There's No Such Thing as Being Paid to Eat Lunch (Even by a Chinese Tycoon)

By Noah Kaufman |

© AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday was Chen Guanbio’s big philanthropic luncheon in Central Park. The menu offered filet of beef, sesame encrusted tuna and berries with crème fraiche. It did not however, feature envelopes full of cash. You might remember last week when Chen took out a full page ad in the New York Times promising to pay $300 to “poor and destitute” Americans if they would RSVP to a Hotmail address and join him at the Loeb Boathouse. This led to some speculation about who might show up and if people who really needed the money could even respond to an email like that. Chen changed his mind and decided to drop the number of guests from 1000 strangers to 200 from the New York City Rescue Mission. Despite his loud protestations and constant promises to provide his guests with the money he’d advertised, the staff of the Mission refused to allow Chen to give the gifts to individuals over concerns that they could spend it on drugs or alcohol. They actually made Chen sign a contract saying he wouldn’t hand out the money. Instead, organizers accepted a $90,000 donation to their organization.

According to reports though, Chen still got to hand out some cash. On Tuesday he hit the streets of Manhattan, giving out $100 bills to “anyone who looked like they needed money” yesterday on the streets of Manhattan. We must have just missed him. 

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