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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 12 Tick Tock—A Year on the Clock

I remember the clock ticking; I remember him scrambling.

—Doug Harmon

They had a dinner at Cipriani at Grand Central Station to celebrate the closing, but it wasn't like the fete in the fall of 2003: This just didn't have the excitement and the optimism of when they closed on the GM Building. . . .

The GM Building!

What had they done?

Harry had risked his biggest trophy, his most prized possession, the building that, for him, was so much more than bricks and mortar; it was the cocoon that had changed him from a caterpillar into a butterfly. He'd also risked his personal fortune—and Peter Briger surely knew, as he extracted the promissory note with a personal guarantee, that if it came down to it and Harry couldn't repay the $1.2 billion plus interest within a year, Harry would have to choose between the two. Which would he forfeit? The building, which, at Fortress's valuation of $2.8 billion didn't cover his obligations since it had debt of $1.9 billion on it? Or his personal assets—his houses, his boats, Linda's art?

Rob Sorin reflected: “Maybe people just didn't want to admit that and say, ‘Oh God, what did we just do? Did we really close a $7 billion deal in nine days or whatever it was?

“If you think of it that way, you'd ask, ‘Are you crazy?’”

■ ■ ■

The next day, Horowitz sat with Harry and Billy in the Macklowe offices. “Okay, so we bought [the EOP assets]. Now what do we do?” he asked.

Would Harry sell his new purchases? There ...

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