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The Liar's Ball: The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World's Toughest Tycoons by Vicky Ward

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Chapter 2 Alpha Males

You need people who are loyal to you if you are an entrepreneur.

—Eric Schwartz

It was time for Harry Macklowe to call the consiglieri—the two advisers he had relied on more than anyone else since the mid-1990s. Both men were called “Rob.”

Robert “Rob” Sorin was a partner at the Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson law firm. He was dark-haired, bespectacled, and polished. He and Macklowe had begun working together when Sorin was a lawyer at the real estate law firm of Robinson, Silverman, Pearce, Aronsohn, and Berman. Macklowe followed him to the broader, more international firm of Fried Frank in 1997. That was a typical Macklowe move. He was fiercely loyal to people, not institutions.

And it was easy to be loyal to someone so talented and useful: Sorin was a rising star. A graduate of Georgetown University, he had made his mark on the New York City market by executing the sale of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)’s New York Coliseum—a 3.43-acre site to the southwest of Central Park—for $337 million. He had accomplished this after a decade of volatile negotiations among the city, the MTA, and Mortimer “Mort” Zuckerman—whose $455 million proposal to develop the site collapsed in 1994.

Macklowe appreciated Sorin's quiet, careful style. Other lawyers, bankers, and brokers knew him, trusted him, and liked dealing with him. He diplomatically described the extreme peaks and troughs of Macklowe's professional life as, simply “interesting.” ...

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