking America’s ultra-rich to commit to giving half of their wealth to philanthropy, I expected to find at least one Palm Beacher’s name on the list. Wrong! Yes, Ron Perelman has made The Giving Pledge commitment, but he no longer lives on the island.

This, I find, kind of shameful—not that Perelman no longer lives here but that no PBer has stepped up to the golden plate.

Palm Beach has always stood out as one of the toniest and most expensive places to live in the U.S. and chock full of bagillionaires. In a state where there is no income tax and a town with spectacular sea views, you’d think that there would be few charitable folks around. It appears, however, that’s not the case.

Then again, between the stock market and Bernie Madoff, the coffers of the wealthy ain’t what they used to be. Even so, isn’t there at least one Palm Beacher with a few billion who wants to hang out with the elite few on The Giving Pledge list?

Hey, here’s a thought: How about Jeff Greene? He likes hanging with folks whose names capture the headlines. Plus, he lives in town, even worked at The Breakers as a kid, and is supposed to be worth billions. Why just the other day it was reported that Greene reached out to Warren Buffett —regarding, however, another matter all together.

Apparently Greene, whom we all know is running for a political office that he doesn’t really make very clear in his awfully expensive looking TV ad campaign, contacted Buffett to whine about an ad Greene’s Democrat opponent Kendrick Meek was running (Meek’s campaign ads, btw, don’t have a slick pricey look to them but happen to be very clear about the position he’s seeking.)

Anyhow, I thought that move was kind of small on Greene’s part. Then again, I’m not a big time billionaire with a political bent and super-sized ego who wants a job with great benefits.

I don’t know if Greene and Buffet ever really verbally connected. But if they did, what a perfect time for Buffett to make an I’ll-consider-scratching-your-back-if-you-donate-billions deal. And wouldn’t that be sweet. Then we could say that Palm Beach has at least one person residing here who is worth billions and willing to give half of their wealth away.

If I knew Mr. Greene, I’d tell him that being the first in Palm Beach to commit to The Giving Pledge is a public perception opportunity too good to pass up. In these days when image matters, doing so would sure look a whole lot better than seeing a real estate bubble coming, betting on it, making billions from that bet and then keeping the entire fortune all to yourself.

Find out who is on The Giving Pledge list at http://www.givingpledge.org.


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