Chelsea Clinton’s wealth can’t buy her class
By Andrea Peyser
June 30, 2014 | 12:09am
Chelsea Clinton, the former and potential future first daughter, has stiff competition for the title of Most Tactless Human. Greedy reality-TV creature Kim Kardashian is a contender. Chelsea’s mom, the once “dead broke” Hillary Rodham Clinton, might rank even higher on the scale of bad taste.
Chelsea, 34, has jabbered like an overeducated trailer-park habitué about her family’s No. 1 obsession — money.
The millionairess, pregnant with her and millionaire hedge-funder hubby Marc Mezvinsky’s first child, told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper this month that she’s made a strenuous effort to care about cash. But she just couldn’t bother with the green stuff.
“I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents. I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t,” Chelsea said. That wasn’t the most infuriating part.
“I will just always work harder [than anybody else] and hopefully perform better,” she said. Didn’t anyone teach Chelsea that it’s bad manners to show off?
Truly hardworking New Yorkers are not amused.
“Let’s see how much she cares about money if she didn’t have it. It’s pure crap!” Laura Osenni, 54, said after schlepping on the N train from her home in Brooklyn to a carpet showroom in Manhattan where she works as an assistant.
“She is so rich that she doesn’t have to care about making more money,” said Lisa Schiffren, senior fellow from the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, herself a divorced mother of three in her 50s.
How rich is Chelsea? At a time when even five-figure annual salaries are hard to come by, Chelsea has reportedly pulled in $26,724 — for each minute she’s appeared on TV as a “special correspondent” for NBC News.
She signed with the network in 2011 for $600,000 a year, Politico.com reported, to do occasional fluffy feature stories. One was a creepy voice-over interview with the Geico gecko. Chelsea’s such a special correspondent she’s done just 14 stories in two years and seven month for a total just short of 58 minutes of airtime, according to Business Insider.
Inexperienced in the ways of broadcast journalism, Chelsea, a member of America’s version of a political royal family, has earned about $1.55 million from NBC — slightly more than $445 for each second of air time.
This year, Chelsea, who’s taken on a larger role with her family’s Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, has gone to a month-to-month contract with the network to allow her to cut ties with her employer if her mom decides to run for president in 2016, thereby avoiding the appearance of a conflict of interest with the supposedly politically neutral media outlet.
The Web site Celebrity Net Worth pegs Chelsea’s personal fortune at $15 million, with most of her dough earned as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. and by working for Avenue Capital Investment Group. The site estimates Mezvinsky, 36, is also worth $15 million, which he made as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and while working at the hedge fund 3G Capital and at a hedge fund he co-founded in 2011. The couple last year bought a sumptuous four-bedroom condo on East 26th Street in Manhattan that was listed for $10.5 million, and which they scooped up for $9.25 million, taking out a $5 million mortgage, The Post reported.
Talking insipidly about money must be an inherited trait. While promoting her little-read memoir “Hard Choices” this month, Chelsea’s mom, Hillary, the former first lady, senator, secretary of state and likely Democratic presidential prospect, told Diane Sawyer that when she and her husband left the White House in 2001, they were “not only dead broke, but in debt.”
“I still get emotional just thinking about it,” “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart quipped, wiping away an imaginary tear with a $20 bill.
A day after making the unfortunate remark, Hillary tried to dial it back on “Good Morning America,” saying, “Bill and I were obviously blessed. We worked hard for everything we got in our lives.” Then she stuck her foot in it again.
In an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Hillary was asked how she’ll convince voters she’s not “part of the problem” on the issue of income inequality.
“But they don’t see me as part of the problem,” she said, “because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.”
I guess the Clintons don’t see themselves as “truly well off.” Bill raked in an astonishing $104.9 million by giving 542 speeches between January 2001 and January 2013, The Washington Post reported. Hillary has given free and paid speeches since leaving her job as secretary of state last year, The Wall Street Journal reported, typically getting paid around $200,000 a pop. She’s set to collect $225,000, paid by private donations, for speaking at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in October, the money to go to her family’s foundation. Angry student leaders have called on Hillary to return all or part of the fee to the university to be used for scholarships.
Chelsea Clinton seems to have learned about money from someone who treats it as a passion: her mother.