January 13, 2012

$35K for dinner and a Ford Escort in the garage

I love me a "remarkably frugal" half-billionaire. And turns out this guy lives a few blocks from me!

President Obama attended three huge money-making funders in Chicago yesterday, one of them near my house (I know this because of the traffic cops swarming every intersection for hours before he arrived. The President's convoy never slows for red lights, nor observes speed limits. It is a sight to behold.)

Curious to learn about the host of the ($35,800 per couple) dinner party, I googled his name which was unfamiliar to me. Funny, but "Fred Eychaner" has never turned up at any neighborhood block parties or policing meetings I've attended.

Turns out he is my kind of guy in many regards. Eychaner earned his money as a publisher, having founded the Newsweb Corp.

According to a 2005 Chicago Tribune story, he drove a six-year old "Ford Escort, flies coach, owns just three suits and sometimes stays at budget motels."

Reporter John McCormick went on to say that Eychaner "...could be the slender, balding man wearing wire-rim glasses seated behind you on a CTA train."

He does live in a pretty swanky mansion nearby, but anyway, I find his style somewhat motivating. His old Ford Escort? Just the fresh motivation I've been needing.

I have this thing where I pay cash for cars. I drove my first car for 13 years, and I'm in the 11th year of my current auto. The tire rims are looking kind of ghetto-rusty and worn. It's a good thing for my ego to keep driving it, in its 108,000th mile. Which forces me to nurture / forge my self-esteem from something other than stuff. (Indicating good character, intelligence, wit or such. Or just being nice.)

My car is not show-offy, but it was paid for ten years ago. I look at the cute Mini-Coopers (want one) and sleek Lexus' (too fancy; not my style) roving about the city and remark to myself that possibly few are actually paid for, and may be a far bigger asset-drain than my zero-interest, zero-loan car ever will be.

Thanks for the motivation, Mr. Eychaner. Hope your party was fun.

Do you suppose every guest feels they got their $17,900 worth? Just wondering, because that is just not my world... Well, they'll likely feel so if Obama wins the November 2012 vote.


  1. My wife and I were just discussing how, if we magically came into some lump sum of cash, whether it would be fun to have some outrageously extravagant meal and blow through five figures during the course of it. We both thought about it for a second and came to the realization that, for us, there's no amount of quality or quantity of food that could be served in one meal for two people that would feel like it was "worth" a five-figure price tag.

    While I understand and appreciate that the five-figure meals above are intended as a fundraiser, even if I were super-rich, I'd have a hard time shelling out that much cash.

    Who knows though; maybe I will some day.

  2. Hi Sharon--

    I still regularly google around for you...maybe every couple of months or so. You are absolutely one of the most interesting people. Always changing things up...always looking for a new adventure, it seems. I think need to trade my glass-half-empty for your glass-half-full!

    Just a 'hello' from your old "Griz" buddy, Fred Stonehouse.