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“No, really, I heard he was coming tonight.”
The young investment banker looked at his buddy, Freddie Wilcox. “O’Banyon? Are you crazy? He’s in the middle of the Condi-Foods merger.” “I asked his assistant.” Freddie tweaked his Hermès tie. “It’s on his calendar.”
“He must never sleep.”
“Gods don’t have to, Andrew.”
“Well, then, where is he?”
From their vantage point in a corner of the Waldorf-Astoria’s ballroom, they sifted through the crowd of Manhattan highfliers, looking for the man they called The Idol.
Sean O’Banyon was their boss’s boss and, at thirty-six, one of Wall Street’s big dogs. He ran the mergers-and-acquisitions arm of Sterling Rochester, and was capable of leveraging billions of dollars at the drop of a hat or killing a mega deal because he didn’t like the numbers. Since arriving on the Street, he’d engineered one perfectly executed corporate acquisition after another. No one had his track record or his instincts.
Or his reputation for eating hard-core financiers for lunch.
Man, folks would have called him SOB even if those hadn’t been his initials.
He was indeed a god, but he was also a thorn in the side of the I-banking world’s old-school types. O’Banyon was from South Boston, not Greenwich. Drove a Maserati not a Mercedes. Didn’ care about people’s Mayflower roots or European pedigrees. With no family money to speak of, he’d gone to Harvard undergrad on scholarship, got his start at JP Morgan then put himself through Harvard Business School while doing deals as a consultant.
Word had it that when he lost his temper, his Southie accent came back.
So, yes, the white-shoe, country-club set couldn’t stand him…at least not until they needed him to find financing for their corporations’ expansion plans or share buy-backs. O’Banyon was the master at drumming up money. In addition to all the bank funds at his disposal, he had ins with some serious private sources like the great Nick Farrell or the now-governor of Massachusetts, Jack Walker.
O’Banyon was who everyone wanted to be. A rebel with immense power. An iconoclast with guts and glory. The Idol.
“Oh…my God, it’s him.”
Andrew whipped his head around.
Sean O’Banyon walked into the ballroom as if he owned the place. And not just the Waldorf, all of New York City. Dressed in a spectacular pin-striped black suit and wearing a screaming red tie, he was sporting a cynical half grin. As per usual.
“He’s wearing all Gucci. Must have cost him five grand before tailoring.”
“Couch change. I heard he spent a quarter million dollars on a watch last year.”
“It was a half million. I checked at Tourneau.”
O’Banyon’s hair was as dark as his suit and his face was nothing but hard-ass angles and arched eyebrows. And his build matched his attitude. He topped out at six-four and it wasn’t padding that filled out his shoulders. Rumor had it he did triathlons for kicks and giggles.