Miami Herald

Casino mag­nate bil­lion­aire was donor to GOP and Is­rael

- BY ROBERT D. MCFADDEN U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Gambling · Casino · Republican Party (United States) · Israel · Las Vegas · Macao · Singapore · United States of America · Malibu, CA · California · Boston · Donald Trump · Tel Aviv · Jerusalem · Christopher J. Christie · New Jersey · Scott · Wisconsin · John Kasich · Ohio · Jeb Bush · George H. W. Bush · Florida · New York County, NY · Nevada · Benjamin Netanyahu · Likud Party · Hanoi · England · Mitchell · Dumont, IA · Sheldon Adelson · Las Vegas Sands · Scott Walker · Arthur · Miriam Adelson

Shel­don Adel­son — a cab­driver’s son who built the world’s largest em­pire of casi­nos and re­sort ho­tels in Las Ve­gas, Ma­cao, Sin­ga­pore and other gam­bling mec­cas and used his vast wealth to pro­mote rightwing po­lit­i­cal agen­das in Amer­ica and Is­rael — died Mon­day at his home in Mal­ibu, Cal­i­for­nia. He was 87.

The cause was com­pli­ca­tions of non-Hodgkin lym­phoma, a form of blood cancer, his com­pany, the Las Ve­gas Sands, said Tues­day in a state­ment.

Adel­son grew up tough, a De­pres­sion-era street urchin who hawked news­pa­pers and fought rough­necks in Bos­ton. Un­fazed by risks, ri­vals or the law, he built a for­tune es­ti­mated by Forbes in 2014 at $36.6 bil­lion and by Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires In­dex at $40.8 bil­lion, mak­ing him the world’s eighth- or ninth­wealth­i­est per­son.

He be­came one of Amer­ica’s heavy­weight po­lit­i­cal spenders, the largest sin­gle donor in the 2012 elec­tions.

In May 2016, af­ter Don­ald Trump be­came the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, Adel­son gave the Trump pres­i­den­tial cam­paign $25 mil­lion, its largest donor.

Af­ter Trump’s elec­tion, Adel­son gave $5 mil­lion to the com­mit­tee or­ga­niz­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion fes­tiv­i­ties. It was the largest sin­gle con­tri­bu­tion to any pres­i­dent’s in­au­gu­ral event, and on the day of the swearingin cer­e­mony in Jan­uary 2017, Adel­son and his wife sat along the aisle a few rows back as Trump took the oath of of­fice. Un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Adel­sons achieved at least one of their long-held goals: the re­lo­ca­tion of the U.S. Em­bassy from Tel

Aviv to Jerusalem, in 2018.

Adel­son’s in­flu­ence was on dis­play in March 2014, when four prospec­tive pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates — Govs. Chris Christie of

New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wis­con­sin and John Ka­sich of Ohio, and for­mer Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida — went to Las Ve­gas for what crit­ics called an au­di­tion be­fore the Repub­li­can Party’s most cov­eted and fear­some mon­ey­man.

“The four Repub­li­can can­di­dates pros­trated them­selves, seek­ing Adel­son’s stamp of ap­proval and cash,” Thomas B. Ed­sall wrote on the op-ed page of The New York


Adel­son set off an­other flap in De­cem­ber 2015 when he bought The Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal, Ne­vada’s big­gest news­pa­per, for $140 mil­lion, us­ing a shell com­pany to hide his in­volve­ment. When he was re­vealed as the buyer by his own news­pa­per, ques­tions were raised about whether he would in­ter­fere with its jour­nal­is­tic in­de­pen­dence. His fam­ily pledged that the pa­per would be “fair, un­bi­ased and ac­cu­rate,” but the edi­tor and some staff mem­bers took a buy­out and re­signed. The Re­viewJour­nal was re­port­edly the only ma­jor U.S. news­pa­per to en­dorse Trump for pres­i­dent.

In Is­rael, where he had a home and owned ma­jor con­ser­va­tive me­dia out­lets, Adel­son sup­ported Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu and his Likud party. He op­posed state­hood for Pales­tini­ans, fa­vored Is­raeli set­tle­ments in oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries and un­der­wrote jun­kets to Is­rael by con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans.

Adel­son be­gan his rise in 1979, when he and four part­ners started a Las Ve­gas com­puter trade show called Comdex. In the 1980s and 1990s, it was the na­tion’s top com­puter ex­hi­bi­tion, and Adel­son made $500 mil­lion from its sale.

Shel­don Gary Adel­son was born in Bos­ton on Aug. 4, 1933, one of four chil­dren of Arthur and Sarah (Tonkin) Adel­son. His fa­ther was de­scended from Jewish Ukrainian and Lithua­nian an­ces­tors. His mother had im­mi­grated from Eng­land.

Adel­son’s first wife, San­dra, had three chil­dren, Mitchell, Gary and Shel­ley, all of whom he adopted. They di­vorced in 1988. In 1991, he mar­ried Miriam Farb­stein Ochshorn, an Is­raeli physi­cian, and had two sons, Adam and Matan.

His wife and chil­dren sur­vive him, along with two step­daugh­ters, Yas­min Lukatz and Si­van Du­mont, and 11 grand­chil­dren. His son Mitchell died of a drug over­dose in 2005.

 ?? KIN CHE­UNG AP, file 2016 ?? Shel­don Adel­son was the world’s eighth- or ninth-wealth­i­est per­son.
KIN CHE­UNG AP, file 2016 Shel­don Adel­son was the world’s eighth- or ninth-wealth­i­est per­son.

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