By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
And the "advertising specialty items" flying across the room?
"I threw a T-shirt at him!" Dezer cries in exasperation. He jumps up and grabs a nearby sample, emblazoned with You're Fired, the signature catch phrase from Trump's TV show The Apprentice. "It's a T-shirt!" he exclaims again. He balls up the offending item and cocks his arm in Kulchur's direction, catching himself in midtoss. "Even if I wing it at you, it's not going to hurt you, not even to shed a tear!"
Dezer will offer Metz one bone. It was Metz, he says, who persuaded him to doggedly pursue his fiancée, Valeria Liberman. "She's a difficult girl," he jokes. "She's Jewish, Argentinean,and a lawyer! Fuhgeddaboutit!"As if on cue, his cell phone begins chirping. It's Valeria on the line: "Ay, mi amor," Dezer coos into his phone, he'll be down for dinner as soon as he finishes up with a reporter.
Never one to stand in the way of true love -- particularly when one of the lovers is being sued for assault and battery -- Kulchur follows Dezer down 29 floors to the nightlife component of the Trump Grande. Far from being a mere entertainment option, his restaurant's "Second Story Thursdays" party is an integral part of his real estate vision -- at least if he wants to follow the path blazed by Trump.
"The Trump tour de force -- his evolution from rough-edged rich kid with Brooklyn and Queens political-clubhouse connections to an international name-brand commodity -- remains, unmistakably, the most rewarding accomplishment of his ingenious career," writes The New Yorker's Mark Singer, describing a progression that's beginning to sound familiar. "In addition to connoting a certain quality of construction, service, and security -- perhaps only Trump can explicate the meaningful distinctions between 'super luxury' and 'super super luxury' -- his eponym subliminally suggests that a building belongs to him even after it's been sold off as condominiums." Fuhgeddaboutit!
"Super super luxury" is an expression that wouldn't sound out of place in South Beach, especially among the burg's VIP-room set. But if Dezer is going to maximize the value of the rest of his 27 acres of Sunny Isles oceanfront property, he needs to have people associate the phrase with his own holdings. So if you're trying to steal South Beach's thunder -- or at least its marketing appeal -- why not hire its best-known ambassadors of chic?
Accordingly, Second Story Thursdays' promoters include former Nikki Beach maestro Tommy Pooch and Rumi's ever-suave Alan Roth, both currently presiding over the Raleigh Hotel's Sunday-afternoon poolside gatherings. The two have already drawn a decent crowd to the Trump Grande, far north from clubland's usual stomping grounds. "In South Beach you have some clubs on the high-end, but you still get a lot of trashy people," sneers Dezer. "They have three or four drinks at nine dollars each -- who wants to be around those people? You want to be around your own type. If you're young and waiting tables and are a starving artist, or waiting to be discovered as an actor, then it's fun to live in those little apartments down there."
For those claiming allegiance to the international jet set, Dezer believes, the Art Deco district is beyond the pale. "The multimillion-dollar buyers, the ones I know at least, want a little peace and quiet. They want to get a massage inside their building. They want to sit quietly at their own pool. And when they want to go out to a restaurant, they hop in a car and drive twenty minutes."
In other words, South Beach's prospective condo buyers want the serenity of the Trump Grande -- even if they don't know it yet. At the moment, though, Kulchur's untangling of that logic is being interrupted by a DJ spinning deafening beats from turntables erected in the center of the restaurant. So much for peace and quiet. With his future wife Valeria at his side, Dezer leads the way to a patio featuring a decidedly lower decibel level.
Are you ready to have your name bring as much instant recognition as Trump's?
"It's a double-edged sword," Dezer begins to explain, but Valeria breaks in.
"Gil should become president," she says coolly.
President of the United States?
Dezer begins laughing, taking in the surprised look on Kulchur's face, but he makes no move to correct his bride-to-be. Valeria is only too happy to elaborate: "I would love to be the First Lady."
She tightens the sumptuous wrap around her shoulders, perhaps practicing for a state dinner. Temporarily blinded by the colossal diamond on Valeria's left hand, Kulchur struggles for composure, unsure if he's being put on.
Running the White House carries a lot of responsibilities. Aren't you worried that becoming First Lady might be a little grandiose?
"Not at all," Valeria replies without a moment's hesitation. Dezer is still smiling. Whatever difficulties await in his Miami version of the Trump saga, he's clearly found the right woman to play Ivana to his Donald.