Most of Jewish American wealth is self-made in the last century or so (as opposed to Gentile-inherited opulence), [WHITFIELD, American, p. 7] a trajectory that has no reason to plateau. About half of the Jewish super-rich built their fortunes in real estate and construction, most notably in the New York City area, but also all across the country, including Detroit, San Francisco, Miami, Washington DC, Indianapolis, and Oklahoma City. [LIPSET, p. 15] Edward S. Shapiro specifically cites Jewish "real estate barons" Alfred Taubman in Detroit, Melvin Simon in Indianapolis, Stephen Muss in Miami, Monte and Alfe Goldman in Oklahoma City and Walter Shorenstein in San Francisco. [SHAPIRO, 1987, p. 14]
"In real estate and construction," adds Abraham Korman, "there have been major Jewish builders in San Francisco (Walter Shorenstein), Detroit (Philip and Max Stollman), New York (Samuel Lefrak), and Washington [DC] (Charles Smith) ... Melvin Simon of Indianapolis is one of the major shopping center developers in this country." [KORMAN, p. 24] The Simon Property Group is indeed "the nation's largest mall owner in the United States, " including the Mall of America in Minneapolis. [MOTHER JONES, 5-3-01] "In the construction and real estsate fields," notes Milton Presur, "there are such giants as Webb and Knapp; the Uris Brothers; Tishman; Levitt; and Rudin and Wolfson Enterprises." [PRESUR, M., 1982, p. 163]
San Francisco's Walter Shorenstein owns "one of the nation's largest and healthiest real estate empires," [KING, R., p. AS1] worth $405 million. He was noted in 1999 by the San Francisco Examiner as "San Francisco's biggest landlord," owning "about 25 percent of the city's downtown rental property." [BRAZIL, E., 11-5-99, p. A4] Also in San Francisco, Richard Swig -- winner of Israel's Golda Meir award -- founded the posh Fairmount hotel chain; he also served as on positions for the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Federation. By the 1880s, Adolph Sutro, a Jewish immigrant from Prussia, alone owned "roughly one-twelfth of the land in San Francisco." He also became the mayor of the city. [NEWITZ, A., 1-13-99]
In a March 2000 letter to an online magazine, famed San Francisco poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti singled out a Jewish real estate developer who was central in the cultural destruction of that city:
"A developer from Michigan, Scott Seligman, who runs Sterling Bank and Seligman Western Enterprises, wants to gentrify the Mid-Market zone. Not to make the City a better place but to make his bank account a little fatter. He wants a bretter class of tenant. No more photographers or poets or translators or editors or painters. Nomore small businesses serving the City." [FERLINGHETTI, 3-8-01]
In 1989 the Los Angeles Times called Martin Selig "Seattle's biggest property owner." He had recently sold Seattle's tallest building for $354 million. [DIETRICH, B., 11-20-89, p. D1] A decade earlier in Seattle, Forbes noted that Jack Benaroya (also Jewish), "for 30 years built the Seattle area's largest real estate empire: 8 million commercial square feet, about 90% industrial, including 5 business parks." [FORBES, 10-27-86, p. 290]
Another Jewish real estate developer, William Levitt, is credited -- or blamed - for the creation of "massive tract developments of single family homes ... He shaped the American dream, a house of one's own for a small down payment and an endless mortgage." [KREFETZ, p. 50] Levitt was instrumental in the invention of "suburbia": sprawls of mass-produced uniform tract houses. Between 1947 and 1951 his company constructed 17,447 homes for 75,000 people on Long Island, known today as Levittown. He also created another housing conglomeration -- also called Levittown -- in Pennsylvania. George Ritzer notes that:
"Levitt and Sons thought of their building sites as large factories. Insteadof having the product move, as one the automobile assembly line, the Levitt's product, the emerging house, was stationary, and it was the workers who moved around the building site ... Said Alfred Levitt, one of the sons: 'The same man does the same thing every day, despite the psychologists. It is boring; it is bad; but the reward of the green stuff seems to alleviate the boredom of the work." [RITZER, p. 28]
By 1973, Arthur Cohen was chairman of Arlen Realty and Development Corporation, "a corporation that controlled some $1.7 billion of U.S. real estate." [CARRUTH, E., 1973, p. 184] ... Shopping centers are the largest single element of Arlen's business, and the company is one of the nation's largest builders (as well as operators) of them." [CARRUTH, p. 187] Cohen and three associates held 49 percent of the voting shares in the company.
By 1982, another Jewish real estate mogul, Samuel J. Lefrak, alone owned 55,000 apartments in New York City and another 30,000 elsewhere, run by some 350 different companies, each owned by the Lefrak family. [KREFETZ, p. 81] By 1982 too, "the great majority of the New York landlords [were] Jewish" including the prominent family names of Uris, Durst, Tishman, Rudin, Horowitz, Ravitch, Minskoff, Milstein, Sol Goldman, and Frederic Rose, a former President of the Jewish Philanthropies of New York. [BAER, p. 195] Before financial problems in the late 1960s, William Zeckendorf was "master, at one time, of possibly the greatest of all real estate empires." [BLACKWELL, E., 1973, p. 534] In the early 1990s the Rudins owned buildings worth $1.5 billion. Other huge Jewish real estate empires include [d] those of Aaron Gural, Leo and Alexander Bing, the Resnicks, Fishers, Koeppels, Wiens, Cohens, and Silversteins. By 1929 A.E. Lefcourt's 24 buildings (many skyscrapers) placed him "among the largest landlords in the city and squarely in the ranks of its wealthiest men." [SCHACHTMAN, p. 117]
Most New York "real estate barons," confirmed Tom Schactman in 1991, are "white and Jewish." [SCHACTMAN, p. 21] By the 1920s, "a survey found that 80 percent of the speculative builders in [New York] city were Jewish although Jews made up only 40 percent of the 10,000 builders in the metropolitan area. The [Jewish] immigrants' domination of the field worried some; the chairman of the board of the United States Realty and Home Improvement company called the 'foreign element ... a disturbing feature in real estate today.'" [SCHACHTMAN, p. 111] Architecturally, "even the shopping center was a [Jewish] ?igr?contribution, pioneered by Viennese-born Victor Gruen ... In Chicago, [Ludwig] Mies became the virtual inventor of industrial design." [HEILBUT, p. 143]
The premier real estate trader in the ritzy Hamptons area of Long Island was (until he choked on a piece of steak and died in 1991) Allan Schneider. Schneider was both Jewish and homosexual, although he hid both. He was, says, Steven Gaines, "the most powerful broker in all the Hamptons -- the 'Pasha,' as he was affectionately called by his staff, with offices in Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, and East Hampton and revenues approaching $100 million ... [He had] domination in the Hamptons real estate market ... He not only substantially changed the face of the landscape, but his own life was in some ways a metaphor for the new Hamptons: a stage upon which nouvelle society could invent itself." [GAINES, S., 1998, p. 4, 45, 48] How about "the largest private landowner in all of East Hampton?" That would be Evan Frankel, who "held the deed to more than 1,000 acres of developable land ... at one point he owned so much land that it was estimated he paid 50 percent of all the real estate taxes in East Hampton. Not coincidentally, at various times, he held seats on the town planning board, the board of directors of Southampton Hospital, and the advisory board of the East Hampton Free Library." [GAINES, S., 1998, p. 170]
Another Jewish real estate mogul, Ben Tobin, once a part owner of the Empire State Building, was, like most, "a major benefactor to Jewish charities." [NITKIN, p. 6B] Down the street, Jack Weiler's nationwide holdings equaled 5 million square feet in New York alone; 1.5 million more were owned in California. "A new community of more than 2,000 homes and 5,000 residents on the southern ridge of Jerusalem was named Kiryat Jack Weiler because of his support for Israel and his ability to coax others to help as well." [VAN GELDEN, p. 26] Frederic and Earle Mack's Mack Company, based in New York and New Jersey commercial and industrial development, merged with another firm in 1997 to form the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation "which boasted a combined market capitalizaiton of $3.4 billion ... Like his brother Earle, Frederic Mack has long shown an abiding interest in U. S. relations with Israel ... Mack is currently on the national board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation's largest and most infoluential pro-Israel lobby." [MOTHER JONES, 5-3-01]
In July 2001, a private company took over control of the ill-fated World Trade Center. Silverstein Properties (president: Larry Silverstein) signed a 99-year lease to run the landmark business complex for $3.2 billion from New York City's Port Authority (chairman: Lewis Eisenberg). [SCT NEWSWIRE, 7-25-01] The retail section was also controlled by a Jewish entrepreneur. As the Jerusalem Post noted after the 2001 terrorist attack:
"Australian businessman Frank Lowy, who emigrated to Australia from Israel in 1952, owns the 99-year lease for the 425,000 square foot retail portion of the destroyed World Trade Center. Lowy is the chairman and founder of Westfield Holdings, the manager of Westfield America Trust, which has a 57 percent stake in Westfield America Inc ... Westfield said today that it has insurance cover against terrorist attacks and its earnings will not be materially affected. In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange the retail chain said that 'investment
in the retail component of the World Trade Center is fully insured for both capital and loss of income,' adding 'the insurance cover includes acts of terrorism' ... Today [Lowy] is the second wealthiest man in Australia and was recently ranked as the 209th wealthiest man in the world by Forbes magazine. Westfield is the fourth-largest shopping mall owner, with operations in Australia, the US, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Lowy is philanthropically involved in the Jewish community in Sydney as well as Israel, including sponsoring the Overseas Students School of Tel Aviv University which is endowed in his name and being associate international chairman of the Israel Democracy Institute." [BERGER, S., 9-12-01]
In the New York city government sphere,
"for more than four decades, without ever holding public office, Robert Moses ruled in New York like a potentate. He spent an estimated $27 billion on public works: highways, bridges, parks, tunnels, beaches, playgrounds, dams, public buildings, and public housing. He was in large part responsible for the construction
of the Lincoln Center, the United Nations, Co-op City, and the Coliseum. His most impregnable power base was the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, where he reigned as chief executive from 1933 to 1968. He had helped draft the legislation that created the authority and that at the same time ensured its existence in perpetuity by empowering it to issue new bonds. The never-ending stream
of bridge and tunnel tolls gave Moses control over a bond-issuing agency with exiguous accountability; during his tenure the authority, although a public agency, was as autonomous as the privately governed Metropolitan Museum." [MEYER, K., 1979, p. 93]
Another Jewish mogul, Aaron Ziegelman, is in "the controversial business of buying low-rent buildings in New York City, renovating them and selling the apartments as condominiums. The New York Times called him 'one of New York's biggest co-op converters.'" [KLEIN, A., p. 10] One of Ziegelman's pet projects is to reconstruct an Eastern European village in Israel; he has also donated a million dollars to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and a million and a half to the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.
Yet another Jewish real estate mogul is Jerry Speyer. He married into the Tishman family, also Jewish; the family's firm "Tishman Realty" became the largest "builder-owner" in the United States. [TRAUB, p. 68] Fellow Jewish real estate developer Bernard Mendik told the New York Times Magazine in 1998 that "right now, Jerry [Speyer] is the Number 1 real-estate developer in the world." [TRAUB, p. 62] Today Speyer's Tishman-Speyer Properties owns 36 million square feet of building space, valued at $10.5 billion. Among other sites Speyer's firm owns include Manhattan's Chrysler Building and the Messerturm in Frankfurt, Germany (Europe's second tallest building). He has served on the boards of both Columbia University and the Museum of Modern Art. Speyer, says journalist James Traub, "operates in that elite sphere in which wealth, public-spiritedness, and proper table manners converge to form a colossal nexus of power, but one almost invisible to the outside world." [TRAUB, p. 64]
In 1995, Business Week highlighted another Jewish real estate mogul, Steve Green:
"Most people have never head of the 49 year-old real estate maven. But Steven J. Green's empire is growing fast. His personal holdings include 120 retail properties across the United States, which he estimated is worth $500 million. Through partnerships, he has a stake in a real estate company in Britain that owns 22 office properties in European business centers, an industrial project in Eastern Europe, and a retail development in Moscow's Red Square. And he's the chief executive of Astrum International Corporation, a $1 billion company that owns Samsonite, American Tourister, and Culligan brands." [WOOLLEY, p. 116]
By 1940, Albert M. Greenfield's real estate business in Philadelphia was the largest in the city. By age 35 he had "accumulated" 27 building and loan associations and was known as 'one of the most influential men in the city." [SKLARE, p. 284] In early Los Angeles, Kaspare Cohn "was one of Southern California's largest landowners." [GOLDEN, H., 1973, p. 233] By the 1970s, noted one Jewish observer, the (Jewish) Hellman family's Farmers and Merchant Bank, "excepting the state, is the largest property owner in California." [GOLDEN, H., 1973, p. 233]
In Chicago, Sam Zell is "one of the biggest property owners in the country." [ALLEN, J. p. C1] Zell built his fortune on slum lording or, as the Chicago Tribune puts its, the "buying of distressed properties and resurrecting them ... Zell acquired troubled apartment buildings in Florida, Reno, and Las Vegas." [ELSNER, p. C1] "If you viewed us as a group," said partner Burton Kanter, "we were the biggest landlords in Reno." [ELSNER, p. C1] In 1976 Zell and three associates were indicted in a tax shelter scheme over a Reno hotel transaction. Zell cut a deal with the government, but his brother-in-law went to prison. [ALLEN, J. p. C1]
Chicago-based Neil Bluhm, president of JMB Realty, and partner Judd Malkin, noted Forbes in 1990:
"are among the few 1980s property owners to remain high on the Forbes Hundred [richest Americans list]. Each is estimated at over $770 million, although they tell people they are each worth just under $1 billion." [BERSS, p. 352]
JMB's reach is far, owning even the prestigious Century City office complex -- home to many in the Hollywood entertainment world -- in West Los Angeles. Nearby, in Beverly Hills, Guilford Glazer oversees his own $474 million real estate empire, including the Del Amo Fashion Mall, "the largest shopping mall in the world." [BLUMAY, C., 1992, p. 415] Glazer, notes Forbes magazine, is "active in Jewish American causes. [He] built [an] Israeli community center with buddy Armand Hammer." [FORBES, 10-12-98] A Beverly Hills neighbor is Eli Broad, co-founder of Kaufman & Broad, the Los Angeles area's "largest home builder." [GOLDBERG, JJ, 10-22-99] In 1977, Jewish mogul A. Albert Taubman "purchased 77,000 acres of some of the best land in southern California between Los Angeles and San Diego." Taubman, based in Detroit, "by the mid-1960s ... was building shopping centers in California, the nation's ongoing Mecca of real estate development ... It was Taubman who continualy upped the stakes in mall development, again raising eyebrows by building them bigger than anyone else, placing more stringent demands on tenants and charging higher rents for retailers who set up store under his roof." [HIGGINS/HOOVER, 5-3-01, p. 4a] A Holocaust survivor, Frank Lowy, owns Westfield America, the largest shopping mall company on the West Coast, including eight properties in Los Angeles, eight in San Diego, and four in Northern California. In St. Louis, Missouri, "Lowry has five malls and is the city's biggest landlord." In Australia, Lowy's home base, his "mall empire ... has blanketed the continent." The global asset value of his company's holdings is $13.2 billion. [COOLIDGE, 10-19-98]
Also in Chicago, "Philip Klutznik and his American Community Builders, and his later Urban Investment and Development Co. went on to build much of the face of Chicago over the last half century." [OLIVER, p. A16] He is largely responsible for the planned Chicago suburb of Park Forest and he owned the downtown landmark Water Tower Place.
In Washington DC, yet another Jewish real estate king, Charles Smith, controlled "Washington's greatest real estate fortune." [HAGGERTY, M. p. F10] His son Robert, and son-in-law Robert Kogod today run an empire of 2,000 employees, 14,000 apartment units (20,000 counting the ones they also manage), and interests in 54 office buildings. Their total worth was estimated by the late 1980s to be $3-5 billion. Other area Washington area Jewish real estate moguls include the Hafts, Mort Zuckerman, Albert Abramson, Ted Lerner, Bernard and Carol Gewirz, Robert Rosenthal, Estelle Gelman, Hermen Greenberg, Abe Pollin, Myer and Adrienne Arsht Feldman, Joel Meisel and Barry Cohen, among others. [REGARDIE'S, p. 64-] As Barbara Matusow notes about an earlier Jewish generation in the nation's capitol:
"Morris Pollin eventually became a leading builder and developer in
the area -- the path to wealth for so many other Jews of humble
origins ... Abraham Kay parlayed his earnings from a grocery store
on Capitol Hill into vast landholdings in the suburbs. Morris
Cafritz, the city's richest developer, used to hawk newspapers...
Nearly all the other first generation success stories -- car dealer
Joe Cherner, Giant Food's patriarch Nehemiah Cohen, Macke
Vending's Hyman Goldberg, lumber merchant Isadore Turover --
also had major holdings in real estate." [MATUSOW, B., MAY 2000, p. 79]
In Houston, Jewish real estate mogul Jerry Moore is worth over $400 million, owning over 140 shopping centers. Forbes noted that he bought
"shabby, low-profit but promising strip centers and turn[ed] them
into born-again cash machines ... Moore lives with his wife in an
authentic 18th-century, 40-room French chateau (transported from
France and reassembled in Houston's ritzy Memorial section). He
owns 22 Ferraris, 14 Rolls Royces, and over 200 well-restored antique
Dusenbergs, Packards, and other vehicles." [FIELD, p. 32]
Elsewhere in Houston, David Mincberg owns "one of the largest apartment firms in the city." [HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1998] He is also chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party and president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
Also in Texas, based in Dallas, the Centex real estate company "is one of the nation's largest home builders, with operations in 53 markets in 19 states." [NEW YORK TIMES, 9-3-98] Its CEO is also Jewish, Laurence Hirsch.
In Boston, "the young professionals who began favoring Boston as a place to live around the time of the Vietnam War are ensconced in their lairs, many of them either built or financed by [Mark] Goldweitz." [ROBINSON, p. 61] In 2000, Jerome Rappaport sold his massive Charles River Park development -- apartments and condos -- for $300 million. [Van Voorhis, S., 2-14-00] Other Jewish real estate moguls in Boston include "the Krupp brothers, Philip and William, who made a killing in real estate," as well as Stephen Karp, Julian Cohen, Bruce Beal, Steve Fishman, Ron Drucker, Dick Friedman, Alan Leventhal, and Edwin Sidman, among others. [BOSTON MAGAZINE]
Owner of properties throughout New England, Holocaust survivor Simon Konover -- owner of over 11 million square feet of real estate -- "is a staunch supporter of Jewish charities." [CHAINSTORE, p. 92] Richard Penzer has a "real estate empire" in Pittsburgh; in Chicago, by 1988 William Adler had developed over 100 suburban and industrial properties and thousands of homes.
In Los Angeles, by 1992 Jona Goldrich and Abraham Lurie alone controlled 25% (worth $250 million) of the luxurious Marina Del Rey beach area. "For years," notes the Los Angeles Times, "Goldrich has been active in Jewish affairs." [RABIN, J., p. B1] Goldrich has been "a major builder of residential and commercial projects throughout California" and a "major player" in the $400 million Channel Gateway project near Marina Del Rey. In 1991 he was awarded a controversial contract by the Los Angeles County to control over 18 acres of prime Marina Del Rey waterfront for the next 70 years. "Mark Nathanson [also Jewish], a Beverly Hills real estate broker and a member of the California Coastal Commission," noted the Los Angeles Times, "was a leading supporter of the lease extension [to Goldrich] when the five-member Small Craft Harbor Commission met last week." "Nathanson," observed the Times, "is the target of a federal political corruption investigation in Sacramento." [RABIN, J., 12-23-91, p. B1] For Abraham Lurie's part, he was once even a business partner with the brother-in-law of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd. In 1992, before economic problems, Lurie was described as Marina Del Rey's "biggest developer." [RABIN, J., 7-29-92, p. B1]
In Miami, Jewish real estate moguls include Craig Robins. As one journalist notes:
"[Robins] is Miami's most celebrated purchaser and rehabber of
dilapidated buildings ... A few in Miami Beach gripe that Robins'
rep and political clout have made him and [his company called]
Dacra inordinately influential in the city, greasing the skids for any
proposed project that has his name on it."
Robins' partners include his brother Scott and New York-based developer Tony Goldman. [KISSELL, T., 6-15-99]
Even in Mormon-dominated Utah, John Price is the (Jewish) chairman and CEO of JP Realty, "among the top commercial real estate developers in the Intermountain West, owning and managing properties in Utah and nine surrounding states." These holdings include 12 enclosed shopping malls, other shopping centers and various commercial and industry buildings. [KNUDSON, M., 3-23, 97] In Denver, Sally Barry made local news when she fought prominent real estate developer Jordan Perlmutter's plans that would obscure beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains from popular Robert Clement Park. [GREEN, C., 2-22-95, p., B7] Also in Denver, Israeli-raised Shaul Baruch, son of a rabbi, was noted in 1995 as a "wealthy land developer" who had recently purchased "443 acres of prime dirt near Denver International Airport." [REBCHOOK, J., 12-5-95, p. A47]
In Omaha, Nebraska, as an addenda to the real estate world, Phil and Harley Schrager own the Pacesetter Corporation, the "largest independent, direct-seller and manufacturer of residential building and improvement products in the United States." [JEWISH PRESS, 3-31-2000, p. 1]
In Canada, the Reichmann family has an international real estate empire and, by the 1980s, before financial troubles, were reputed to be "one of the wealthiest families in the world." [BUCHINSKY, p. 4] The Reichmanns owned the largest real estate empire on earth, as well as the world's largest newsprint producer (Albitibi-Price), plus various other holdings. The former Deputy Minister of Finance for Canada, Marshall Cohen, directed the large Olympia and York division of the Reichmann sprawl. "The Reichmann's main business vehicle, Olympia and York Development," notes Anthony Bianco, "was the greatest property development company in Western history." [BIANCO, p. xv] "At the peak of their success ... the Reichmann's donated $60 million annually to [Jewish] Orthodox institutions worldwide." [ATLAS, p. 264] The Jewish Reichmann and Bronfman families were instrumental in building New York's tallest landmark, the World Trade Center, and in the late 1970s the Reichmanns had major downtown development projects in ten American cities. [BIANCO, p. 368] "In Florida, Olympia and York generally invested along with the Shapiro family." [BIANCO, p. 399]
"Seagrams [owned by the Montreal-based Bronfman family] are not only the largest liquor empire in the world, but the largest private land-owners in Canada." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 68] Also from Montreal, Maxwell Cummings' real estate company has owned land and buildings across North America. In 1948 he built an apartment complex "which was the largest privately owned housing development in Canada ... Throughout his life, Cummings has played an important role in the Jewish community." [BEAUDIN, p. A4] Cummings, who died in 2001, was "a leading developer of low-cost housing in Canada." [EISENTHAL, B., 5-24-01] An Orthodox Jew from Toronto, real estate baron Stephen Mernick, even bought (for $139 million) the 500-acre PTL Christian theme park in North Carolina (after the sex scandal that swept Jim and Tammy Bakker into ruins). [DOLPHIN, p 38]
Also in Canada, Jewish mogul Peter Munk, while heading "one of the world's most valuable gold mining companies, Barrick Gold," also controls "Toronto's landmark CN Tower, lots of office space in New York, and what is described rather coyly as effective ownership of the Sears Tower in Chicago." [FINANCIAL TIMES, 6-30-98, p. 21] In 2000, Jacob Ghermezian died. A Jew from Iran, he "built a real estate empire in Canada." [KIRSCHNER, S., 9-14-2000, p. 11]
Even in a place like Sacramento, California, Mort Friedman "is prominent in two of the most public arenas in town, law and development." [DELSOHN, p. A1] Both a lawyer and a real estate developer (including Sacramento's Market Square mall), his personal fortune is estimated to be about $100 million. Friedman has worked "for improved U.S.-Israeli relations," says the Sacramento Bee, "He lobbied Congress and met with Israeli leaders as an officer of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee." [DELSOHN, p. A1]
In 1989, a roomful of such Jewish real estate barons and assorted slum lords gathered to hear the Jewish New York State Attorney General, Robert Abrams, speak at the "Greater New York Real Estate and Construction Division of the State of Israel Bonds." Real estate mogul Sheldon Solow received the "Israel Peace Medal." Abrams, noted a news wire dispatch, "as a public official and even before that, ... has been a strong voice on behalf of Jewish causes ... [and an] ardent champion of the state of Israel ... While he was borough president, he successfully persuaded the New York City Board of Education to incorporate Jewish Heritage Week into the curriculum of public schools." [PR NEWSWIRE, 11-3-89] The chair of the Real Estate Board of New York at the time (1988) was also Jewish: Larry Silverstein. Such men no doubt included David Steiner, head of Steiner Equities Group, "a real estate concern which oversees millions of square feet of commercial and industrial property from its New Jersey headquarters." Steiner is a former president of AIPAC, the foremost lobbying agency for Israel in America. [MOTHER JONES, 3-5-01]
In Europe, in 1997, the Deutche Presse Agence wire service noted that "Berlin's Jewish community is currently in turmoil, its standing in the city tarnished by reports of dubious real estate dealing and political in-fighting among some of its members." [FREEMAN, C.] Jewish entrepreneurs were noted to have even swindled Holocaust survivors. "Our image is tarnished in the public eye by all the talk of corruption and scandal," the wire service was told at the Jewish Community Center of Berlin." "Recently," noted the Agentur, "a [Jewish Community Center leader's] husband was investigated by the police, reputedly for forcing a woman from Riga into prostitution. There have also been media reports of a [Jewish] Community member ruthlessly driving up property rents in east Berlin." [FREEMAN, C.]
Of the 21 members of Berlin's Jewish Community organization, 17 were noted to be "involved in real estate or property management." [FREEMAN] The chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Berlin, Ignatz Bubis, also owned 40% of the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv til his death in 1999. The London Guardian noted that "All his adult life Bubis insisted that he would live in Germany but did not want to be buried there ["he wanted to be buried in Israel"] and "although Bubis came to reflect the secularization and worldliness of modern German Jewry, he once said he would be 'very upset' if his daughter married a Gentile." [TRAYNOR, p. 10]
Another German Jewish mogul, Moritz Gertler, was recently described by one London newspaper as "one of Germany's wealthiest private property owners." [NISSE, p. 1, 2] In 1998, a French wire service noted the Jewish Fiszman family, rooted in German real estate, as "one of Germany's wealthiest families." [AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, 10-1-98] (Other wealthy post-war Jews in Germany include Emil Januscek (in clothing), the "banker Feuchtwanger, in Munich, and Rosenthal, the manufacturer whose porcelain has a worldwide reputation.") [KATCHER, L., 1968, p. 176]
In Vienna, Austria, Ariel Muzicant heads the "largest association of Austrian Jews." (Today's Austrian Jewish population is about 15,000). He was also born in Israel. "I am the biggest broker in town," Muzicant told the New York Times in 2001, "So, yes, I know the mayor and deputy mayor. I am bigger than the second- and third-largest brokers combined. I build, broker, lease, and sell commercial real estate." A rival Jewish leader condemned Muzicant as a "man who advertises real estate on the Web page of the Jewish community he is supposed to represent." [COHEN, R., 3-25-01]
In England, the firm owned by Jewish moguls Michael and Peter Freeman was picked by Estates Times to be "one of the top 10, and possibly top five, quoted property companies in the UK" by the year 2000. [ESTATES TIMES] Michael Price, also Jewish and active in British real estate (and who owns 6% of the powerful Chase Manhattan bank), was noted by the Times of London to have "recently emerged as one of America's most aggressive investors. It is the nightmare of every American executive to wake up in the morning and find that Mr. Price has just bought a stake in his company." In 1993, Sighismund Berger (who father was a leading figure in Britain's Jewish Orthodox Satmar sect), facing economic woes, was still described by the London Observer as "arguably UK's largest private landlord." [PARKER-JERVIS, ONLINE]
"Mention any high-profile development," noted the London Guardian in 1991,
"and Godfrey Bradman's been there too; in particular, he favours mega schemes: Finsbury Avenue (half a million square feet); Broadgate (3.5 million feet); Chafford Hundred in Essex, the biggest residential project in Britain. And of course the 125-acre King's Cross development, the largest single inner-city scheme in Europe." [COLES, GUARDIAN]
Bradman is also, noted an observer in the Guardian, "part of that north London set of Jewish businessmen who go to each other's charity dos." [COLES, GUARDIAN] Yet another Jewish British real estate force is Gerald Ronson, "one of the country's most celebrated property tycoons" who in 1990 "was fined pounds 5 million and did six months in jail for his part in the Guinness share-dealing scandal." [BARNETT, A., p. 3] Other British Jewish real estate tycoons include Mark Pears (whose family owns an estimated 20,000 flats and houses), and "London property brothers Eddie and Sol Zaky, whose Topland Group's portfolio is worth 1 billion pounds." The Zakys are from Israel. "I would forecast that unless peace comes soon," says Philip Beresford, compiler of a newspaper "rich list," it would be a logical step for Israelis to settle in Britain." [LEVITT/KOHEN, 4-27-01, p. 14]
Even in Hungary, in 1995, "Israeli-owned real estate development companies have started or prepared projects in Budapest worth $350 million that range from family apartments to renovations of abandoned hotels to massive shopping malls. The total development market size is estimated to be $1.6 billion." [O'LEARY, p. 28] And, as the Jerusalem Post noted in 2000, "over the past few years, many Israeli companies have invested in real estate in Eastern Europe, and in Poland and Romania in particular." These Israeli companies include Olimpia Real Estate Holdings, Kardan Real Estate, and Elscint Limited. In 2000, Elscint also bought a 49% ownership of a Polish hotel chain. [SHAVIV, M., 10-6-2000] In the Czech Republic, about 1,600 Jews live in Prague, the beautiful capital of that country. "The new chairman [of the Prague Jewish Community]," noted the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2001, "intends to ensure that the community makes the most of its assets, which include prime real estate in Prague and elsewhere in the country." [BENNETT, M., 7-2-01]
In 2001, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, noted that "Israeli real estate companies are the largest and most active in some Eastern European countries ... Companies like Europe Israel have invested hundreds of millions of shekels in buying and developing East European commercial centers. Kardan Investments has been operating several years in Poland and has set up thousands of square meters of office space." The article, however, focused upon increased Israeli real estate movement in Great Britain. Israeli companies there include Giron Development and Building and Dorot. But the "most prominent Israeli company in the British real estate scene is Alony-Hertz." [LINDMAN, C., 6-27-01]
Israeli Real Estate Flourishes in England. Haaretz [Israeli newspaper], June 27, 2001
"The entry of real estate into foreign fields was made possible by an easing of Israel's foreign exchange restrictions in 1993, allowing first companies, then individuals, to move money out of the country. This, coupled with accelerated globalization also easing the transfer of capital from one country to another, has led to a new situation in which Israeli real estate companies are the largest and most active in some Eastern European countries. But Israeli companies and individuals also had many incentives for investing in Britain."
Bernerd is near buy-out,
by Mark Scodie, Jewish Chronicle, (UK, paper copy), September 12, 2003 p.12
"Chelsfield Chairman Elliot Bernerd has told JC Business that he expects to be in a position to make a management buy-out offer for the property firm by the middle of nexth month ... Mr. Bernerd owns a 12% stake in the company. Among those backing his bid is Israeli diamond magnate Benny Steinmetz, who owns 7.8% of the company. He has also discussed his plans with his 'old friends,' the billionaire Reuben brothers."
Reuben brothers in talks to back Bernerd buyout,
by Mark Scodie, Jewish Chronicle (UK, paper copy), August 8, 2003, p. 7
"The Bombay-born brothers, sons of Iraqi Jews, are said to worth about 2 billion pounds. They made their fortune in the Russian aluminum industry in the early 1990s, before turning to property. Their portfolio includes the former Labour Party HQ Millbank Tower and is thought to be worth more than1 billion pounds."
Israelis drive into NCP with 610m pound car parks' purchase,
by Mark Scodie, Jewish Chronicle (UK, paper copy), September 19, 2003, p. 12
"An Israeli consortium has paid 610 million pounds to take control of 138 NCP car parks across the UK ... Individual investors, said to number less than 10, include property man Igal Ahuvi, whose international portfolio is worth more than 1 billion pounds ... Many of the Israelis already have strong footholds in UK property ... NCP recently landed the street parking contract for Westminster City Council, the largest UK contract of its type."
Property tycoon is new Sassover London rabbi,
by Golders Green, Jewish Chronicle (UK, paper copy), 2003
"The head of the company which owns London's largest slice of residential property has become the new rabbi at the Sassover Beit Midrash. Renowned Talmudist Rabbi Shlomo Freshwater, managing director of the Freshwater Group, has become the shul's rabbi ... Rabbi Freshwater is the son of Benzion Freshwater, who is said to be London's largest private landlord with 20,000 tenants. Mr. Freshwater appears in 54th place in the Sunday Times 2003 rich list, with total assets of 529 million pounds."
Peccole Ranch co-developers face lawsuit by Canadian bank. A lawsuit alleges a banking exec took bribes to approve a new loan for the world's largest mall,
By John G. Edwards, Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 16, 1998
"A family of Canadian developers with several major Las Vegas projects is fighting a $297 million lawsuit filed by a Canadian government bank seeking to throw the world's largest shopping mall into receivership. Alberta Treasury Branches, a bank run by the province of Alberta, filed a lawsuit earlier this year that until recently was in large part kept secret. The bank accuses Elmer Leahy, former head of ATB, of accepting bribes from the mall's four owners -- the brothers Nader, Eskandar, Raphael and Bahman Ghermezian, according to the Globe and Mail in Toronto and other Canadian newspapers. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Tuesday acknowledged they were investigating the matter but declined to elaborate. The lawsuit alleges the bribes were made to obtain $279 million in refinancing for West Edmonton Mall in 1994 ... The Canadian lawsuit will have no effect on the $300 million in real estate developments the family plans over the next four years in the Las Vegas area, said spokesmen for Triple Five Nevada Development Corp., the family's Nevada development arm. Nader Ghermezian said the family's developments in Las Vegas and around the United States are held by corporations separate from their interests in Canada ... The Ghermezians own the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., which is the world's second-largest shopping center, and have other interests in San Jose, Calif., Seattle and Phoenix, company executives said. "Vegas is our No. 1 priority across North America," Walrath said. The company has 12 years of developing experience in Southern Nevada, including the Ghermezians' role as co-developers of Peccole Ranch community with the Peccole family. Triple Five will hold grand opening celebrations today for Village Square at Peccole Ranch, a retail center on the northwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Fort Apache Road. The project includes the 18-screen Act III movie theater complex and 60,000 square feet of space including shops, cafes, a hotel, the Sahara West Library and Fine Arts Museum. Also, it has apartments and 50,000 square feet of office space, according to Triple Five Nevada. It will operate 350 apartments. The company also is developing $150 million Boca Park on the northeast corner of Charleston and Rampart boulevards. The 96-acre project will include a Target and other retail outlets as well as offices, condominiums and hotels. It developed Rainbow Sahara & Rainbow Center, Grand Canyon Commercial Center and other projects for a total of 4 million square feet of retail development in Las Vegas. It has two apartment complexes, Wellington Meadows and La Villa Estates. "Las Vegas has gone through a tremendous growth spurt in residences and now we believe it will be going through a tremendous retail commercial growth in the suburbs," Walrath said. The family applied to establish Peoples First Bank in Las Vegas, but withdrew its bank application from the Nevada Financial Institutions Division in August."
[The Canadian Ghermezians are Jews from Iran.]
The Ghermezian Organization,
"The Ghermezian Organization and its affiliates are a major diversified, international conglomerate with vast knowledge and experience. Their active involvement comprises large scale ventures in such fields as banking, economic redevelopment and revitalization, job creation, urban renewal, establishment of suburban communities, civic projects, full range residential, commercial and industrial developments, major tourism facilities, mixed retail and entertainment complexes, technology, mining and natural resources, hospitality and hotel operations, the majority of which are developed, managed, owned and operated by The Group. A sample of the groups activities and projects include: the federally chartered People's Trust company, Canada's second largest non-public banking institution; as mentioned in the Guiness Book of World Records, West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Mall of America in the United States respectively the first and second largest tourism, retail and entertainment complexes in the world. Each year they generate over $2 billion in regional economic impact and taxes. They attract over 60 million visits annually, more than Disneyland in California, and Disneyworld in Florida combined."
[A little older article: context for the above.]
The Ghermezian Brothers: Real Estate Magnates,
Salam, July 1, 2003
"In their adopted home of Canada, the Ghermezian brothers -- Eskandar, Nader, Raphael and Bahman -- are figures shrouded in mystery. A fiercely private Orthodox Jewish family, they refuse to grant interviews, or to be photographed. The Encyclopedia Britannica gives few biographical facts about their father Jacob and founder of the Ghermezian real estate dynasty, other than he was born in Azerbaijan in 1902, immigrated to Canada in the late 1950s where he started out by developing a chain of Persian rug stores, and died in the year 2000. All of those who have dealt with the family describe them as hard-as-nails political and legal operators. These four Iranian natives have created one of Canada's biggest and most spectacular real estate empires through Triple Five Corp , ["Key People: CEO Eskandar Ghermezian; COO; EVP, West Edmonton Mall Property: Don Ghermezian; CFO; VP US Operations: David Ghermezian"] their large asset-based financial conglomerate that consists of nearly 400 companies with offices across Canada, U.S., England, Japan, Taiwan and the Middle East. The Ghermezian brothers boast, among other things, of having built the world뭩 largest shopping mall, West Edmonton Mall. Now a staggering 5.3 million square feet, the megamall features more than 800 stores, 25 sit-down restaurants, a casino, an amusement park, an indoor wave pool, a dolphin lagoon, and 26 movie screens in two theater complexes. Since the mid-1980s, the Ghermezians have had plans to conquer the American real estate market as well. The family has done very well in Las Vegas, having become principals in at least 34 companies registered in the state. The Ghermezians also built the huge 밠all of America?in Minnesota. Since its opening, Mall of America has grown to more than 525 stores and now employs about 12,000 people. Inside the building, there are 49 restaurants, a cinema with 14 screens, and 8 night clubs. The mall has an economic impact on Minnesota of nearly $1.5 billion per year. It has become a must-see tourist attraction, with more than 270 million visitors both local and foreign since its opening. At the moment, Mall of America attracts more visitors annually than Disney World, Graceland, and the Grand Canyon combined, which makes it the country's most visited destination for U.S. travelers. The new generation of Ghermezian offspring have also displayed the entrepreneur spirit of their family. When Mark Ghermezian was running for senior-class president at his high school in Edmonton, Canada, he tacked campaign posters over urinals and discovered that this placement could be quite effective. Now 20 and a part-time student at Yeshiva University in New York City, he runs Flush Media, which places full-color print ads in stalls and above urinals. His primary venues are in Canada at places like Calgary International Airport, but he also has a contract with 130 New York Sports Club locations along the East Coast. So far, clients include TNT and Snapple. But with all that success comes the downside as well. The family has been the subject of a lot of controversies and lawsuits over the years, including allegations of improper influence in the form of 뱎olitical contributions?and 밽ifts?to public officials both in Canada and the United States. That was true in the Spring Valley casino case in Las Vegas, in which several council members who voted 뱘es?to the Ghermezian뭩 proposal had received tens of thousands of dollars in political campaign contributions. This sparked huge protests from nearby residents and political opponents, who turned to the courts to block the casino."
MetLife sells Sears Tower,
BY DAVID ROEDER, Chicago Sun-Times, March 12, 2004
"Sears Tower is being sold, and the deal represents votes of confidence both in the Chicago real estate market and the nation's war on terrorism. MetLife Inc., owner of the 110-story tower in the West Loop, disclosed the sale Thursday. MetLife wouldn't reveal the buyers, but a source close to the sale said they are New York investors who held the lease on the World Trade Center. The buyers, the source said, are Lloyd Goldman, Joseph Cayre and Jeffrey Feil. The same men also were named as the buyers by the Slatin Report, a Web site covering New York real estate. All are prominent but secretive Manhattan landlords. Goldman and Cayre joined with Larry Silverstein in buying the trade center lease for $3.2 billion months before the twin towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Silverstein is embroiled in lawsuits over a $7.1 billion insurance payout for his ownership group. A spokesman said Silverstein is not involved in the Sears Tower deal. MetLife did not report the sales price, saying only that the deal gives it a $90 million after-tax gain. The giant insurer held a $760 million mortgage on the property, so the sales price could exceed $850 million. But some experts said the price could be less, especially if MetLife has reduced the value of the building on its books. Many Chicago brokers were astonished by the swiftness of the sale, which occurred without MetLife taking competing bids. Brokers said the Sears Tower "offer book'' hit the streets only a couple of weeks ago. "Somebody came in with a pre-emptive bid. It must have swept them off their feet,'' one said. Appraisals of Sears Tower have fluctuated wildly since the terrorist attacks suggested the building, the tallest in the United States, could be a future target. Before Sept. 11, 2001, an appraisal listed its value at $911 million, but that was reduced to $826 million last year. Goldman Sachs & Co. is a leading tenant in Sears Tower, with a lease until 2011, but it plans to move to another building. That was the tower's biggest loss after the Sept. 11 attacks. A spokesman for Chicago-based Trizec Properties Inc., manager and leasing agent for the building, said other tenants have renewed their space and new ones have signed on, giving it a healthy and stable occupancy of 89 percent. Rents, however, are cheaper in the building, and that factored into its lowered valuation. "It's still one of the best buildings in Chicago. It just has bad karma,'' said Drew Neiman, principal of the John Buck Co. and a former leasing agent for the building. He said he expects its value and rents will rise as the nation's fear of terrorism subsides .. In late 2002, MetLife struck a deal in Chicago with Goldman, Feil and others, selling them a 37-story building at 10 S. La Salle for $120 million."
[Contributor's Note: "Chairman & CEO of Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.: Robert H. Benmosche. Does he personally know the new buyers of the Sears Tower?" Older article below, per the one above about Met Life and the Sears Tower:]
Borscht Belt-born success Deliveryman turns chairman/CEO,
By RICH NEWMAN, Times Herald Record, April 14, 1998
"As a 17-year-old military prep school student, Robert H. Benmosche used to drive a Coca-Cola truck, selling beverages and making deliveries to all the Borscht-Belt hotels "I made 85 percent of my (college) tuition during the summers," he said. Benmosche, a Monticello native, now 53, has come a long way since then. After 14 years as securities industry executive with PaineWebber, he joined Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. in 1995. And last month, MetLife announced he will succeed Harry P. Kamen as the insurance giant's chairman and chief executive officer. MetLife has $1.7 trillion worth of insurance in force in the U.S., more than any other insurer in the nation, Benmosche said. Benmosche says the foundation for his extraordinary success in the business world can be found in his Borscht-Belt upbringing. "We were in the hospitality business," he said in a recent telephone interview from his New York City office."
Real-Estate Tycoon, Falsely Accused, Philanthropist, Political Power Player ... What Abe Hirschfeld is? - The Right Man for the Job,
Yahoo!, (Source: Abe Hirschfeld for US Senate), September 22, 2004
"Master Builder Abe Hirschfeld's vision for the proposed West Side Stadium, will not only result in a beautiful new, state of the art, athletic facility, but also accomplish this fete without costing the taxpayers a cent, or putting unnecessary stress on the environment or the residents of the West Side. Confident in New York City's ability to secure placement as the 2012 Olympic venue, Hirschfeld plans to leave his mark in New York through the development and building of an Olympic Stadium and integrating it with the existing Javits Center into an "Olympics for life stadium club of New York." The feat would be accomplished earlier than the 2012 Olympics so that New Yorkers can enjoy the facilities even before the games begin. According to Hirschfeld his formula will result in a "win win" situation ... Abe Hirschfeld is best known as a hugely successful builder whose goal in his business ventures has always been to make people happy ... . Described by billionaire real estate developer and reality television icon Donald Trump as, "The smartest developer" he knew, Abe Hirschfeld has known nothing but success in his real estate ventures. He invented the open air garage in 1955, and used that model to build his fortune and today 90 percent of the garages in lower Manhattan were built by Hirschfeld and his company ... He rose from a man who worked in the scrap metal business to a real estate tycoon with developments around the globe. He has become a trusted political advisor to some of America's most influential people."
Lawrence and Eris Field Donate $12 Million to Baruch College in New York, Gift Will Support Restoration of Historic Manhattan Building That Is Site of First Public College in America and Establishment of Chair in Entrepreneurship,
PR Newswire, October 11, 2004
"Baruch College announced that Lawrence N. Field and his wife Eris have made a $12 million donation to the New York school. The donation includes $10 million to support the renovation and modernization of Baruch's historic classroom building at 17 Lexington Avenue, which will be renamed the Lawrence and Eris Field Building. An additional $2 million will fund The Larry and Eris Field Family Chair in Entrepreneurship. When Larry Field first walked through the doors of 17 Lex more than half a century ago, he had no idea how that historic building would change his life for the better. Now Field, a successful California real estate developer, is making sure that the building will continue to provide future generations with similar positive opportunities ... Through Southland Investment Company, The Richlar Partnership and NSB Associates, Mr. Field has developed or acquired more than two and a half million square feet of commercial property and developed more than 1,000 homes."
Tshuva buys Jacksonville skyscraper,
Eli Daniel, The Marker (Israel), September 5, 2004
"[Israeli] Yitzhak Tshuva's private company El-Ad Group has heady ambitions for North America, it appears. El-Ad Group Florida recently acquired the BellSouth Tower in Jacksonville for $91 million. The 32-storey BellSouth Tower was built in 1983. It is the third-highest skyscraper in Jacksonville, rising 145 meters. It comprises rental space of 88,000 square meters, of which 92% is occupied by the phone company and other businesses. During the second quarter of 2004, El-Ad Group subsidiary El-Ad Properties acquired the Plaza Hotel in New York for $675 million"
Equity One sells Miramar plot and Baton Rouge shopping center,
by Eli Daniel, The Marker (Israel), September 8, 2004
"[Israeli] Gazit Globe company Equity One announced with the dawn that it has sold two assets in the U.S. for a total of $4.2 million. It stands to post a $1.25 million capital gains from selling the properties, which will be booked in its third-quarter financial statement. The company, which develops and operates community and neighborhood shopping centers located predominantly in high growth markets in the southern United States, said it sold a development parcel in Miramar, Florida for $1.5 million. On that it will be gaining $150,000. It also sold the Millervillage shopping center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for $2.7 million, with an associated gain on sale of approximately $1.1 million ... The Miramar development parcel is a two-acre site located about three miles from Interstate 75 in southwest Broward County. The company's chairman and CEO, Chaim Katzman, explained that Equity One had decided to sell off non-core assets. Equity One, which says Hurricane Frances did not substantially damage any of its assets, sold the Plaza Del Rey shopping center in Miami for $9 million when the third quarter began ... First-half revenues were $109.5 million, an increase of 34% from the same six months of 2003. It netted $18.5 million in the second quarter, and $38.8 million for the half-year."
[Yes, Sterling is Jewish. Jewish domination of the business side of professional sports, here.]
NBA Owner In Sex Scandal. Los Angeles Clippers boss admitted he paid to play,
The Smoking Gun, August 12, 2004
"Just what the NBA needs, another sex scandal: Donald Sterling, the miserly tycoon who owns the Los Angeles Clippers, testified last year that he regularly paid a Beverly Hills woman for sex, describing her as a $500-a-trick "freak" with whom he coupled "all over my building, in my bathroom, upstairs, in the corner, in the elevator." Sterling's graphic testimony--which came during a two-day pretrial deposition in connection with a lawsuit he filed against the woman, Alexandra Castro--will surely nettle basketball commissioner David Stern, who normally has to explain away the behavior of 20-something athletes, not married 70-year-old club owners worth nearly a billion. During a sworn January 2003 deposition, Sterling denied having a relationship with Castro, though he changed his testimony when questioned again last August. In often explicit detail, Sterling recounted three years of transactions with Castro, whom he met in mid-1999. While acknowledging that, "maybe I morally did something wrong," the Clippers owner was not shy when it came to describing hour-long sessions with Castro, whom Sterling credited with "sucking me all night long" and whose "best sex was better than words could express." Testifying that he was "quietly concealing it from the world," Sterling had a blunt appraisal of his "exciting" relationship with Castro: "It was purely sex for money, money for sex, sex for money, money for sex." Sterling, a Los Angeles real estate mogul, bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million and the franchise--one of the most profitable in the NBA--is now worth more than $200 million. Since Sterling's purchase, the team has amassed the NBA's worst combined record and gained a reputation as a stingy operation that will trade an exceptional player before paying him a superstar's salary."
[JTR contributor's note: "Here is an older article about alleged racist doings of the alleged tightwad multimillionaire [Sterling], who is alleged to engage in classic alleged Jewish money-clinching behaviour":]
Sterling's myriad legal battles tied to bottom-line business orientation,
by Amanda Bronstad, Los Angeles Business Journal, February 17, 2003
"Donald Sterling, billionaire owner of the L.A. Clippers, Malibu Beach Club and hundreds of apartments throughout Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Koreatown, is embroiled in new litigation challenging his business practices. Hit on Feb. 6 with a $750,000 racial discrimination lawsuit, Sterling also has a date to go to court Feb. 24 over claims he committed fraud and breach of contract in the $3.5 million purchase of the land beneath Sterling Plaza, his 7-story art deco headquarters in Beverly Hills. Litigation is not new to Sterling, who last year settled claims brought by the city of Santa Monica that he harassed tenants to keep rents up in apartment complexes in that city. But the Sterling Plaza case is one of the only suits involving his commercial investments. Most of the suits -- and there are dozens filed in L.A. Superior Court -- involve tenant harassment complaints, the sort of litigation not uncommon for landlords of any size. Suits by tenants and vendors, said real estate executives, are just one of the risks associated with investing in apartment complexes, especially in Southern California. They say Sterling may be unfairly targeted because of his high profile and net worth, estimated at $1.4 billion ... Where Sterling stands out among real estate investors is in his focus on the operational aspects of his holdings -- following the age-old axiom to buy low and holds tight to his properties, all the while watching every dime ... But his penny-pinching style, well known among fans of the L.A. Clippers, has been at the crux of most of the real estate litigation filed against him. Numerous battles In 2001, the city of Santa Monica brought a case against Sterling based on allegations that he harassed eight tenants in three of his rent-controlled buildings by threatening to evict them for having potted plants on their balconies. Sterling ended up paying $25,000 to settle the case. Earlier this month, he filed an eviction notice against a family in a rent-controlled apartment complex on 1021 Lincoln Blvd., claiming one of the family members had torn down notices in the elevator. The tenant has filed an answer to the eviction notice, according Denise McGranahan, staff attorney at Legal Foundation of Los Angeles. "I've never seen someone evicted for this reason in my life," she said. "And I've been doing this work since 1993." On Feb. 6, the Housing Rights Center, a tenant rights non-profit organization representing six tenants, sued Sterling for discriminating against blacks, Hispanics and the disabled at two apartment complexes. The suit claims Sterling visited Mark Wilshire Towers at 691 Irolo St. in May 2002 to tell his staff to rent apartments only to Koreans, not blacks or Hispanics. He also changed the name of the complex to Korean World Towers and fired the non-Korean staff. Gary Rhoades, litigation director and lead counsel in the case for the Housing Rights Center, said he has evidence Sterling's behavior is a "widespread problem" and more blatant than in other discrimination cases. "There are direct statements made by the defendants, and their advertising shows a preference for a certain type of tenant based on race or national origin, Rhoades said. "We rarely have that in discrimination cases."