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A Night to Remember

David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Tom Berenger, July/Aug 2007

(continued from page 1)

Suzanne and Robert Levin from Ashton enjoy Dom Pérignon with José Orlando Padrón.
Shanken raised his gavel to begin the auction proper, which consisted of 16 lots, including selections of fine wines, remarkable cigars, vacations to some of the world's most beautiful places and tastes of luxury of all types. A selection of 2003 Bordeaux, donated by Don and Christina Zacharia of Zachys, went for $12,000 to John Levy. Shanken's wife, Hazel, won a made-to-measure Ermenegildo Zegna wardrobe. A selection of 240 Partagas cigars, including the rare Partagas 160 and still rarer Partagas 150, sold for $11,000 to Coulter. Coulter also donated a lot, a five-day cruise on his 141-foot luxury yacht. It went for $85,000 to Laurence Paul.

Drew Nieporent, Wayne Suarez, Rush Limbaugh, Joel Surnow and Stan Shuster.
A vacation in paradise, first-class travel to the Four Seasons Punta Mita, donated by the resort and by Hazel and Marvin R. Shanken, went for $18,000 to Milken. A collection of 434 Fuente Fuente OpusX cigars (a box of each size, plus a second box of the 2005 Cigar of the Year Double Corona), paired with a limited-edition set of cigar accessories by S.T. Dupont, sold for $26,000 to Matt Arcella. They had been donated by Fuente and S.T. Dupont. His-and-her Cartier watches donated by Frederic DeNarp, president and CEO of Cartier North America, sold for $32,000 to Lee Einsidler of Sidney Frank Imports. A credit of $25,000 for use at a Sotheby's wine auction, donated by Bill Ruprecht, president and CEO of Sotheby's, went for $20,000 to Sergio Zyman, chairman and founder of Zyman Group.

Brothers Bobby (left) and Eric Newman pose with Rocky Patel.
The show "24" is a favorite of many, including Limbaugh, and creator Surnow donated a gift basket brimming with all types of mementos from the series, many that can't be bought in the United States. He sweetened the pot with a walk-on role. "If you think that's not a big deal," said Surnow, "that's what Kiefer Sutherland said seven years ago." The lot was won with a $35,000 bid by Milken.

Riggio took two of the night's cigar lots, claiming an assortment of La Gloria Cubana cigars, which were enclosed in several rare humidors, for $22,000. The lot was donated by General Cigar. Riggio also won the final lot of the evening, a collection of 340 Padrón cigars, including a sold-out Padrón Millennium humidor plus 240 customized Padrón 80th Anniversary cigars, which are not yet on the market. The lot, donated by the Padrón family, sold for $24,000.

William Terlato of Terlato Wines International (left) with Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio.
A dinner for 60 at any Del Frisco's restaurant, courtesy of Del Frisco's, sold for $30,000 to Steve Eiseman, a NetJets vice president. Five hours on a NetJets Gulfstream 450, donated by NetJets chairman Richard Santulli, went for $55,000 to Chris Preziosi. Tom Shannon III of T-Bird Restaurant Group Inc. won a 2007 Cadillac XLR donated by Gary Cowger, group vice president of General Motors Corp., with a bid of $75,000.

C.A.O. International Inc. donated a lot featuring a signed copy of the pilot episode script of the HBO hit "The Sopranos," plus a signed C.A.O. Tony Soprano humidor, 348 cigars and a trip to Central America to blend a cigar.

Cigar Aficionado's Gordon Mott (far right) with restaurateur Drew Nieporent (far left) and cigarmaker Tim Ozgener.
The lot raised $18,000 with a bid from Cosmo DeNicola of AmTech Software. Ashton's Robert Levin and Andres Araya of Las Ventanas donated an amazing selection of 992 Ashton cigars -- including the ESG and VSG -- and a four-night trip to Las Ventanas. The cigars and the trip went for $30,000 with a bid from Levin himself.

After the auction, several men spoke to the crowd, including Schwarzenegger, one of only two living persons to appear twice on the cover of Cigar Aficionado. He received a standing ovation. "It's a great pleasure to be here today, and to be with all of you," he said. "Democrats, Republicans, we all like to smoke stogies, and we like to contribute."

Ernesto Padilla, owner of Padilla Cigars (left) and General Cigar's Cooper Gardiner.
Milken, who was given 12 months to live 14 years ago, spoke about how we are winning the fight against cancer. "For the second consecutive year, they announced that the number of people who died of cancer has gone down in the United States," he said to applause. "I think the testimony of how far we've come is that you can run for president of the United States and [having cancer] is not an issue. It's a symbol of how far we've come."

Greenfield spoke excitedly about the notion of having a cigar smoker in the White House again. "We may have, someday, a person in the Oval Office who, when he talks of a thousand points of light, he means the light at the end of a cigar."

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