Why and how Eli Broad is giving billions away

Morley Safer profiles the billionaire, who keeps a keen eye on how his donations are spent

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"Number one, it's his money and you don't have to take it - so I'm sympathetic with that. Eli is not a micromanager as much as he has ideas on how you can make society better, and he's devoting his own money to doing it. Kind of hard to argue that he doesn't have the right to do it, and you don't have to play the game of you don't want to," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

"When you've got one 800 pound gorilla in the room, you're scared to death of the guy. Everybody does want something from Eli. And since he is the biggest game in town, nobody wants to alienate him," art critic Christopher Knight said.

There was quite a crowd at a gala in November 2010 for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, which Broad bailed out two years ago for $30 million.

It was a scrum of culture vultures, fashion victims and art victims, dealers and collectors - a night when skinniness was next only to godliness, when philanthropy and social climbing, self-aggrandizement and greed dissolved into one gigantic air kiss - all under the benevolent eye of that feared and admired dictator, Eli Broad.

"Beyond the altruistic part of it, ego plays a part in this?" Safer asked.

"Oh absolutely," Broad admitted.

"A desire to be loved?" Safer asked.

"A desire to be respected. I'm not doing these things to become the most popular person in the city. I wanna be the most respected person," Broad said.

We left him on the roof of his art foundation, this fully contented man, master of all he surveys.

'What's this at the very end here? I know what this is," Safer said, referring to a sculpture of two very big feet sitting on top of the building. "It's big foot."

"It IS big foot," Broad agreed.

"And who is the biggest foot in Los Angeles right now?" Safer asked.

"I don't know," Broad said. "I don't think so."