Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Abe Hirschfeld

Abe Hirschfeld, who died on August 9 aged 85, was an American property tycoon who first made his fortune building multi-storey car parks in New York City; his modus operandi was behaving badly, in the belief that his actions would be interpreted as the peccadilloes of a genial eccentric.

It was a strategy that was not altogether successful, particularly when he was jailed for trying, in 1996, to hire a hitman to kill a longtime business partner, Stanley Stahl, whose property Hirschfeld wanted to get hold of - the two men had a 'survivor takes all' agreement with respect to several properties which they co-owned. Instead of carrying out his commission, however, the hitman went to the police.

On his conviction in 2000, Hirschfeld wrestled with officials, screaming 'I'm not going, go all to Hell', as he was led from the court. Ever a publicity junkie, during his two years in prison he gave frequent interviews to the media from his cell.

Hirschfeld, who liked to affect polyester ties decorated with a crossword-puzzle motif, was known for his habit of spitting at people in public. He once held a New York City bureaucrat hostage in her office until she agreed to present him with a clean-air certificate for one of his car parks.
The Telegraph Obituary section delivers the goods again. Read the whole thing. Strange to remark he was born in Poland.

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