One minute, actor Jim Belushi was belting out a tune, the next he was sporting a set of handcuffs for dinging a $1.5 million Ferrari. But the “arrest” by off-duty Palm Beach police officers was all in keeping with the fun during “Mid-Life at the Oasis”, a Moroccan-themed 50th birthday party for developer Robert Matthews of Palm Beach, Florida.
After doing a sound check at the Matthews’ home in preparation for the party, Belushi went for a ride in Matthews’ 2003 Ferrari Enzo which Matthews had just collected from the Cavallino Classic, a Ferrari event at The Breakers.
During his short trip around Palm Beach, Belushi took a corner wide and brushed the curb causing a small scratch in the million dollar car. No harm, no foul, just “a scratch” Matthews said. That would mean a paint job which, in Ferrari-land could set you back a small fortune.
Given the excitement of the night and the “mock arrest” prank pulled on Belushi, the night was a “fabulous success and one I won’t soon forget”, commented Matthews. Several hundred people who attended the event would surely agree with Bob, and probably even a slightly Ferrari-happy celebrity will remember the fun night as well.
I remember way back in middle school, a new kid showed up because his father was transferred to our town. He seemed pretty nice and my group of friends soon took him under our wing. One day during lunch, Richard, the new kid, told us something that blew our minds. He told us he was related (a 2nd cousin or something) to Farah Fawcett. Now, if you remember, back in 1977, Farah Fawcett was the biggest celebrity on the planet. So needless to say. when he gave us this news, even if it were slightly true, we looked at Richard with a new sense of pride. Yes, we now had a friend who was not just an ordinary kid at school; we had a celebrity friend by association.
Farrah Fawcett’s Iconic Pinup Poster in 1976
Now this changed things for us. We looked at this new kid as a “god” among us. Someone we listened to when he spoke and made sure his life at school was comfortable. So, maybe he wasn’t a celebrity but he damn sure was related to one. And that’s all we cared about. We told everyone at school about this guy and his life took on “middle school celebrity” status. He was now part of the “A” list.
So now when I look back on this small part of my childhood, it makes me think about how people are “changed by association”, when it comes to having celebrity friends or even having a picture taken with a celebrity. An individual can change. Ok let’s break this down a bit. This word “change” I use is not necessarily a bad type of change. It was quite rewarding for me in middle school to have Richard as a friend. It brought me into the spotlight. It made me more than just another guy at school. Yes, I changed, and I loved it.
So really then, what’s the value of Celebrity? Well, for the celebrity it’s obvious. For the person by association it’s invaluable! It can make doors open. It can make people notice you. It can get deals done. And it can. to a lesser degree, make YOU a “celebrity”. All of this just from knowing a celebrity or even having a picture taken with one. People do this all the time in the online marketing space. It all about who you know and how they can help you get ahead in your career. Now what’s interesting is that the celebrity doesn’t even have to do anything to help you or promote you. Stuff just seems to work out when you rub elbows with celebrities. Trust me, I’ve seen this in action. Ok maybe I was just 12 or 13 years old, but celebrity association even if it was a couple of degrees separated, was like being on top of the world.
Seeing new beginnings, new opportunities and new profits, developer Robert Matthews of Palm Beach, Florida is heading into familiar territory. Matthews, who at one point owned several office and industrial buildings from Connecticut to Florida, has always seen the opportunities presented in a down economy. “He has always seen the silver lining in dark clouds.” says friend and colleague Ronald Wellington.
Those dark clods that Ronald Wellington speaks about have only been “dark” to those with untrained eyes, explains Bob Matthews. The story goes, and is well documented in one local Connecticut newspaper, that Bob purchased the historic Palace Theater for only $100 and did the city of New Haven a favor, as reported on by Page Herwig, a staff reporter from the Yale Daily News(http://yaledailynews.com/). Here is a quote from the article: “The fact is we were looking for a developer who had the capacity to do something with the place,“ Mayor’s assistant Michael Kuczkowski said. “It will take a lot to make the Palace Theater useful again. Matthews is doing the city a favor.”
As is the case with many who faced the building and economic collapse of the post Bush Jr. presidency years, Bob lost a considerable fortune trying to keep his many building projects full of paying tenants. With the hardest of those years behind us now, Bob Matthews continues to use his sharp wit, real estate knowledge and impeccable timing to bring a smile to investors’ faces as he continues to take on new projects that always come with new challenges. But Bob Mathews wouldn’t have it any other way as he relates, “I live for this kind of stuff.”