On first glance, it could be the ultimate Valentine's Day card -- a gigantic billboard that towers over New York's Times Square, featuring a happy couple with the text: "You are my soulmate forever, Charles & YaVaughnie."
But as every scorned lover knows, looks can be deceiving. This billboard -- which also has gone up in Atlanta and San Francisco -- is the ultimate act of revenge -- a very public retaliation by a dumped mistress aimed at a very wealthy, and married, businessman who is an adviser to President Obama.
YaVaughnie Wilkins posted the signs after she learned that her lover, Charles E. Phillips — president and director of the tech conglomerate Oracle Corporation and a member of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board — had reconciled with his wife, the New York Post reported.
The billboards -- there are three in New York and one apiece in Atlanta and San Francisco, where Phillips lives -- may have cost Wilkins up to $250,000, at an estimated $50,000 each.
After the billboards surfaced, Phillips fessed up to his longtime affair through a spokesman on Thursday.
"I had an 8-and-a-half-year serious relationship with YaVaughnie Wilkins. The relationship with Ms. Wilkins has since ended, and we both wish each other well," he said.
The billboards also feature a URL of the Web site www.charlesphillipsandyavaughniewilkins.com, which features photos of Phillips' and Wilkins' lengthy relationship.
In an Oracle newsletter from 2006, Phillips was described as an ex-marine and "family man" who has a wife and 10-year-old son, Chas, the New York Times reported.