Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NYU's Michael Steinhardt, Wall Street and Golan Heights Oil Connection: Part 2

Most anti-war, anti-corporate and environmental activists and students on the Lower East Side and in other New York City neighborhoods don’t think that a New York City university school of “Culture, Education and Human Development” should be named in honor of a billionaire hedge fund operator—who apparently made his fortune by speculating in the institutionally racist, sexist and classist Wall Street business world of the late 20th century.

Nor do most folks outside the United States think that a U.S. university school of “Culture, Education and Human Development” should be named in honor of a U.S. billionaire who has apparently collaborated since the 1990s with a militaristic Israeli power structure that denies Palestinians their human rights; and who, in recent years, has involved himself in an oil corporation that apparently has both threatened the ecology of Israel/Palestine and seeks to make big money from drilling for oil in the Golan Heights region of Syria, which the Israeli military continues to illegally occupy.

Yet since 2001 the name of New York University [NYU]’s school of education division has been linked to an NYU trustee named Michael Steinhardt in some way; and in 2014 this division—in which nearly 6,000 students are enrolled—still operates under the name of “NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.”

One reason might be because the administration of tax-exempt and “non-profit” NYU has apparently been receiving millions of tax-exempt dollars from Michael Steinhardt since 2001. As a Dec. 23, 2006 press release that’s posted on NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development’s website noted:

New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education has received a $10 million gift from Wall Street financier Michael Steinhardt... and his wife, Judy, a Trustee of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts…The donation matches their $10 million gift in 2001, when the school was named in honor of the Steinhardts. The combined $20 million is the largest gift in the history of the school…In March 2007, the Steinhardt School of Education will be changing its name to the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development…”

And, coincidentally, another $5 million was received by the NYU Institute of Fine Arts—on whose board of trustees sits Judy Steinhardt—from the Steinhardts in 2013.

In his 2001 autobiography, No Bull: My Life In And Out of Markets, NYU Trustee Steinhardt indicated how he obtained his personal wealth from being a Wall Street speculator who apparently has profited from U.S. capitalist economic recessions historically:

“Much of my life’s focus has been on my performance as a hedge fund manager…Since the age of 13, stocks have held a magical fascination for me…I started buying bonds on the premise that the economy would weaken faster…In the early 1980s, I managed about $75 million in my two hedge funds—the flagship Steinhardt Partners, LP, and an off-shore fund, SP International…We invested $50 million of the funds’ cash and borrowed another $200 million to buy a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of intermediate 10-year Treasury bonds…Bond bulls—investors like myself—hoped that the money supply would stop growing. This would indicate that the economy was slowing down and possibly heading into recession, good news for bondholders…Our bond investment of $250 million, on $50 million of equity capital and the rest borrowed, made a profit of $40 million…”

(end of part 2)

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