Thursday, June 08, 2006

It wasn't Lee's age

We finally got some official insight into why Lee Bienstock was fired and Sean Yazbeck was hired.

From Trump University's "Lessons Learned":
What can we learn from this season?
Sean and Lee are both excellent leaders. But in the end, Sean's greater maturity made him this season's Apprentice. Remember, maturity is not a question of age. It comes from a winning attitude, enlightened leadership, attention to detail and the other traits we saw in Sean throughout this season.
It would have been nice if Trump had articulated these reasons at the final boardroom, but - at that time - he didn't provide any explanation for firing Lee and hiring Sean. The past few days there has been discussion of the fairness of selecting young candidates for the competition if their age prevents them from being hired. The statement above may be an attempt to address that issue.

Sean's an apprentice. Dan's a COO.

We caught up with Dan Brody this week. Daniel was the first Orthodox Apprentice candidate to be fired by Mr. Trump.

He shared with us his final thoughts on the season...

The season was great! Sure, I was in it to win but to be honest I can not complain about the opportunity and success that my involvement with the program has brought me. I do believe that there were many valuable players that were eliminated far earlier than they deserved, ie. Pepi. He is very bright and talented and got a raw deal but now since he came back and Trump joked around about who he was Pepi has gotten amazing recognition and few will forget the name Pepi now.

The live Finale was great. Of course it was extra exciting to be there on stage in front of a live audience but I think it was a fantastic end to a great season.

He told us about the speaking circuit...

I have actually had several speaking engagements and that is one of the benefits of being eliminated earlier rather than later. As soon as you are fired you are released to speak to the public and since the show is still on air there was a great deal of momentum and interest in scheduling me. I have other engagements that will continue in to the summer that I have arranged months ago. I typically speak about both The Experience on The Show as well as my life and business experiences and little tips that I have been taught /picked up and have worked for me.

And what else keeps him busy...

VENCOR - Robeworks (VCOR.PK) has been a great opportunity for me. Vencor is publicly traded and I prepared and sold a business plan to them that outlines a marketing strategy to increase the company's Market Share. Since that time the company valuation has more than doubled and it continues to be exciting. Not only does Robeworks service many highend Resorts but the company claims recognized retail chains like "Restoration Hardware" as a valued customer.

Last week I signed on with GRACE a Multi-Million Dollar Japanese based headwear and accessory company as their new COO and Director of U.S. Operations with Headquarters in the heart of the Apparel District in NYC. It is a very exciting undertaking and I look forward to the challenge as we grow GRACE USA to become the leading headwear/ accessory company in this country.

Thank you, Mark Burnett....

I am grateful for the opportunity and the exposure that The Show has given me. It has opened many doors and that coupled with my business knowledge and experience has proven to be a fantastic combination.

From synagogue to basketball

TV Guide asked Apprentice runner-up Lee Bienstock about playing ball in dress socks. Read the full interview here.

Also read about Steven Weiss' post-game chat with Lee.

Lee's Orthodox Apprentice Q & A is coming soon.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Episode 15: Lee, you're fired!

Some high/lowlights of tonight's finale of The Apprentice:
  • Trump opens the episode asking the live audience who likes Lee? Mixture of cheers and boos. Who likes Sean? The crowd goes wild. And that's how the rest of the episode plays out.
  • Lys Hopper's jaw drops when Lee tells her that Lenny will handle the celebrities.
  • Jennifer of SLS Audio describes the Q Line home theater speaker system (available at to Tarek. He later dons a Q-Line hat for a high profile appearance.
SLS Q-Line Gold 650W Home Theater System w/ DVD Player QG5000

  • Gold Rush meets with Christine DiCarlo of The Leary Firefighters Foundation. Lee and his team are not prepared with the level of details she expects. Lenny tries to crack jokes to remedy the situation.
  • Lenny assigns a size medium uniform to each hockey player.
  • Jason Priestly enters Chelsea Piers and no one from Gold Rush greets him or escorts him.
  • Lee Bienstock answers Mr. Trump's phone call, "How ya doin' pal?"
  • Donald informs Lee that he'll be there shortly, but no one from Gold Rush meets him at the door. Trump recalls that Rebecca Jarvis made the same mistake last season.
  • Best line of the night... Jamie Pressley to Lenny Veltman: "Your sh**'s not together, little apprentice boy!"
  • At the end of the event, Lys reflects on Lee's performance, "He did a good job. I have a big smile."
Back to the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles....
  • Don Jr., Ivanka, George and Carolyn each praise both candidates without expressing any preference. Politicians!
  • Lenny tells Trump, "Lee is like gold. Gold can only appreciate in value."
  • Donald reveals the two projects: hotel / condo developments in Hawaii and SoHo. Both Sean and Lee prefer the New York project.
  • Trump asks the fired candidates to stand up for their choice of the new apprentice. Dan Brody stands for Sean.
  • Trump receives the final tally of votes and is surprised that there's a clear favorite. However, he fails to reveal the results of the vote. He also neglects to announce the results of the fundraising events. How much money was raised? Which event was more successful? We'll never know.
  • "Lee, you're fired!"
  • In an unusual departure from past Apprentice finales, Donald fires a candidate. Usually he "hires" the winner without "firing" the runner-up.
  • Without any explanation. Without any criticism of Lee's performance. Without any praise for Sean. Trump leaves us hanging with many unanswered questions. We may never know why he chose to fire Lee. He didn't give a reason.
  • Lee's religious holiday observances were not mentioned tonight. Not in the season recap. Not in the boardroom. It's not an issue for Trump.
  • Sean drives away in his new Pontiac, "I'm the Apprentice, baby!"

Lee kept it exciting but came up short at the end. Lee has much to be proud of and his future is bright and promising. More thoughts to come. Stay tuned....

The Faceoff

Today's Boston Herald reports that Christine DiCarlo -- who has run several charity events for Denis Leary -- was involved with Lee Bienstock's celebrity hockey event for his final task on The Apprentice.

The paper quotes her as saying, "Personally, I don’t think he did very well. He tried, but it was quite a long day. In the end, he pulls it off, but getting there was a struggle. It was so unorganized.... I have no idea what the outcome will be - since the viewers will do the voting, but I can see how Lee got as far as he did. He’s quite the politician.”

According to the Herald article, a silent auction was held at a VIP reception before the hockey game. A wealthy Bostonian offered the highest bid for a pair of bench seats at the game.

Among the celebrity participants were Cam Neely, Jason Priestly, Paul Guilfoyle (CSI), John McEnroe, Phil Esposito and Michael J. Fox. The teams were coached by Jaime Pressley (My Name is Earl) and former Boston Bruin Derek Sanderson. Lenny Clarke emceed the event.

So we know that Lee's team struggled through the planning and preparation stages of the task. But we also know that they held a successful auction for the VIPs (and there were many wealthy attendees) and, in the words of an eyewitness, "he pulls it off." It's all about results, isn't it?

Reports from Sean Yazbeck's task indicate that the Barenaked Ladies concert was a success and the WWF raised a nice sum of money at the event.

Tell Trump who to hire. It's not too late to VOTE FOR LEE!

Want to win $30,000?

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Text message your vote to 51515 with the message "A" for Lee. Or vote online.

Limit 20 entries per person, regardless of method of entry. Must be 18 years of age or older and legal residents of, and are physically present in, the 50 United States and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands). All entrants who vote, regardless of their answer to the Question will be entered into the Grand Prize random drawing for $30,000.

Promotion ends at 11:00 p.m. ET on Monday, June 5, 2006.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Will Lee get leied?

Trump International Hotel and Tower Waikiki Beach Walk is a planned 460-unit luxury hotel and residential condominium tower. The building's amenities will include a library, lobby bar, café, outdoor swimming pool, sun terrace with ocean views, indoor/outdoor dining and bar area, cabanas with tropical landscaping and views of the ocean and neighboring park, a private fitness center and spa, and resident and hotel lobbies. Public sales are expected to begin in late spring, with construction of the 350-foot tower starting in early 2007. Completion is scheduled for early 2009.

This project will be featured on Monday night's finale of The Apprentice. The winner could be hired to support this development in Hawaii, where kosher food would be a big challenge.

Hawaiian Vacations for Less