What's a 15-minute chat with Henry Kissinger worth? A home-cooked italian dinner with NBC reporter RIchard Valeriani? Lunch with the White House's Midge Costanza?
To raise funds, Boston's Emerson College auctioned off those tidbits (among others) and found that a little diplomatic jaw boning with Kissinger was worth $1,300 to one bidder. Dinner at the home of NBC's State Department correspondent went for $320, and lunch with Constanza earned $800.
GM heir and Washington philanthropist Stewart Mott was both a bidder and a prize: he paid $300 for the services of Spiderman and Spiderwoman at a birthday party, and TV wizard Norman Lear paid the same amount to have a vegetarian lunch with Mott.
"We're waiting for more crops," says Mott, who grows vegetables at a Manhattan penthouse when he isn't living on Capitol Hill. "In September we'll have squash, corn and tomatoes."
The meeting of Mott and Lear at the auction wound up costing the two men more money than expected. Mott knew Lear had pledged $50,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union. In the course of conversation Mott said he'd contributed the legal maximum, $25,000, to federal candidates this year. Lear then said if Mott would match his contribution to the ACLU, he'd match Mott's contribution to federal candidates. They shook on the deal.
Later, after Mott left the auction, Lear bid $1,000 to buy Mott a date with the Penthouse Pet of the Year for 1977, Victoria Lynn Johnson. Two weeks ago Johnson and bachelor Mott ate dinner overlooking Central Park, took a horse-drawn carriage to the theater, and then made the disco circuit.
Other Washington prizes: a meeting with Tip O'Neill brought $320, a Harry Truman autograph fetched $220, and a tour of the State Department receiving rooms with lunch with the chief of protocol earned $400.