Hollywood Stays Away as Mitt Romney Raises More Than $1 Million in Beverly Hills
A glittery crowd of Los Angeles' top venture capitalists, hedge fund managers and private equity fund investors turn out for the event at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney rolled into town for his first major fundraiser Tuesday night, and the supporters he drew to the Beverly Hills Hotel was instructive on the nature of the GOP’s support in monied Los Angeles.
It also was Romney’s first big chance to draw in Hollywood, but that didn’t materialize.
While there’s a smattering of industry conservatives -- like Terry Semel and Harry Sloan -- who support Romney, the event roster Tuesday evening was dominated by some of the city's top venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, private equity fund investors and others with longtime ties to Los Angeles' business community.
The list of co-hosts -- obtained by The Hollywood Reporter -- was a bit like reviewing a list of the Westside’s top ½ of the upper 1 percent.
The Beverly Hills gala was chaired by Canyon Capital's Josh Friedman and his wife Beth; Tracy and Gene Sykes of Goldman Sachs; and long-time Los Angeles Music Center supporters Eva and Marc Stern, CEO of The TCW Group.
Others co-hosting the event: Catherine and Bob Beyer, chairman of Chaparral Investments, a private equity fund; Jacquie and Harry McMahon, vice chairman of Merrill Lynch; Allison and Richard Roeder, venture capitalist with the Aurora Capital Group; Peter Starrett, chairman of Pacific Sunwear and founder of the Warner Bros. Studio stores, and his wife Cam, an advisor to the company that owns the Arclight and the Pacific theaters; former entertainment and media law attorney Mark Siegel, chairman of the J. Paul Getty Board of Trustees, and his wife Christina.
Also on the list: Former European Union Ambassador Rockwell "Rock" Schnabel, co-founder of Trident Capital, and his wife Marna; Beny Alagem, owner of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and his wife Adele; John Heubusch, executive director of the Reagan Library Foundation; Scott Honour, of the Gores Group, and his wife Jamie.
Tickets to the Beverly Hills Hotel dinner were priced at $2,500 — the maximum an individual can contribute to a presidential candidate, but attendees also were given the opportunity to pledge to raise amounts ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to support Romney’s candidacy. The events biggest money raisers were invited to the nearby home of hosts Beth and Josh Friedman’s for desert with the candidate, who spoke mostly about the economy and improving the nation's education system. (No one in the crowd asked Romney about hot-button social issues, like abortion, immigration and same-sex marriage, according to one attendee.)
As former MGM chief-turned investor Sloan, one of the hosts of Tuesday’s fundraiser, told The Hollywood Reporter that he is still hopeful that more people in Hollywood will come out in support of Romney. He is hoping to co-host an event in February that will at least give studio heads a chance to meet the candidate.
While Romney’s event wasn’t the sort that brings out the paparazzi, it did bring in more than $1 million for his campaign — not a bad take on dinner and dessert.