Bugsy Gedlek | diamondsyacht.com
Benetti’s ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ yacht.
There are many reasons to mourn the loss of Linda McMahon’s bid for the Senate.
No more wrestling jokes. No more excuses to mention the unprintable name of her yacht. And the local TV stations that enjoyed years of McMahon’s largesse will now have to find a new billionaire-political hopeful to buy millions in political ads to fund their operations.
But the real tragedy here is the money. Oh, the money.
McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has spent more than $ 90 million on her two failed bids for the U.S. Senate seat from Connecticut, including last night’s loss to Democrat Chris Murphy. The sum is not a national record by any means. Former eBay [EBAY Loading… () ] CEO Meg Whitman, now chief at Hewlett-Packard [HPQ Loading… () ], spent $ 175 million in her losing bid to become California governor in 2010. (Read more: Will Voters Punish Rich Candidates This Time?)
It’s also unfair to say that McMahon has nothing to show for her cash. She got her voice heard and she contributed to the national political discussion. She also proved that wealth doesn’t buy political office by itself.
What’s more, it’s her money: she and her husband, Vince, earned it and they’re free to do whatever they want with it.
But there are so many more enjoyable ways McMahon could have disposed of her nearly $ 100 million. Here are just a few:
JET – Forget Gulfstreams. For $ 90 million, McMahon could have her own Boeing 737-700 with her name emblazoned on the side. And even then she’d have millions left over to pay for years of pilot and plane costs. The plane normally seats more than 100 passengers, but can be retrofitted VIP-style for a private jet. Here’s one version with its own king-sized bed.
YACHT – Let’s be honest. It’s time that Linda and Vince got a yacht with a more publicly acceptable name. For $ 63 million, she could get “Diamonds are Forever,” a 202-foot Benetti filled with gold, glitter and back-lit bars that are perfect for shaken martinis. Even after paying sales tax, she’d had enough left over to keep the yacht and crew afloat for at least 10 years.
ART – Instead of winding up with all those campaign buttons and lawn signs, McMahon could have adorned her walls with the Mark Rothko painting “Royal Red and Blue” that’s expected to sell at Sotheby’s auction next week for up to $ 50 million. She could have also tossed in the Monet water lily painting that could fetch $ 30 million to $ 50 million at Christies.
CHARITY – For $ 100 million, Blackstone founder Steve Schwarzman got the New York Public Library’s iconic Fifth Avenue building named after him. McMahon could certainly have gotten multiple hospital wings named after her for her $ 90 million – or at least make some headway in curing a disease, or saving a few thousand kids in the poorer parts of the world.
(Read more: Rich Spend More on ‘Experiences’, Less on Bling)
What else do you think McMahon could have done with her $ 90 million?
-By CNBC’s Robert Frank
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