Forget dinner -- the CEO of Apple only has time for coffee! Even so, 86 bidders lined up to get a shot at a little face time with the prominent businessman. The anonymous winner, whose $610,000 bid will go to support the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, will get to enjoy his java -- and 30 to 60 minutes with Cook -- at Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.
If you can't afford Warren Buffett, the former leader of the free world makes a good second choice. And, in the process of raising money for the William J. Clinton Foundation, the ex-President has made himself available for quite a few meals. The top sale was probably February 2012's auction for a day with Clinton (lunch presumably included), which went for the princely sum of $255,000.
For the billionaire mayor of New York, $185,000 barely qualifies as a bar tab. Still, when Bloomberg agreed to put a lunch on the line for the Humane Society, that's the amount of money the high bidder agreed to pay. And, given Bloomberg's famous access to information (not to mention his company's recently-uncovered tendency to use its terminals for spying), it isn't hard to see how an hour with hizzoner could prove profitable.
Speaking of access to information, it's hard to beat Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal -- and who agreed to donate a meal to benefit the Global Poverty Project. Then again, while there's no doubt about the newspapers Murdoch owns, there's some question about his access to a day planner: When Media Matters, an outspoken Murdoch critic, paid $86,000 for lunch with him, he seemed to have a hard time finding time in his schedule.
While there's a lot to be said for access to political and economic power, sometimes it doesn't hurt to be pretty. That is certainly the case for George Clooney, who was able to raise $58,000 to support the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.
And then there's a lot to be said for good taste. At least, that would help explain how famed chef and failed sitcom star Emeril Lagasse was able to BAM! his way to getting a $56,000 donation to the Emeril Lagasse foundation, in return for a dinner with himself and Cajun artist George Rodrigue.
While impressive, the value of a celebrity's time can also be fleeting. In 2007, Alan Greenspan was able to net a stunning $45,000 when he auctioned off a dinner for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. A year later, his rate had plummeted to $11,000!