Has Steve Case got a deal for you

Dec 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

“Since Osama Bin Laden isn’t actually within our borders, as far as we know, the person with the biggest image challenge in America may be [former AOL Time Warner Chairman] Steve Case.” So wrote Michael Kinsley in Slate earlier this year, and that statement seems to have been borne out last week with the curious handling of Mr. Case’s latest investment, a 50 percent equity stake in a private club for the ultra-wealthy called Exclusive Resorts LLC. Given that Mr. Case is under scrutiny from the Securities & Exchange Commission for his dealings at AOL Time Warner, any investment activity on his part was sure to be news. When TelevisionWeek’s John Motavalli called Exclusive Resorts in Denver last week, the publicist said she would get right back to him. She did not. Instead, an article appeared the next day in The Wall Street Journal, written by a real estate reporter, with Mr. Case’s involvement not mentioned until the eighth paragraph. What made us Blink was a howler of a quote from Mr. Case. Keep in mind that the Exclusive Resorts club costs up to $250,000 to join, with dues of up to $15,000 a month, and the lucky investor is not actually buying anything. And remember it was Mr. Case who sold AOL to Time Warner, now seen as one of the worst business deals in history. “I like the fact that, like mortgages,” said Mr. Case, “this approach democratizes access, making great vacation homes more accessible and affordable to more people than ever before.”