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Bernard Spitzer (born 1924) is a real estate developer and philanthropist in New York Citymarker who built several landmark buildings around the city including The Corinthianmarker which was the largest individual apartment building in New York City when it was built. Spitzer is father of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. In 2008 he has an estimated net worth of $500 million.

Early life

Spitzer's parents moved from Austriamarker to New York's Lower East Sidemarker after World War I. They operated a print shop. Bernard received an engineering degree from City College of New Yorkmarker in 1943 at the age of 18. He successfully competed with Jerry Stiller for the hand of Anne Goldhaber, whom they courted in the Catskills.

Spitzer initially tried his hand at civil engineering but turned instead to real estate development.

Real estate developer

Among the buildings Spitzer has built are:

  • 1020 Park Avenue (1962), 20 floors
  • 1050 Fifth Avenue (1958)
  • 200 Central Park South (1963) - A 35 story building at Seventh Avenue and Central Park that is noted for its curved walls and a driveway that angles across the front of the building (other buildings along Central Park South are square)
  • 210 Central Park South (1966), a 24 story building next door
  • 985 Fifth Avenue (1968), a 25-story building on the site of the Isaac Vail Brokaw Mansion
  • 220 East 72nd Street (1974), a 28-story building -- the first five of which are occupied by Marymount Manhattan College (where Anne taught)
  • 800 Fifth Avenue (1978), a 34 story building at 61st Street
  • The Corinthian (1988), a 1 million sf, 57 story, building occupying an entire block between 37th and 38th on First Avenue
  • 150 East 57th Street (2000), a 34-story building


Additionally, Spitzer has purchased several prominent commercial office buildings over the years, including:
  • 730 Fifth Avenue (The Crown Building), New York City, acquired in 1991 for $95 million.
  • 2001 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. acquired in 2001 for $95 million.
  • 1615 L Street, NW, Washington, D.C. acquired in 2009 for $180 million.


Philanthropies



Father of the governor

Spitzer played a major role in the life of his son Eliot, the future New York Governor, both as a child and during his rise to power.

According to biographers during a game of Monopoly between father and son when the future governor was seven or eight, the elder Spitzer ordered the future governor to sell him a piece of property. When Eliot later landed on the property, he couldn't afford the rent and thus been taught "Never defer to authority."

Spitzer provided an apartment to Eliot rent free at 985 Fifth Avenue (which Bernard built). Bernard paid a gift tax. Rent from the apartment buildings in the Spitzer empire provides most of the more than $1 million income that Spitzer had reported in 2006.

Bernard was to bankroll Eliot's foray into politics loaning him $5 million in the first two campaigns and paying him $200,000 a year. The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust has donated at least $140,000 to organizations led by political allies.

In 2007 Governor Spitzer appointed Dale Hemmerdinger to be president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Before being confirmed, Hemmerdinger had to resign from the all-white, mostly Jewish Harmonie Clubmarker. It was then revealed that Bernard had been a member of the club for more than 30 years.

Also in August 2007, Republican strategist Roger Stone was accused of leaving this message on Bernard's office answering machine during the "Troopergate" scandal in which Eliot was accused of using state troopers to spy on Joseph Bruno:

This is a message for Bernard Spitzer. You will be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate committee on investigations on your shady campaign loans. You will be compelled by the Senate sergeant at arms. If you resist this subpoena, you will be arrested and brought to Albany.


And thereā€˜s not a goddamn thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-shit son can do about it.


Bernie, your phony loans are about to catch up with you. You will be forced to tell the truth. And the fact that your son's a pathological liar will be known to all.


Stone initially denied involvement but eventually resigned as a consultant to the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, at the request of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

References

  1. Disgraced NY Governor Won't Need New Job - AP via Forbes.com March 12, 2008
  2. THE CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK APPOINTS DR. RANDALL C. FORSBERG FIRST HOLDER OF ANNE AND BERNARD SPITZER CHAIR IN POLITICAL SCIENCE cuny.edu - December 7, 2006
  3. Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer by Brooke A. Masters - Times Books - 2006 ISBN 0805079610
  4. emporis.com
  5. Bernard Spitzer - Emporis.com
  6. Luxury rental is underway - new condominium building to rise in East 57th St., New York, NY Real Estate Weekly, Oct 15, 1997
  7. Bernard Spitzer - Emporis.com
  8. Bernard Spitzer - Emporis.com
  9. Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins amnh.org
  10. Was Spitzer Destined to Fall? - Time Magazine - March 13, 2008
  11. The Spitzer Real Estate Empire - Gothamist - October 29, 2006
  12. Disgraced NY Governor Won't Need New Job - AP via Forbes.com March 12, 2008
  13. Helping hand from dad - Newsday - February 15, 2006
  14. Spitzer's Father Is Member of Harmonie - New York Sun - October 26, 2007
  15. 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for August 22 - August 23, 2007 - msnbc.com



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