A. Alfred Taubman

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A. Alfred Taubman
Taubman in 2010
Adolph Alfred Taubman

(1924-01-31)January 31, 1924
DiedApril 17, 2015(2015-04-17) (aged 91)
EducationUniversity of Michigan
Lawrence Technological University
OccupationReal estate developer
Known forDesigning modern indoor shopping malls[1]
Spouse(s)Reva Kolodney
(1948–1977; divorced)
Judith (Mazor) Rounick (1982–2015; his death)
Children5, including Robert S. Taubman

Adolph Alfred "Al" Taubman (January 31, 1924 – April 17, 2015) was an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist.[2]

In 2002, he was convicted for a price-fixing scheme involving the top two auction houses in the United States.[3][4][5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Interior of The Mall at Short Hills.
The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, New Jersey, developed by Taubman's company

Taubman was born in Pontiac, Michigan, on January 31, 1924, to Jewish immigrants Fannie Ester Blustin and Philip Taubman.[2] His parents emigrated to the United States from Białystok, in northeastern Poland. His mother was his father's second cousin. Arriving up the Mississippi River by boat, Philip took a job with the Wilson Foundry Company in Davenport, Iowa and his sister Goldye (born 1913) and older brothers Sam (born 1915) and Lester (born 1920) were born in Davenport.[7] His father transferred to Pontiac in 1920, became a fruit farmer, then began developing commercial real estate and custom homes and built the first synagogue in Pontiac.[7][8][9]

Taubman's parents lost everything in the Depression of the 1930s, and Taubman had to find work to help support the family at age nine.[10] He is a graduate of Pontiac Central High School, and enrolled at the University of Michigan just prior to the United States' entry into World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during his freshman year, served with the Thirteenth Air Force as a mapmaker in the Pacific Theater during the war, and returned under the GI Bill to the University of Michigan to continue his studies after the end of World War II.[11][12]

Taubman studied architecture at the University of Michigan, where he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and Lawrence Technological University, but graduated from neither.


Shopping mall development[edit]

Taubman incorporated Taubman Centers, Inc. in 1973. Thirteen years later, in 1986, the company relocated its headquarters to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.[13]

He was a designer and is credited with popularizing the modern indoor shopping mall.[14] His developments such as the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey continue to be ranked among the most profitable shopping centers in the country as of 2007.[10] He made a fortune which Forbes magazine estimated at $3.1 billion and was on the list of Forbes 400 Richest Americans for two decades.

In October 2003, his real estate firm Taubman Centers survived a hostile takeover bid by the Simon Property Group and Westfield America.[15] On February 10, 2020, it was announced that Simon Property Group had entered into a deal to acquire competing Taubman Centers for $52.50 a share, in a deal valued at $3.6 billion.[16]


Taubman bought ailing British auction house Sotheby's in 1983, acting as a white knight when the company was threatened by an unwelcome hostile takeover by Marshall Cogan and Stephen Swid of General Felt.[17][18] He revived the fortunes of Sotheby's, which had been slumping in the 1980s, and took the company public in 1988. His family divested controlling interest in Sotheby's by September 2005.[19]

Other business[edit]

Taubman bought A&W Restaurants in 1982,[20] and sold it to Sagittarius Acquisitions in December 1994.[20]

From 1983 to 1984, Taubman was the majority owner of the Michigan Panthers of the United States Football League. Although the Panthers acquired a fairly loyal following and won the first USFL title in 1983, the USFL's decision to move from the spring to the fall led Taubman to merge his team with the Oakland Invaders for the 1985 season, with himself as majority owner of the Invaders. That team folded along with the rest of the USFL after the 1985 season.

In 1993, he invested in Athena Group, which developed residential and office properties in the U.S., Russia, and Azerbaijan. During the mid-1990s, he also acted as a consultant for commercial real estate projects in Russia, on developments such as Arbat Center, Balchug Plaza, Moscow Logistics Park, Four Winds Plaza, and Leninsky Prospekt in Azerbaijan.[13]

Antitrust conviction[edit]

In the early 2000s, a four-year investigation into alleged price-fixing masterminded by Taubman between Sotheby's and chairman Sir Anthony Tennant's rival auction house Christie's led to a confession by Sotheby's CEO Diana Brooks of an elaborate price fixing scheme with her counterpart at Christie's, Christopher Davidge.[10][21] At the time, Christie's and Sotheby's controlled 90% of the world's market for fine furniture, fine art and exquisite jewelry.[21]

In a plea bargain arrangement, prosecutors offered to keep Brooks out of prison if she agreed to implicate Taubman. She did, and Taubman was later convicted of price fixing in a jury trial.[22][23][24] He was fined $7.5 million (USD) and imprisoned for ten months in 2002 for antitrust violations.[25][26][27] Taubman was released in 2003,[28] and continued to insist on his innocence.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Taubman was married twice. In 1948, Taubman married his college sweetheart, Reva Kolodney. In 1977, they divorced after 29 years of marriage.[8] They had three children:

In 1982, he married Judith Mazor Rounick[8] (b. 1943 as Jehudit Mazor), the daughter of a paste jewelry importer-exporter[32] and a former Miss Israel in 1962.[33] Judy grew up in Israel and had two children from a previous marriage to clothing manufacturer Herbert Rounick: Christopher Rounick and Tiffany Rounick Dubin, who was formerly married to real estate developer Louis Dubin.[8][34] Judith's brother is Boaz Mazor, who is the sales director for Oscar de la Renta.[32][35]


Taubman died on April 17, 2015, of a heart attack at the age of 91 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.[36]


Picture of a modern office-like building with extensive glass facade.
The A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center at Lawrence Technological University, pictured in 2006, has an extensive glass façade and modern design

Taubman donated large sums to the University of Michigan and many buildings there are named after him, including the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building, the Taubman Health Sciences Library and Taubman Health Care Center. A school within the university is also named for him: the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Taubman was also a major sponsor of disease research: a late donation, a gift of $5 million to support the University of Michigan's Dr. Eva Feldman's and Dr. Yehoash Raphael's research, was aimed at the development of new treatments for Lou Gehrig's disease and deafness, respectively.[37] In 2011, Taubman donated $56 million to medical research. These donations brought his lifetime giving to Michigan to a total of $141 million.

The A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building at the University of Michigan

He also donated to the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, and The Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University.

The A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center at Lawrence Technological University was completed in 2006,[38] and ground was broken in September 2015 for the A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Architecture, and Life Sciences Complex at Lawrence Tech.[39] Taubman had also taught a class at LTU focusing on his retail real estate development experience.[40]

The A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education at the College for Creative Studies was completed in 2009, in which Taubman contributed $15 million to the $145 million budget for restoration and remodeling of what once was the General Motors Argonaut Building.[41]

Taubman was chairman of the National Realty Committee (NRC) (later The Real Estate Roundtable) (RER) during 1967–1977. He was also a member of the Urban Land Institute, and held positions on the Board of Governors, the Steering Committee for Shopping Centers, and the Commercial and Retail Development Council.[13]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mason, Christopher. The Art of the Steal: Inside the Sotheby's-Christie's Auction House Scandal. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. 2004. ISBN 0-399-15093-5
  • Taubman, A. Alfred. Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer. ThresholdResistance.com New York: Collins. 2007 ISBN 978-0-06-123537-5

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Terrazzo Jungle". Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker. March 7, 2004. Accessed February 25, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Robert D. McFadden (April 18, 2015). "A. Alfred Taubman, Former Sotheby's Owner and Mall Developer, Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2015. Adolph Alfred Taubman was born in Pontiac, Mich., on Jan. 31, 1924, one of four children of German-Jewish immigrants, Philip and Fannie Ester Blustin Taubman. His father was a builder, but the family was hit hard in the Depression and the schoolboy, who stuttered, was dyslexic and had difficulty reading and writing, took part-time jobs.
  3. ^ Vogel, Carol; Blumenthal, Ralph (April 23, 2002). "Ex-Chairman Of Sotheby's Gets Jail Time". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  4. ^ "A. Alfred Taubman, billionaire convicted of price fixing, dies at 91". Washington Post. April 19, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Sprow, Maria (April 22, 2002). "Taubman sentenced to year in prison, $7. 5 million fine". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  6. ^ Reich, Robert (2018). The Common Good (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 9780525520498. OCLC 1014000027.
  7. ^ a b Taubman, A. Alfred (2007). "Threshold Resistance: Chapter One From Pontiac to Ann Arbor". barnesandnoble.com. Archived from the original on February 17, 2022. Retrieved February 16, 2022. See "Read an Excerpt" section and "Show More" to view some of Chapter One.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer By A. Alfred Taubman retrieved August 10, 2012
  9. ^ Carroll, Bill (May 5, 2005). "Taubman Honored: Urban Land Institute to bestow its Lifetime Achievement Award". The Detroit Jewish News. p. 39. Retrieved February 16, 2022 – via University of Michigan.
  10. ^ a b c Caitlin A. Johnson (April 15, 2007). "For Billionaire There's Life After Jail". CBS News. Retrieved December 29, 2009. Alfred Taubman is a legend in retailing. For 40 years, he's been one of America's most successful developers of shopping centers.
  11. ^ "The Author: A Alfred Taubman". thresholdresistence.com. 2007. Archived from the original on November 11, 2009. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  12. ^ Headapohl, Jackie (April 23, 2015). "Mogul and Mentsh: A. Alfred Taubman 1924-2015". The Detroit Jewish News. Archived from the original on February 17, 2022. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c "A. Alfred Taubman papers: 1942-2014" Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. Accessed February 25, 2023.
  14. ^ "Alfred Taubman, Inventor of Indoor Shopping Malls, Dies at 91" ELIZA GRAY, TIME. April 18, 2015. Accessed February 25, 2023.
  15. ^ Murphy, Tara."Taubman Bid Gets Sweeter"
  16. ^ "Simon Property Group to buy Taubman Centers in $3.6 billion deal". CNBC. February 10, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  17. ^ "White Knight"Time magazine – Monday, June 27, 1983
  18. ^ Rohleder, Anna. Time Line: The Rise Of Christie's And Sotheby's Forbes, 2001/11/14
  19. ^ "A. Alfred Taubman". The New York Times.
  20. ^ a b History Archived November 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine @ A&W Rootbeer
  21. ^ a b "History of a Conspiracy". BBC. December 5, 2001. Archived from the original on December 17, 2002. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  22. ^ "Ex-Sotheby's chair convicted on price fixing charges" Archived September 25, 2009, at the Wayback MachineCNN.com – December 5, 2001
  23. ^ "Ex-Sotheby's boss convicted" – CNN.com-Europe – December 5, 2001
  24. ^ ""Outclassed"". The American Lawyer, Feb. 2002. Archived from the original on March 18, 2008.
  25. ^ Rohleder, Anna. "Who's Who In The Sotheby's Price-Fixing Trial"forbes.com
  26. ^ "Ex-Sotheby's chairman sentenced", CNN Money Magazine – April 22, 2002
  27. ^ a b Thane Peterson (April 30, 2007). "From Slammer Back To Glamour". Business Week. Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
  28. ^ Runk, David."Taubman sheds light on Sotheby's scandal"Associated Press, The Boston Globe – April 8, 2007
  29. ^ Medicine at Michigan: "A. Alfred Taubman: The Vision, the Legacy – Taubman's extraordinary $100 million commitment vastly expands transformative medical research at Michigan and ranks Taubman as the U-M's most generous benefactor" by Jane Myers Archived December 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Spring 2011
  30. ^ Taubman Company Website: Robert S. Taubman – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Archived June 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine retrieved August 10, 2012
  31. ^ Taubman Company Website: William S. Taubman – Chief Operating Officer Archived May 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine retrieved August 10, 2012
  32. ^ a b San Francisco Gate: A day in the life of ... Boaz Mazor" by Carolyne Zinko August 22, 2004
  33. ^ Pageantopolis: "Jehudit Mazor"[usurped] retrieved August 10, 2012
  34. ^ New York Times: "Bringing the Party to Sotheby's" By ELIZABETH HAYT September 26, 1999
  35. ^ New York Social Diary Archived July 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine: Sunday in New York] March 27, 2006
  36. ^ "Mall mogul A. Alfred Taubman passes away at 91". WDIV-Detroit. clickondetroit.com. April 17, 2015.
  37. ^ Gavin, Kara."Attacking Lou Gehrig's disease from all angles: $5M gift from A. Alfred Taubman will support U-M research" Archived November 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine University of Michigan Health System – May 23, 2007
  38. ^ "A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center". Lawrence Technological University.
  39. ^ "A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Life Sciences, and Architecture Complex". Lawrence Technological University.
  40. ^ "Alumnus leaves enduring legacy at LTU".
  41. ^ Howes, Daniel."CCS Center Proves Detroit Can Rebuild". Detroit News. September 22, 2009. Archived from the original on December 22, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2009.

External links[edit]