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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov 24, 2011 / 27 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772

Forstmann, the Big-Hearted Prodigy

By Bob Tyrrell



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On Sunday morning we lost a big-hearted prodigy: Teddy Forstmann, financier, political player, philanthropist (especially for the young and those in education) and a bit of an adventurer. I know — I accompanied him on some and feared for my life. He was a member of the Board of Directors of The American Spectator in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Teddy died of brain cancer, and we shall miss him.

He was from a prosperous family, but his fortune he made on his own. He relished "the deal," and sports, and gambling. He also had an interest in the ladies: Princess Diana, Elizabeth Hurley and recently a television personality, Padma Lakshmi. But he never married.

Teddy put himself through Columbia Law School in part through high-stakes gambling. He was a prosecutor, as I recall, who then flew around the country just managing to get together enough money to buy a company. He was down to his last nickel and last call, but he got the company, turned it around, and walked off with $300,000. He knew the game of the leveraged buyout (LBO) was for him. In 1978, he created Forstmann, Little and Company, an early LBO firm.

Teddy was on his way, buying up Dr. Pepper, Topps Co., General Instrument Corp. and Gulfstream Aerospace, among others. He began to build a fortune estimated at $1.6 billion. He was among the first to buy companies with subordinated debt, rebuild them and sell them for hundreds of millions — occasionally billions — of dollars. He bought Gulfstream, for instance, in 1990 for $825 million and sold it in 1999 for $5.3 billion. Forstmann-Little had average returns of 50 percent in its first two decades.

Teddy would not use junk bonds. That was, he would say, "funny money. It's wampum." Over lunch, he would try to explain it to me. He was famous for coining the phrase "barbarians at the gate." It served as the title for Bryan Burrough and John Helyar's best-seller about the $25 billion deal for RJR Nabisco, which Forstmann bid on but lost to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Teddy had an eye for "the deal" but was also extremely well-read, athletic and civilized. He was a conservative too. He donated millions to the Republican Party, though his real interest was in education and the young. He teamed up with John T. Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and donated millions to the Children's Scholarship Fund. He was an advocate of voucher programs and charter schools.

Teddy also had a sense of humor. He created a rivalry with Henry Kravis from the battle for RJR Nabisco. Teddy prided himself on using subordinated debt. KKR used junk debt. Teddy lost, but in "Barbarians at the Gate," Burrough and Helyar testify that Teddy "fervently believed junk bonds had perverted not only the LBO industry but Wall Street itself."

"Almost alone among major acquirers," the authors write, "Forstmann-Little refused to use" junk. With Kravis, it led to many amusing altercations. Teddy moved into a home in Long Island, N.Y., and damned if it wasn't along the same beach where Kravis had a home. I remember how Teddy competed to get to the heliport before Kravis. These are the things billionaires fight over.

There were more serious adventures. In the early fall of 1992, Teddy called and asked if I could rouse some writers to go with him to the former Yugoslavia to cover the plight of the refugees. We hopped over to London in his Gulfstream, picked up the distinguished young historian Andrew Roberts and flew on to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. There the mayor greeted us as though we were visiting dignitaries.

You'll forgive me if the next morning I expected armored cars to transport us through the war zone to Mostar, an embattled city in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Alas, our armored caravan consisted of one beat-up Volkswagen Golf sedan with one driver. Teddy was undeterred. The scenes along the Adriatic coast were spectacular, though the countryside was becoming increasingly ominous. Worse, we three were beginning to sweat profusely in the back of the un-air-conditioned Golf, and soon we were hopelessly lost. Our guide, a Croatian tennis star friend of Teddy's, seemed anxious, as well he should have been, having not been back to Croatia in years.

Finally, amidst the burned-out buildings of a remote town, we found the cops; or rather, they found us. Now, in my opinion, we were prisoners. For hours we were kept incommunicado in that wretched town, and Teddy was growing irritable — not an auspicious sign.

At long last, something happened. I never figured out what it was, but Teddy exerted his fiery personality, and we were off to Mostar with proper directions. At Mostar we were shelled by the Serbs in the hills and feted by the locals — not good for the digestion. Teddy was unconcerned. He wanted to visit the refugee camps. We did, for a day, driving by freshly dug graves, which Roberts and I found disconcerting. Shortly thereafter, they would be filled.

When Teddy got to one camp where all the kids seemed to be down with colds and the flu, he was distressed. How could such conditions exist in civilized Europe? He pledged a few million dollars to rebuild the camp with proper sanitation. And just before leaving, Teddy spotted a very fetching young lady and gave her his coat. He figured she would need it in the winter. If a pretty woman were present, Teddy would spot her. He was fun in a good cause or a great deal. There was no one else like him.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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