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CAVUTO- MICA MOSTBACHER

Cavuto Coast to Coast

FOX NEWS, Your World with Neil Cavuto, MAY 7, 2015

They Who Must be Obeyed

They Who Must be Obeyed

The women who rule Houston rule the world

By: John-Paul Flintoff, March 18, 2003

(Houston, Texas) – A rainy night in January. Shortly before 7pm, limos start to block the entrance to the Corinthian ballroom. Some of the best dressed women in Texas, accompanied by rather less flamboyant men in tuxedos, step out of the cars, into the beautifully restored building, and up the marble stairs, to take part in tonight’s Winter Ball, one of the most important events in Houston’s social calendar.

At the top of the stairs, they are greeted by a line of white-jacketed waiters, press photographers and cameramen from Channel 13, whose coverage of tonight’s event will be aired the following Sunday. Each taking a flute of ice-cold champagne, they wander through the hall past tables laden with items for auction: candlesticks encrusted with Swarovski crystals; made-to-measure suits from Saks Fifth Avenue; a vast Texan barbecue; and an inscribed copy of former president George Bush’s book, All the Best, which though listed as “priceless” has attracted an opening bid of $100…………..

Shelby Hodge, society columnist on the Houston Chronicle, says of Becca: “No one in this town throws a party like she does.” In particular, Hodge commends “the scale of the decor, and the orchestration of the guest list”. As one of the few American members of the Prince of Wales’s Foundation, raising money for English architectural restoration, Becca rubs shoulders with Forbeses, Rockefellers and Trumps. Also known as TriBecca, for her habit of changing costume three times at each party, she has recently entertained designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, the Bush family, Lynn Wyatt and a couple whose names I find on the guest lists for all the most important functions: Robert and Mica Mosbacher.

Before leaving Houston, I decide I must visit the Mosbachers, who married less than three years ago. If any couple combines social cachet with oil money and political connections, it’s the former secretary of commerce and his young wife. Robert Mosbacher has known George Bush Snr for decades, and served in his administration. In 1999, to celebrate George and Barbara’s 75th and 74th birthdays, respectively, Robert and Mica threw one of the biggest parties ever seen in Houston: top tables cost $100,000 More recently, Mica co-hosted, with Lynn Wyatt, a party for the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer.

I ask Lynn for help, and get myself a date to visit the Mosbachers at their new home. When the appointed hour arrives, Mica is there to greet me at the gates of the house, in one of the most exclusive streets in River Oaks. Over generous glasses of wine, we chat in the library, and are soon joined by her husband. Like the former president, Robert was born in the east of the US, and attracted to Texas by the prospect of making his fortune in oil. (“You can drill just one well,” he says, with a twinkle in his eye, “having borrowed just a little money, and then you can be a millionaire. It’s the epitome of the chance to get rich quick.”) He found the southern state to be a place that welcomed newcomers. “Unlike eastern society, there was no established hierarchy. Anyone can make it. It’s more about what you have done than who you are.” Having achieved his dream, he went into government, then returned to the oil business, not only as a consultant for Enron, but also working for himself. He still keeps an office downtown, and the first thing he does in the morning, according to Mica, is to check the price of oil.

In the past, he says, there were countless oil companies in Texas, many of them, like his own, run by individuals or families. “There are very few left. We’re like the last of the Mohicans.” The ethos of the industry has hardened. “In those days, you would do business on a handshake. Your word was your bond.” Regrettably, that’s no longer the case, as can be seen by the fraudulent practices at Enron.

Robert Mosbacher thinks it is merely coincidental that so many powerful Americans have links with Houston’s oil industry. But he would say that. Nor is it surprising that he defends his old friend Ken Lay, who lived until recently in a mansion nearby. “People here were horrified by what happened at Enron,” he says. “But remember that Enron and Ken Lay contributed a lot to the community.” (At the Winter Ball, standing beside the items for auction, I hear one woman ask another, in a tone that can only be described as funereal: “So, how are things going at Enron?” But Lay himself remains respected on the charity circuit, and has even been greeted with standing ovations just for showing up at black-tie events.)

My conversation with the Mosbachers does range slightly beyond business and politics. At one point, Mica tells me, with relish, about a legendary pair of Houstonian socialites who shot or poisoned their husbands. In response. Robert raises an eyebrow: “I’m not sure I like the trend of this conversation.” Guessing that it’s time to leave, I take another look around the newly decorated room, and notice that, though few books have been stacked on the shelves, a couple of photos have been put up in places of honour. One shows Robert and Mica standing on either side of a woman in a glamorous outfit: America’s First Lady, Laura Bush. She has inscribed the picture with a loving message.

The other photograph is a group shot, showing a bunch of anonymous-looking guys, much like the interchangeable gentlemen in tuxedos at the Winter Ball, massively outshone by their glamorous wives and girlfriends. The difference is that this group is dressed for quail hunting. But, like the men at the ball, they’re no ordinary bunch. Standing around in a clearing in southern Texas, they include a former secretary of state, a former ambassador, a former secretary of commerce and a former president of the United States. Studying their faces, I conclude that hunting quail must constitute light relief from affairs of state and the commercial imperatives of oil – converging, right now, in the war on Iraq. Not forgetting the high-powered networking through which they are guided by their wives, Houston’s women of distinction.

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