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A top-secret meeting of the world’s richest people to discuss the global financial crisis was held in New York on May 5, IrishCentral.com has learned exclusively.
The mysterious, media-blackout meeting was called by Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway; Bill Gates, co founder of Microsoft; and David Rockefeller Jr., chairman of Rockefeller Financial Services.
In addition to Gates, Buffett and Rockefeller, the attendees included Oprah Winfrey, George Soros, Ted Turner, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, among others.
It was held in the President's Room at Rockefeller University In New York at 3 p.m. on that Tuesday afternoon.
How so many giant figures in American life managed to interrupt and coordinate their schedules on such short notice, and meet in total secrecy in the world’s media capital remains a mystery -- as does the ultimate outcome of the billionaires' conference.
In their letter of invitation, Gates, Buffett and Rockefeller cited the worldwide recession and the urgent need to plan for the future. They said they wanted to hear the views of a broad range of key leaders in the financial and philanthropic fields.
Each attendee was given 15 minutes to deliver a presentation on how they saw the future global economic climate, the future priorities for philanthropy, and what they felt the elite group should do.
According to one of the attendees, Gates was the most-impressive speaker of the day, with Turner the most-outspoken and Warren Buffet the most-insistent on his agenda for change.
Winfrey was said to be in a “listening mode."
Gates was worth an estimated $57B in 2008; more recently, Buffett clocked in at an estimated $37B -- making them the richest Americans.
Winfrey was once the world’s only black billionaire, and has extensive holdings in the entertainment and publishing industries, as well as being a leading philanthropist.
Turner, founder of CNN, once donated $1B to the United Nations. Soros has a personal fortune estimated at $11B, while Bloomberg is listed as the eighth-richest American with a net worth of $20B .
Other invitees included Eli and Edythe Broad, whose current fortune is estimated at $5.2B by Forbes Magazine; John Morgridge, former CEO of Cisco and his wife Tashia; Peter Peterson, senior chairman of the Blackstone Group; Julian Robertson, founder of Tiger Management Corp.; and Patty Stonesifer, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"They were all there, the great and the good," a participant told IrishCentral.com.