Wilson Fete Delayed by Tower Battle

Due to his detainment in Washington to participate in the debate on John Tower’s nomination for defense secretary, Sen. Pete Wilson’s “Special Evening in Orange County to Retire the 1988 Debt” has been postponed until Sunday.

The two-part gala fund-raiser, originally planned for last night, will be held at the Emerald Bay homes of builders Jim and Al Baldwin. A $250 per-person cocktail bash will be staged at Jim and Nancy Baldwin’s granite-smothered manse at 4:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., just a few doors away, Deeann and Al Baldwin will host the $1,000-per-person sit-down dinner.

On the pricey menu (besides dreams of Wilson someday becoming governor of California): romaine lettuce with mandarin orange sections, almonds, avocado, mushrooms and poppy seed dressing; grilled herb bread; filet mignon with rosemary-laced cognac sauce and chicken breast with tarragon sauce; wild rice pancakes and a dessert to campaign for--flambe of bananas and oranges with Grand Marnier, all spilled over vanilla ice cream and crepes.

The benefit for Wilson was the hot topic at a recent party in the Laguna Beach area. “It’s interesting to me that the fund-raiser is being staged in the heart of Ueberroth country,” said one guest, referring to the fact that Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth resides in Emerald Bay. “Wonder if Ueberroth will run for governor,” asked another. “If he does, I’ll vote for him,” said one Emerald Bay resident. “I think he’s going to wait four years,” ventured another. “Well, I’d say his time has come ,” said another.


On Wilson’s Emerald Bay benefit committee: George Argyros, Donald Koll, Kathryn Thompson, Michael Parker, William Lyon, John Lusk, Donald Bren, Gavin Herbert and Gene Autry.

How sweet it is: The Irvine Co. has offered restaurateur Rex Chandler a cool $2 million to open a nightclub-version of his ultra-popular The Rex restaurant--one of Donald Bren’s favorite hangouts--at Newport Center Fashion Island. Chandler will serve up an additional one million and the eatery-cum-dance floor (with live entertainment) will open sometime next year. Earlier this week, Chandler said he plans to hang onto the existing Rex, located near the Newport Pier. “But we’ll give it a new name and make it more casual,” he said.

Would he miss its romantic ocean view? “The new place will have an incredible view,” Chandler said. “It will be built on the second story and during the day guests will be able to see Newport Bay and at night, city lights. At our present spot, there is no night-time view.” The boyish-looking Chandler began his restaurant career in Hawaii where he operated the Rex and Nick’s Fish Market in the Waikiki Beach area.

Taking Manhattan: There were only smiles at Dan Camp’s going away party on Tuesday night at the Newport Beach home of good friends Scott and Mary Lou Hornsby. “But I’m sort of laughing on the outside and crying on the inside,” whispered one guest. Camp, the extremely affable manager of the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach for the past 2 1/2 years, has been named managing director of the Carlyle Hotel in New York. “The hotel where Nancy Reagan is checking in tomorrow night,” said Camp, who added he was sad to be leaving so many good Orange County friends but “pretty excited about the Carlyle.”


Among guests toasting Camp’s good fortune (the Carlyle, Camp said, has the highest repeat patronage of any hotel in Manhattan and its only Mobile Five Star rating) were Mary and James Roosevelt, who frequently dine at the Pavilion restaurant at the Four Seasons; Maruja and Dr. George Hodges (who plan to hole up at the Carlyle and hang out at its famous Bemelman’s bar in September); Bill Voit (of rubber company fame); Ileane and Nick Doolin; Susan and Kevin Consey, director of the Newport Harbor Art Museum; Maria Crutcher; Sandra Brodie; Dori and Jack deKruif; and Paul and Virginia Knott Bender.