Thursday, January 1, 2015

Is U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy Worth Over $500 Million?

The member of the Kennedy Dynasty that the Obama White House, coincidentally, appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Japan in 2013 is apparently a lot richer than the typical U.S. or Japanese worker or career diplomat.  As Meghan Keneally observed in an Aug. 16, 2013 London Daily Mail article:

“Caroline Kennedy has been forced to reveal her net worth by submitting financial statements in order to be considered as the next American ambassador to Japan, and it is believed she may be worth up to $500 million.

"The former first daughter's wealth has been a closely-guarded secret for decades, but now that President Obama has nominated her to represent the United States abroad, she has to list the sources of her massive income.

“'She’s very rich, probably worth between $250 million and $500 million,' said one legal expert who had seen the financial disclosure forms. 

“Caroline, who is the sole surviving member of former President John F. Kennedy's immediate family, has avoided calls to publicly release her financial statements in the past, but as the Senate must now approve her appointment to be an Ambassador, she has no choice…

“'I understand that a heightened prospect of a conflict of interest could exist as to companies that maintain a presence in Japan,' she wrote in a letter accompanying her disclosure statements.

“According to The New York Post, said conflicts could include a number of board and trustee positions that she holds with Harvard University's Kennedy school, her husband Edwin Schlossberg's foundation, and the arts foundation created by her mother and father.

“The biggest source of her income is from the extensive trusts that her grandfather Joe established for each of his children and grandchildren.

“The untimely deaths in her family have led to a piling up of respective estates, as her mother Jackie inherited her father's trusts after he was assassinated in 1963.

“After leaving the White House, Jackie Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1968…When he passed away, Jackie…agreed to accept a $26million settlement from her late-husband's daughter Christina in return for giving up all claims to the family fortune in the future.

People Magazine reports that her later relationship with financial planner Maurice Tempelsman helped her build that payout from the Onassis family into an estimated fortune of anywhere between $100 million and $200 million, though it is unclear where that money went exactly as her final estate that was passed on to her children was significantly lower…She left her children an estimated $43.7million, including several pricey properties including her 15-room apartment on Fifth Avenue which had a view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the 366-acre Kennedy estate on Martha's Vineyard. 

“In May of this year [2013], Caroline listed 90 waterfront acres of the property for sale- with no homes included- for $45 million though it does not appear to have sold yet. She is still holding on to three lots of land for herself and her children, two that pay off the cost of estate expenses, and one that has been designated as open space. The Boston Herald reports that the lots she is keeping for her family include the home that her mother lived in and designed.

“This isn't the first time that Caroline has made a parcel off her mother's property. Jackie bought the 15th floor of her Fifth Avenue apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side in 1964 following the president's assassination, she paid $250,000. It sold for $9.5 million in 1995 after her death to billionaire David Koch… 

“On top of her own piece of the Kennedy pie, Caroline also inherited her brother John Jr.'s trusts when he died in a plane crash in 1999.

“He left his $50 million to his relatives and a few charities...

“'From the figures, it looks like she earns between $12 million and $30 million a year from her trust and from her investments,' an unidentified legal expert told The Post.

“The interest yielded from those funds is hefty, but the 55-year-old has not just been resting on those laurels.

“She has stakes in banks like Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, JP Morgan and two oil companies that her family's assets own.

“On top of those eight-figure sums, she also brings in an additional $1 million from paid speeches and book royalties on a yearly basis…”

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