Well, Chelsea Clinton’s big wedding day has finally arrived. The location is the Astor Courts Estate in Rhinebeck, NY (yes, “Astor”, as in John Jacob Astor) …
The rehearsal dinner is reportedly taking place at the nearby Grasmere, a 525-acre estate boasting a Federal-period manor house with formal gardens, stucco guest cottages and a large stone barn complex. Another area manse rumored to be serving the family over the weekend will be Glenburn, where the Clintons are said to be staying over the weekend. Glenburn is the Rhinebeck home of Eric and Andrea Colombel. Andrea Colombel is the daughter of billionaire financier and longtime Clinton supporter George Soros.
The price tag? Probably somewhere north of $2 million, possibly as high as $6 million. The affair is strictly off-limits, with the Clintons even asking the FAA to close local air space until 3:30 AM Sunday morning.
Chelsea’s groom is Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker and “son of former Iowa congressman Edward Mezvinsky who was convicted and served federal prison time for fraud arising from various business transactions, and former Pennsylvania congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky.”
Wikipedia has this to say about Chelsea’s new father-in-law:
[Edward] Mezvinsky was involved in a series of business transactions that ultimately led to his downfall. Prosecutors later would call him a one-man crime wave. In 2000, after examining his business deals since 1980, prosecutors said that they uncovered elements of fraud in nearly every one.
In March 2001, Mezvinsky was indicted and later pleaded guilty to 31 of 69 charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Nearly $10 million was involved in the crimes. Shortly after his indictment, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but the judge at his trial disallowed a mental illness defense. Mezvinsky was released from federal prison on April 11, 2008.
It’s also worth noting the contrast between Chelsea’s wedding and the wedding of then-First Daughter Jenna Bush to Henry Hager in May 2008. Jenna’s wedding was held at the Bush Ranch in Crawford, TX, and all the trappings for the Bush family and their 200 or so guests cost around $100,000.
Come to think of it, there are a lot of interesting contrasts between Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush. Chelsea graduated from Stanford University in 2001 and received her Masters in International Relations from Oxford University. She was immediately hired by the prestigious business management consulting firm McKinsey and Company (which normally hires only top MBA graduates) and then went to work for for Avenue Capital Group, a Manhattan hedge fund run by Marc Lasry, a long-time supporter of the Clintons and a major Democratic Party donor. She is currently pursuing graduate studies and working as a fund raiser for the Clinton Foundation.
Jenna Bush Hager, who is one year younger than Chelsea Clinton, graduated from the University of Texas in 2004 with a degree in English. According to Wikipedia:
Before leaving Washington, D.C. in Summer 2006, Hager taught at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School for a year and a half. She took a leave of absence from the Charter School teaching position to work at a shelter as part of an internship for UNICEF’s Educational Policy Department in Latin America, specifically in Panama. After her internship for UNICEF, Hager returned to her teaching position at the charter school in Washington, D.C. She currently works as a reading coordinator at a school in Baltimore, Maryland, and contributes a monthly news story about education for the Today show.
She is also the author of Ana’s Story: A Journey Of Hope, which chronicles her experiences while working for UNICEF in Latin America, and a children’s book, Read All About It!, which she co-authored with her mother Laura Bush.
I’ll leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions about the values, goals, and priorities of the Clinton and Bush families. In the interest of fairness perhaps I should point out that the Prescott Bush family has been a member of the East Coast leisure class since the 1940’s; Bill and Hillary Clinton obviously have aspirations to become members of the elite Gold Coast / Hamptons cliques, and are working as hard as they can to pull all the strings and grease all the palms necessary to accomplish that goal. Maybe that accounts for the difference. Still, how anyone can spend their entire political careers playing advocates for the poor, while quietly and steadily working to join the richest of the rich, is simply beyond my understanding.