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NETS BUYER & PALS HOOP IT UP - Q: HOW MUCH DOES A RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE SPEND ON LUNCH IN NYC? A: 19G! News New Jersey Nets
 

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News » NETS BUYER & PALS HOOP IT UP - Q: HOW MUCH DOES A RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE SPEND ON LUNCH IN NYC? A: 19G!


NETS BUYER & PALS HOOP IT UP - Q: HOW MUCH DOES A RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE SPEND ON LUNCH IN NYC? A: 19G!


NETS BUYER & PALS HOOP IT UP - Q: HOW MUCH DOES A RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE SPEND ON LUNCH IN NYC? A: 19G! Russia's richest man blew the equivalent of 552,000 rubles for lunch at one of the city's priciest restaurants as he celebrated his soon-to-be new career as a Basketball baron, sources told The Post.

Billionaire playboy Mikhail Prokhorov, who is close to buying the Nets , took a half-dozen comrades to Nello on the Upper East Side Wednesday afternoon, following a meeting with NBA owners.

He concluded that they had hit it off so well, he'll have no trouble getting them to approve his plan to buy the team.

The tab and tip totaled close to $19,000 for Prokhorov and his pals.

Besides pricey booze, the mogul from Moscow and the men and women in his party spared no expense on food.

Their check included $825 for three orders of truffle tagliolini; $600 for four orders of truffle carpaccio; $210 for three orders of veal chops with mushrooms; and $72 for six large waters.

Not to mention $15 for a bowl of chicken soup.

The lunch was topped off with a $5,000 bottle of vintage 1998 Chateau Petrus and two bottles of 2002 Montrachet Latour for $3,600.

Nello Balan, owner of the celebrity hotspot, said Prokhorov acted like the deal to buy majority ownership of the New Jersey Nets from developer Bruce Ratner and move the club to Brooklyn was already done.

"He was very happy to be in New York and was celebrating his new acquisition," Balan said.

"He said that as of January he would own the Nets , and is looking forward to being a very big part of New York."

Balan declined to disclose Prokhorov's exact tab. But a copy of the receipt obtained by The Post showed it totaled $15,007.87.

A source said Prokhorov was great with gratuities. He dropped a 25 percent tip of roughly $3,750.

Balan described Prokhorov as a "great guy," extremely polite, and a semi-regular at Nello who dines there every couple of months when he's in town.

Prokhorov declined comment, but NBA Commissioner David Stern confirmed yesterday's Post report that the Russian billionaire was warmly received by other NBA owners and that the Nets sale appears to be a slam-dunk.

"I look forward to the completion of the transaction" by the end of 2009, Stern said.

Prokhorov must gain approval of at least 23 of the NBA's 30 owners following an extensive league background check given to prospective new owners.

With an estimated fortune of $9.5 billion, Prokhorov is famed for his lavish lifestyle.

He was questioned - but not charged - in a prostitution investigation in France in 2007. Stern confirmed the well-publicized prostitution case isn't being raised by the league and called it a "non-issue" because Prokhorov wasn't arrested.

Prokhorov last month reached a tentative agreement with Ratner to pay $200 million up front and an unspecified amount of future funding to acquire an 80 percent stake in the Nets and a 45 percent share of the $800 million Barclays Center project in Brooklyn.

Balan, meanwhile, has his own plan for getting the city's economy up to speed.

"The city needs at least two more Russian billionaires to come in and spend money, whether it's on new buildings or on buying teams," he said. Additional reporting by Edmund DeMarche


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 24, 2009

 

 
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