"Manhattan Madam" Kristin Davis runs for NYC mayor

By Lawrence Delevingne

Mon Jan 14, 2013

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Famous for providing escorts to Eliott Spitzer, Davis started her career in the hedge fund industry.


   
   Kristin Davis (Photo: Andrew Reid)
Sure, Kristin Davis went to prison for running a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring. But parts of her background and platform line up well with many in the hedge fund industry.

"I recognize that hedge funds are a large part of the financial market and have the capability to influence market conditions," Davis tells Absolute Return. "As Mayor, I would want to work with the hedge funds to ensure compliance with SEC rules and to find a level of transparency that works for the funds and their investors to increase trust of the funds and markets."

After all, Davis is a self-described "brainy former hedge fund vice president" and spent nearly a decade early in her career providing administrative services to long/short firms.

"My hedge fund experience most definitely helped prepare me for everything I've encountered in life," Davis explained to Absolute Return in 2010, when she ran for governor of New York. "My first employer was great, but also very tough, which gave me a strong work ethic. If I was off even a basis point in our monthly accounting, I had to search through millions of trades--and dollars--to find the discrepancy."

Davis is running as a Libertarian, a political philosophy relatively common in the hedge fund industry. Well known managers with a Libertarian bent include Elliott Associate's Paul Singer, AQR Capital Management's Cliff Asness, Clarium Capital Management's Peter Thiel and Third Point's Dan Loeb.

One of her main positions in 2010 was to legalize gay marriage, a cause successfully taken up by Loeb, Asness, Singer and others. She also advocated for lower taxes, a common gripe of conservative and libertarian hedge fund managers.

Calling herself the "Libertarian Lady," Davis' 2013 mayoral platform centers on ending what she calls "Nanny State" restrictions on gambling, soft drink sizes, trans fats, marijuana use and other issues.

"Kristin's campaign is not a joke or publicity stunt. This is a campaign about real reform," explains her campaign website. "New York is becoming a Nanny State ruled by legislators who believe that they can make personal and private decisions for its citizens."

See her full interview with Absolute Return in 2010 here: "Manhattan Madam" touts her hedge fund experience in race for governor