In June 2001, a lawyer for Rudy Giuliani stood on the steps outside divorce court and said that the New York mayor had all of $7,000 to his name. But that was before 9/11, of course, and before Giuliani cashed in big time on the fame that followed him afterward.
Giuliani's net worth stands at $30 million today, much of it coming from the book he wrote and the speeches he has given after the attack on his city transformed him into a national celebrity. As financial disclosure forms released this week show, Giuliani made more than $11 million from speeches in 2006 and the first couple of months of 2007, and $1.8 million of that take -- a sum that exceeds the average payout to families from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund -- came from something called "Life Win, Inc. (Get Motivated Seminars)."
Life Win and Get Motivated Seminars are Florida corporations controlled by Peter Lowe, who billed himself as "America's Success Strategist" until the company with which he was involved -- some say he ran it -- crashed and burned in 2001.
As St. Petersburg Times reporter Alicia Caldwell reported back in 2003, the Get Motivated series of seminars is part of Lowe's "comeback attempt." As Caldwell described it, a Get Motivated seminar is a "daylong program infused with Christianity, patriotism and pumping music suitable for aerobics." The seminars, pitched at the golf shirt and Dockers crowd, feature "mega-watt superstars" like Zig Ziglar and Suze Orman, plus Lowe and his wife, Tamara -- she's described on her Web site as a "former drug addict and dropout" who delivers a "dynamic, inspiring and motivational" message -- and former military men Colin Powell and Tommy Franks.
When Giuliani participates -- it looks like he did so about two dozen times over the course of the past year or so -- he takes the stage to "New York, New York" with red, white and blue confetti swirling around him. He then uses the attack and the aftermath of 9/11 to illustrate his six principles of leadership, which seem to boil down to having convictions; being optimistic, courageous and well prepared; working as a team; and communicating well. The last of those is just the culmination of the others, Giuliani tells the folks who turn out for the seminars. "You do all five of those things, and communication is just speaking to people," Caldwell quoted him as saying at one in 2003. "It's not magic."
No, maybe not. But collecting nearly $2 million for business platitudes and 9/11 memories, not to mention the $10,000 the Lowes gave to Giuliani's PAC last year? That's a pretty good trick.