An ex-hedge fund trader has described Wall Street’s hedonistic culture of booze, drugs and prostitutes in the early noughties, in an explosive new book.
Turney Duff, who cut his teeth at The Galleon Group before its founder, Raj Rajaratnam, was put away for insider trading, recounts days spent trading millions of dollars of other people’s money with his ‘head throbbing, tequila oozing from his pores and his crumpled Prada suit reeking of cigarettes’ after another wild night of excess.
‘As the opening bell rings, every muscle in my body clenches,’ he writes in his tell all memoir ‘The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader’s Tale of Spectacular Excess’ of one of the many days-after-the-night-before in summer 2002, at Argus Partners. The book is being exclusively previewed by The New York Post.
‘I sit upright and try to focus on the eight computer screens in front of me. There are 25 orders on my desk, each from five to 10 million dollars and involving some sort of investment decision. My head throbs.’
He makes it, miraculously, to the closing bell. Forty-five minutes later, he’s back at the East Side Manhattan apartment he and his pals nickname ‘The White House’ because it is never in short supply of cocaine.
Right now, he explains, there’s an ounce of it piled in the microwave and another few thousand dollars’ worth sitting on a plate in the kitchen.
The ‘Wall Street crack house’ that’s home to his friends Randy and James, two sell side traders, is similarly scattered with Grey Goose vodka, ice, cups and straws for snorting the drug.
‘Everything is provided and paid for, compliments of the sell side … They like to please their clients,’ he writes in the excerpt in The Post.
Then the door bell rings.
‘Tonight they were kind enough to order in: Chinese and Mexican escorts.’
He describes how he watched as two American Express black cards fly through the air, landing right on top of the ‘blow’ and James proceeds to use them to chop the cocaine as a dozen men roll up their shirtsleeves, ready to get stuck in.
Meanwhile, Duff writes, ‘a large-breasted firecracker’ named Adelina drags a suggestive finger across his chest.
By 8 p.m., most of the guys have packed up and gone back to their wives, girlfriends and children, the book reads, according to The Post. The single lads head out – but not before they each dump a spoonful of blow in a doggy bag.
The W Hotel’s Wetbar was a regular hang out, and he describes picking up college girls at the ‘dark and sexy’ establishment, answering, smugly, when they ask his profession: ‘I work on Wall Street,’ as he pours them champagne.
He allows these girls to leave after delivering hours of arrogant narrative, but Duff describes how ‘if (he) liked them less’ he would have tricked them into going home with him.
‘I still live on 67th and Broadway,’ he writes in the pages published by The Post. ‘Sometimes I ask girls if they want to go to an underground club called Club 67. When the taxi pulls up to my building, they start to get suspicious.
‘But my doorman is in on the ruse, and when I ask him if the club is open he’ll say: “Yes, go on up.”‘
Tonight, however, he opts for Barbara, a hooker in her forties he likes to frequent near Lexington Avenue. Wearing a black-lace nightie, the escort, who has ‘a bird’s nest of wrinkles’ on either side of her eyes, unchains the lock and lets him in.
‘Her apartment is lined with Christmas lights year round, and there’s a mattress with no box spring in the far corner just outside of her bathroom,’ he explains. The couch, television and coffee table remind him of the ones he shared with seven roommates in college.
‘I’m tired and feel dirty,’ Duff writes. ‘Barbara asks if I’d like to take a shower with her. The hot water pelts my body. We take turns washing each other, and laugh as we do. Best 20 minutes I’ve had all day.’
In the book, which hits shelves on June 4, Duff thanks a rehabilitation center as well as Sara Blakely, founder of successful underwear company Spanx, and her husband Jesse Jaymes, suggesting he is now sober after his years of excess but still has friends in high places.
In excerpts of the book on Amazon, Duff describes another evening of debauchery – this time his 34th birthday party in October 2003.
He writes that he and his ‘inner circle’ all fashionably dressed swan into the Canal Room in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, as he arrogantly tells the smiling owner, Marcus: ‘They’re with me.’
‘Marcus is smiling for good reason. He calls me the Pied Piper – King of the Night. And soon my following, the royalty of young Wall Street, will fill his club,’ Duff explains.
‘One friend, Brian, gives me 10 ecstasy pills. I have no intention of taking them – well,maybe just one or two. I shove them into my pocket to use as party favors later,’ he writes.
By 9:30 p.m. the night spot is throbbing and people are dancing to the music with drinks held high.
‘It seems all of Wall Street is here, at least all of Wall Street that matters,’ he recounts. ‘They’re a tribe doing a triumphant war dance. I know this room will earn hundreds of millions of dollars combined in annual income this coming year – what the Street likes to call ‘f***-you money.’