The Richest Jew in the World?

If you have the time, Connie Bruck has an enormous 12,500-word profile of Sheldon Adelson in the latest New Yorker – written, interestingly, without his cooperation. Let’s just say Adelson doesn’t come across as a very sympathetic individual:

According to a guest at a reception in Washington a few years ago, Adelson remarked to President Bush, “You know, I am the richest Jew in the world.” He also introduced himself that way to a former Israeli official recently. The investment banker Ken Moelis said that when he saw Adelson not long ago he was surprised to hear him refer to himself as “Sheldon Adelson III.” “I said, ‘I never realized your father was Sheldon Adelson II,’ ” Moelis recalled. “And he said, ‘He wasn’t! But I’m the third-richest American!’ ”

Adelson’s outsize persona and bullying tactics, especially with regard to Israel, reminded me of no one so much as the late Robert Maxwell – possibly the first person ever to be a negative billionaire. It’s still possible, if Adelson comes unstuck in Macau, that the same fate might befall him.

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