Today’s Must Read

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November 21, 2007 9:04 a.m.

Why can’t people just trust Rudy Giuliani?

As today’s piece in The Chicago Tribune points out, Giuliani is a deviation from the mold of the successful businessman turned politician. Instead, Giuliani went from politics into business, and the success of that business relied in large part on Giuliani’s continued prestige and the promise that he would eventually return to politics.

Giuliani Partners (not to be confused with Bracewell & Giuliani, the law firm he joined in 2005), which has been steadily growing since it’s formation in 2002, is a consultancy. Which is a fancy way of saying that it does whatever its clients need it to do. Mostly, that seems to have been some form of security consulting — but it’s been nearly impossible to find out, because Giuliani won’t say who the firm’s clients are or were.

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Today’s Tribune takes a look at one of those clients:

Nine days after registering his presidential exploratory committee last November, Rudolph Giuliani appeared in Singapore to help a Las Vegas developer make a pitch for a $3.5 billion casino resort….

Giuliani’s public involvement in the gaming bid began at a September 2006 news conference in Singapore hosted by Mark Advent, CEO of Eighth Wonder LLC, a Las Vegas development company heading one of three consortia competing to build the Sentosa Integrated Resort.

Giuliani Security & Safety LLC, a division of Giuliani Partners, was to provide security on a celebrity-studded, multibillion-dollar project featuring participation by soccer legend Pele, chef Alain Ducasse, New Age guru Deepak Chopra and designer Vera Wang, according to Advent.

Advent estimated that he spent more than $30 million to assemble and present his plans to Singaporean authorities.

He declined to disclose the fees paid to Giuliani, but described them as “fair and priceless.”

Besides the obvious potential conflicts of interest this creates for a future president, there’s the more pressing concern of not knowing who Giuliani has chosen to do business with. You might say his track record of business associates doesn’t quell suspicion.

The piece goes on to tug on one thread. Giuliani Partners was working for Eighth Wonder, one of the companies making the resort bid — and Eighth Wonder partnered with another company (called Melco) to make that bid. It turns out that the former CEO of that company, Stanley Ho, is “a controversial Hong Kong billionaire who has ties to the regime of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and has been linked to international organized crime by the U.S. government.” A mobbed-up casino mogul is the shorter version of that description. The company is currently run by his son.

Now, Giuliani didn’t work directly for Ho, and the spokeswoman for his firm called the link between Stanley Ho and the Eighth Wonder partnership “a stretch.” And surely, if his business ties become an issue in the campaign, there will be other relationships that will prove more troublesome. But it just goes to show what little people know about how he’s made his money for the past five years.

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