Orbmagazine is always thrilled when an auto-anointed diva who has fallen off the radar roars back into the news, particularly when it involves a juicy financial scandal. So, welcome back, Kimora Lee Simmons, and come on down.
Over the weekend, The New York Post broke the story that Kimora’s third husband, Tim Leissner, 45, a Goldman Sachs director and chairman of its Southeast Asia operations, is being investigated for his role in selling bonds to raise $6.5 billion for the Malaysian sovereign development fund. Out of that pot of state funds, almost $600 million wound up in Goldman’s pocket, charged to “fees, commissions and expenses”, and $681 million was discovered to have been deposited into the personal bank account of the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
As the FBI and local officials began cranking up their “probes of money-laundering allegations”, Leissner and Kimora quickly fled Malaysia and his former base in Singapore. He has taken a leave of absence from Goldman and The Post said the couple have relocated to Los Angeles.
Orbmagazine can report exclusively that over the weekend Kimora and her husband Mr. Leissner were in New York, where the half-Korean/half-black fashion entrepreneur unveiled her latest collection of dresses. And we’ve got the pictures to prove it.
Showing off their 10-month-old son, Wolfe Lee, Tim and Kimora look like they don’t have a care in the world. Perhaps they don’t. The allegations of Malaysian corruption have been swirling for months, Goldman has the best lawyers money can buy, and perhaps it will all go pfft. Let’s hope so. Readers love those pictures of Kimora floating around on her yacht.
And the 40-year-old, 6-foot-tall tornado recently acquired a larger vessel, which she regularly docks in St. Barth’s. There she bumps into her first husband, Russell Simmons, always quaintly described as a “hip-hop mogul”, with whom she shares two daughters. (Russ and Ki received $140 million in 2004 when they sold their clothing line Phat Farm.) Kimora has also stayed friendly with her second “unofficial” husband, acclaimed actor Djimon Hounsou, with whom she shares a 5-year-old son.
Busy busy Kimora, who also has her own fashion boutique in Beverly Hills, is a close personal friend of Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Prime Minister Najib. Rosmah is the controversial clotheshorse who has been dubbed “the first lady of shopping” for the lavish jewelry she sports and for her vast collection of Hermes Birkin bags in every color. It is likely now that Kimora and Rosmah will put their sisterhood on hold until this whole unpleasantness blows over.
Getting back to the Goldman Sachs investigation, one regulatory expert told The Post, “This has been a disaster for Goldman. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The question is whether there is going to be a congressional inquiry.” Writes The Post, “There may have been multiple ‘managers’ feeding off Goldman’s lucrative Malaysian business—in effect, accepting kickbacks.”
Come what may, we’re betting the durable go-getter will weather it like the Rock of Gibraltar she is. In 2004, after she led Saddle River, N.J., cops on a two-mile chase, ending with an arrest for reckless driving and marijuana possession, Kimora got off with 6-months probation. We hear she was grateful for the wise counsel of elephant trainer/attorney Stacey Richman.
But before we leave Kimora Lee Simmons, let’s recall the day in 2001 when, at the peak of her pomposity and delusions of self-importance, Miss Kimora frustrated the eminent editor and writer Tina Brown. The even-tempered and sagacious Ms. Brown, who had previously achieved accolades as Editor-in-Chief at Tatler, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, had chucked it all to start her own magazine, Talk.
Tina was struggling to put the startup over, and in her total commitment, she agreed to personally go to the downtown loft of Russell and Kimora to conduct an interview and supervise a photo shoot of the ungainly Amazon. But Miss Kimora was in Full Diva Mode—she demanded that Talk pay for an elaborate luncheon spread for her and Russell’s entourage and the “power circle of friends” that she promised would appear for the photograph.
As Tina later wrote in Talk, “There’s a whiff of trouble when Simmons’ wife, the foxy ex-model and Karl Lagerfeld muse Kimora Lee, insists that we use her personal caterer, at a cost of roughly $400 a head. Kimora also has a problem with doing the shoot on the roof. She says she can’t get out there in stiletto heels.”
The shoot is slow in getting started. “Where is Donald Trump? Martha Stewart? The rapper Eve? My co-hosts?” Tina remembered wondering. “I go upstairs and find Simmons and six other rap personages from his Def Jam Records sitting in front of a giant TV screen watching the Lakers game and letting out the odd roar of appreciation or poem of disgust. They are all busily eating Talk’s gourmet dinner. LL Cool J, wearing a white bandana on his head, gives me a ‘Who the Fuck Are You’ look. Simmons, though, greets me affably.
“Where’s Martha? ‘She canceled,’ Simmons says. And Trump? ‘Took a rain check.’Eve? ‘Late’, he suggests. The costly dinner was eventually consumed by Kimora, her nanny and two employees.” And the elusive interview wasn’t worth typing up.
UPDATE: Mr. Leissner has resigned from Goldman Sachs.