A last-minute phone call from a source revealed an exciting tidbit about the man behind the world’s largest ferris wheel, Rich Marin. While Mr. Marin may have come to fame (or infamy) for blogging about movies as the Bear Stearns division he ran imploded, he is unapologetic about his love of cinema—so much so he even relaunched his movie blog last year. “I decided you can’t pretend to be who you’re not,” he said.
Among the people we reached out to while reporting this week’s cover story on Rich Marin was Nassim Taleb. Not only is he a well-known talking head (and presumably accessible), but he also got his start at Bankers Trust, just like Mr. Marin. Well, we were in for a terse, maybe even rude, but also hilarious surprise: Mr. Taleb’s over-the-top auto-reply email.
Out of Africa
Rich Marin is big. For more than three decades, he dominated Wall Street, creating some of the industry’s most exotic investments, making billions for his clients, and millions for himself. One of his minions blew a hole in the side of Bankers Trust, a firm Mr. Marin helped transform into a derivatives powerhouse, and still he held on for the ride, becoming the youngest managing director ever at the bank. It all came crashing down five years ago, when the hedge funds he oversaw at Bear Stearns imploded. The rest of the world followed within the year. But there was Mr. Marin, standing amid the wreckage, helping rescue an overzealous Israeli diamond magnate who had plowed $3 billion into prime U.S. real estate just as the frothing market froze over. He rescued the firm, only to be unceremoniously fired two years to the day after he joined.
Now Rich Marin wants to build the world’s largest ferris wheel—in Staten Island, naturally—and the mayor just gave him his blessing.
Did we mention he is big? At the announcement of the project last Thursday, Mr. Marin absolutely dwarfed Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Chuck Schumer, along with the other dignitaries gathered at the ferry terminal. But despite his imposing size—he stands 6-foot-5 and is built like an offensive lineman—Mr. Marin is probably one of the gentlest people on the Street. Were he a real bear, rather than having worked for one, Mr. Marin would be not a grizzly but a teddy. This may help explain his turbulent career.
Africa Israel USA, the American arm of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s company, was one of the top real estate players when the bubble was at its biggest. Which is to say a lot of expensive investments—The Apthorp, the old Times Building, the MetLife clock tower building on Madison Square Park—have since soured.
Richard Marin was Read More