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Beef filet filling but cash is what they came for

By Verena Dobnik

NEW YORK (AP) - A Chinese tycoon served up a fancy lunch Wednesday to homeless New Yorkers at a Central Park restaurant, but caught grief from attendees expecting cash.

Recycling magnate Chen Guangbiao selected a menu of sesame-seed-encrusted tuna, beef filet and berries with creme fraiche at The Loeb Boathouse restaurant for more than 200 residents of the New York City Rescue Mission, the nation's oldest shelter. He even serenaded them with a rendition of "We Are the World" and did some magic tricks.

Dozens of volunteer waiters sported green uniforms similar to those once worn by soldiers in China's People's Liberation Army, bearing the words "Serve the People."

"I'm looking forward to a good time and a good meal," said Antone Hills, a shelter resident. "I think he's a good guy and he's helping our country."

Wads of cash filled wire baskets at the restaurant, with Chen waving some of the money in front of the guests. But when they discovered that they in fact would not be given any money, an uproar ensued, with some yelling, "We want it now!"

Shelter officials urged Chen not to give cash to the group because many are being treated for addictions and the money could be better used for their programs.

Others waiting outside, unable to get in because they weren't registered, booed and cursed Chen, yelling "liar" and "con man."

Chen said he wants to disprove the image of rich Chinese spending money on luxuries.

"I was not born into a rich family or a family of government officials. When I was 4 years old my brother and sister died of hunger, so I achieved my success through confidence, self-motivation and my hard work," Chen said in Chinese in an interview on "CBS This Morning."

His worth is estimated at $750 million.

"Our thought was if someone wants to treat them to an amazing event - something they would never experience on their own, maybe even a kernel of hope that life could be different again, we're in for that reason," said the shelter's executive director, Craig Mayes.

But Chen's American ambitions surpass philanthropy.

Earlier this year, the 46-year-old businessman wanted to buy The New York Times. Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., said the newspaper was not for sale.

To announce the lunch, Chen placed ads in the Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Chen has been deemed eccentric from his theatrical antics.

To protest air pollution in Beijing, he stood on a street corner handing out cans marked "Fresh Air." Chen also rushed to the scene of a massive earthquake in Sichuan and handed out cash to victims. On Tuesday in New York City, he was on the street offering $100 bills to anyone who looked like they needed money. His English language business card reads: "MOST CHARASMATIC PHILANTHROPIST OF CHINA."

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moozzie June 25 2014 at 10:58 PM

These ungrateful ingrates. Go get a job and earn a living and stop sponging off of others.

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28 replies
nsheats June 25 2014 at 11:12 PM

And now we see why many are against welfare. What a bunch of ungrateful people.

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13 replies
JC June 25 2014 at 11:14 PM

I did a quick internet search for the Brasil jersey that the woman in the picture is wearing. Low end is is around $75. That says a lot.

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50 replies
I LOVE YOU JENNY June 25 2014 at 11:22 PM

Chen has good intentions, you must appreciate that!!!!!!!!

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9 replies
dredselw June 25 2014 at 11:15 PM

A lot of homeless people are there because they want to be. They have no responsibilities to interfere with their life. They depend on hand outs and expect them.

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11 replies
jmjnaf June 25 2014 at 11:23 PM

"WHAT DO WE WANT......."WE WANT IT NOW". Typical Al Sharpton. Jesse Jackson, OBozo no information voter's. You CAN'T satisfy people like this...no matter what you GIVE them, free food, welfare, food stamps, free heath care, free education, free Obama phones. Freakin PARACITES!

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36 replies
allstarcaps June 25 2014 at 11:18 PM

Obie's kids are at it again...been in public housing, and receiving public assistance so long it has become a "right, and entitlement" in their twisted democrap minds....never mind the fact that their check actually comes from a CHINESE loan!

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16 replies
Dude June 25 2014 at 11:14 PM

Decorating the event with cash when none was to be given was about as low class as you can get. And he could have fed 3 times as many if he had provided ordinary meals instead of being so upscale. He should have given out 1000 KFC buckets instead.

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49 replies
jhntd727 June 25 2014 at 11:16 PM

Well, some folks are not grateful for those trying to be kind!!
What can you do--what can you say--who can you call!??

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9 replies
moooooooooochelle June 25 2014 at 11:14 PM


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8 replies
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