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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 3 The Rigged Bid

The whole thing was a charade from start to finish. Even the opening of the sealed envelopes was pure theater. It was ridiculous. There was nothing fair about it.

—David Boies

Wayne Maggin and Ben Lambert watched Sheldon Solow carefully—which they could do almost literally, since their offices are directly across the street from his on West 57th Street. Maggin noticed that most of Solow's initial correspondence regarding the auction for the GM Building came through his lawyers. This bothered Maggin. He wanted to “get a clearer sense of” how much the building mattered to the developer. Maggin was also concerned about Solow's apparent lack of due diligence on the building. His team had examined the books, sure, but where were the visits from bankers, surveyors, and architects? Who knew what problems he might suddenly find after contracts were signed—and before the all-
important closing?

“Sheldon had done virtually no work—we didn't know if Sheldon was dependable. We knew that there was a great potential for Sheldon to create some sort of legal uproar at some point in the process, and we were very concerned about that,” Maggin said in an interview.

Solow, obliviously, thought he was the front-runner.

They didn't know this over at Eastdil, but he liked to stand in his office and look at the condition of the marble, which he feared needed repair. That was on his list of things to fix when he bought her; he believed that, provided he bid the highest price, ...

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