It’s a story practically tailored to inflame the current climate of frustration towards the financial sector cultivated by the Occupy Wall Street movement. On Monday, news broke of Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson together winning a record-breaking $254.2 Powerball jackpot off of a single Connecticut lottery ticket. This wouldn’t be much for the press if the trio weren’t wealth managers employed by the Greenwich-based Belpointe Asset Management, which, of course, they are.
The trio immediately set up the Putnam Avenue Family Trust and took the lump sum payment of $104M—tax-savvy men that they are—with their lawyer explaining to everyone who rang that they’d be donating a “significant” amount of money to charity. Of course, this didn’t deter any of the news outlets who gave them exponentially more news coverage than most lottery winners, especially in New York, where the Post and the Daily News both opted to invoke the old “Rich Get Richer” idiom on nearly identical front-pages. It also hasn’t detered Illuminati-esque conspiracy theories, as the British Daily Mail gave ink to a man who claims to know the truth of the matter: that a Belpointe client actually won the lottery, and the fund opted to set up the trust to keep him out of the limelight.
Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t appear as if curiosity regarding the trio—or the attention given to them—is waning any time soon. The Transom heard from someone familiar with Mr. Skidmore—Bellpointe’s president and CEO—that while the big winner is a “perfectly nice guy” who was very “of” his alma mater, Connecticut College—a member of the U.S. sailing team, Nantucket reds, “may have smoked pot once”—he probably should have been more careful about managing the assets of his personal Facebook page.
The page—now blocked—had a link to Belpointe manager David Nelson’s blog, with the caption: “Greenwich Avenue had a little excitement this morning.” The post Mr. Skidmore linked to was titled “Couldn’t Agree More” with the caption “Occupy Greenwich has finally arrived. I took this picture in front of our office today.” The picture is of a man in a suit wearing a sign that reads “STOP Tax Breaks For Hedge Fund Managers.”
Belpointe, while not technically a hedge fund, has noted their own advising on hedge fund investments. Whether or not they advise on how to handle a winning lottery ticket professionally or on a strictly inside-the-firm basis, however, remains to be seen.