Riveting story of celebrity financial adviser Dana Giacchetto, ’90s tabloid fodder and “Scammer to the Stars.”
Journalist White’s account of the Icarus-like rise and fall of Giacchetto reads as both a fascinating account of a classically narcissistic, self-deluding personality and as an elegy to the booming ’90s, felled by the “irrational exuberance” that so characterized Giacchetto. The boyish money man represented a new kind of mogul, youthful, idealistic, sensitive to art and culture. He parlayed his preternatural charm and studied hipness into friendships with celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz, cultivating them and other artists, musicians and stars as clients who were refreshed by his style and optimism—he “got it,” he was cool, not a suit, and he was going to make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. In fact, he mismanaged funds, made bad investments and defrauded his clients out of millions of dollars, all the while protesting his innocence, claiming conspiracy and scheming to again enter the rarified celebrity orbit that his crimes afforded him in the first place. White was a personal friend of Giacchetto’s (ever the attention-monger, he suggested she write a book about him during one of her visits to him in jail), and lost her life savings in his various frauds and schemes—her ambivalence toward the charismatic, vulnerable young man (he was catnip to ladies of a maternal bent) lends the narrative an unexpected emotional urgency as White struggles with her diffidence and complicity in Giacchetto’s impossible promises of effortless wealth—after all, she was one of those unworldly bohemians who expected to make money while she slept.
A feverish recollection of boom times, paranoia, celebrity and greed, and a cautionary tale of the American lust for easy fame and fortune.