Socialite and businesswoman Georgette Mos bacher, whose name is a familiar fixture in columns that chronicle New York’s rich and famous, made the police blotter today after she was robbed at a hotel.
The 43-year-old wife of Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher ran into a well-dressed Uzi-toting thief in the plush halls of the Barbizon hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Tuesday evening, police said.
Mosbacher, widely touted as one of the most glamorous figures in the Bush Administration, told the Daily News that she refused the gunman’s demand that she open the door to her room and go inside with him.
Instead, she said she gave him the jewelry she was wearing--worth about $30,000--and some personal papers. Then, as the gunman’s hands were full, an elevator door opened and, Mosbacher said, she dived in, “screaming and yelling and leaning” on the emergency buzzer.
In the lobby 20 floors down, she alerted the hotel staff. The gunman was long gone.
“It was hell,” Mosbacher told the newspaper. “I’m lucky to be talking to you. It’s amazing at the moment when it was happening how calm I was. I remember when I was bitten by a snake in Texas, and I went absolutely berserk. This time I didn’t.”
Mosbacher, owner of La Prairie, a women’s cosmetics firm headquartered in Switzerland whose products are sold in exclusive department stores, said that during the confrontation, the well-dressed gunman poked a submachine gun at her and whispered, “Open your door.”
“I said, ‘The door won’t open, the key won’t work.’ He opened the door, and I told him, ‘I’m not going in there. I’m not going to shout.’
“I took off my earrings and said, ‘There’s a bench over there and I’m going to sit.’ I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to live,’ but I thought I’d have a better chance in the hallway,” Mosbacher said.
One of the first things she did after the ordeal was “order a stiff drink” and call her husband in Washington, she said.
Mosbacher was staying at the hotel while the couple’s upper Fifth Avenue cooperative apartment is being renovated.
The Barbizon, once a fashionable women’s hotel and residence, is owned by a corporation formed by the one-time owners of Studio 54.