Something out of the ordinary happened the other night at the yearly fundraiser for the Miami-based, paralysis-fighting Buoniconti Fund.
Someone stood up in the middle of dinner and pledged to give the Fund named after Marc Buoniconti, the paralyzed son of Miami Dolphins great Nick Buoniconti, a whopping $25 million.
Others followed suit with $1 million gifts, and when all was said and done at the Bal Harbour Shops wingding, folks had pledged $31 million to spinal-cord research.
You read right: $31 million — possibly a South Florida record for a charity gala.
Guests included major pop-culture names, but it’s a low-key socialite who came through.
Christine E. Lynn, as in Lynn University and the widow of insurance magnate Eugene Lynn, was the $25 million donor.
“People gasped when she made the announcement, then cheered like crazy,” said Fund spokeswoman Stephanie Aargaard. “When you gather [former NBC Nightly News anchor] Tom Brokaw, [ Men in Black actor] Tommy Lee Jones, [crooner] Enrique Iglesias, [polo superstar and model] Nacho Figueras and the most spectacular donors in the world, the event is already successful. But [the big gift] was just great.”
After Lynn’s announcement, Outback Steakhouse founder Tim Gannon and Miami philanthropists Swanee and Paul DiMare donated $1 million each.
Add the sponsors, the $1,000-per-ticket sales, a well-stocked auction, and a few anonymous donors (yes, that’s you, Micky Arison) and you’ve got enough bucks to advance paralysis research.
As for Christine Lynn, she declined to comment.
She did send word she was “delighted” to be able to help.
Ring’s the thing
Miami Heat President Pat Riley also spent some time at the Buoniconti Fund gala with wife Chris.
They were the only ones wearing big fat his-and-hers Miami Heat championship rings.
When in society these days, Pat wears the NBA championship ring the Heat won in June. Chris wears the 2006 edition.
Real estate update
La vida loca, Ricky?
Make that dinero loco!
Singer Ricky Martin has sold his second and last remaining Miami-Dade County property.
A yet-to-be-disclosed buyer plunked down $12.8 million for the beachfront mansion at 641 Ocean Blvd. in Golden Beach, according to an EWM Realty spokesman.
And while that sounds like a lot, records show Martin bought the property in 2007 for $16.2 million.
Martin put it on the market two years ago for $19 million.
The two-story Mediterranean-style home features five bedrooms and 108 feet of private beachfront.
AND FINALLY . . .
Remember private equity firm owner Marc Leder?
The Boca Raton millionaire worked hard to put his good friend Mitt Romney into the White House.
It was during one of Leder’s fundraisers that someone secretly video-recorded Romney’s speech about how 47 percent of voters would pick Barack Obama because they depend on government handouts. The recording is believed to be partly to blame for Romney’s loss.
Now this: The divorced Leder this week admitted to fathering a love child with an on-again, off-again galpal a few weeks before the fateful fundraiser.
Leder kept it quiet until after the election.