374. David Wa­len­tas

Forbes - - PROMOTION -

$2.1  ) billion Self-made Score: Source: real es­tate age: 79 res­i­dence: new York city m.b.a., u. of vir­ginia ’64 raised in up­state new York, wa­len­tas knew a lot of farm­ers but not many peo­ple who went to col­lege. wa­len­tas, who was sus­pended from high school 5 times, saw a navy rotc poster in the prin­ci­pal’s of­fice and de­cided to join. he wound up at Uva with a full schol­ar­ship. he was booted from the pro­gram in his ju­nior year for un­gentle­manly con­duct: he got caught, he says, “rais­ing hell” with a girl. wa­len­tas went back home to make enough money to re­turn to col­lege, work­ing for an en­gi­neer in rochester, new York, and flip­ping burg­ers at a bowl­ing al­ley. af­ter he grad­u­ated, he paid off his loans clean­ing sep­tic tanks at an air force base, then re­turned to Uva for his m.b.a. now a real es­tate de­vel­oper, he is cred­ited with turn­ing the dy­ing in­dus­trial brook­lyn neigh­bor­hood of dumbo into a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion. his two trees man­age­ment is spend­ing $3 billion to sim­i­larly trans­form 11 acres of brook­lyn’s williams­burg wa­ter­front. he has do­nated some $10 mil­lion to Uva, and this sum­mer hosted his broth­ers from the zeta psi fra­ter­nity at his hip williams­burg ho­tel, the wythe.

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