September 13, 2011
Kevin Davies : Former VP Dick Cheney and the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige, were two of the headliners at the annual Rodman & Renshaw conference in New York this week, featuring hundreds of private, small- and mid-cap companies reviewing financials and warning about forward-looking statements to large audiences of well-groomed investors and analysts.
During an evening reception held in the modest confines of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, R&R auctioned four items to benefit the McCarton Foundation for autism research. Three of the items were your standard all expense paid vacations to exotic destinations including a celebrity hideaway in Los Cabos and a retreat at 'the spiritual home of The Macallan' (normally only available to the scotchmakers' directors). The value of those getaways was put as high as $70,000.
None could compare with the value of the fourth item, however - a 'priceless' personal genome sequence, courtesy of Illumina and Knome, to be delivered on a portable hard drive.
"Join celebrities like Glenn Close, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ozzy Osbourne, and Larry King [really?], who have obtained their sequences for tens of thousands of dollars," the guide read.
The organizers apparently felt that the bidding process would be aided if they held the auction several hours into an open bar, although pity the auctioneer trying to maintain order before an increasingly restless crowd of inebriated investment bankers waiting for Blige to hit the stage.
Suffice to say, the auctioneers didn't quite get their reserve price...