Bernard Spitzer

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Bernard Spitzer
Born Bernard Emmanuel Spitzer
April 26, 1924
Died November 1, 2014(2014-11-01) (aged 90)
Nationality United States
Education B.S. City College of New York
Occupation real estate developer
Net worth $500 million (2008)
Spouse(s) Anne Goldhaber
Children Emily Spitzer
Daniel Spitzer
Eliot Spitzer
Parent(s) Molly and Morris Spitzer

Bernard Emmanuel Spitzer (April 26, 1924 – November 1, 2014) was an American real estate developer and philanthropist.

Early life and education[edit]

Spitzer was born to Molly and Morris Spitzer, Jewish Austrian immigrants[1] from Tulste, Poland (now Ukraine) to New York's Lower East Side after World War I. They operated a print shop. Bernard received an engineering degree from City College of New York in 1943[2] at the age of 18.

Spitzer initially tried his hand at civil engineering but turned instead to real estate development (under Spitzer Engineering).[3] Spitzer was based in New York City where he operated apartment buildings and built several landmark buildings around the city including The Corinthian, which was the largest individual apartment building in New York City when it was built.

Real estate developer[edit]

Among the buildings Spitzer has built are:

  • 1020 Park Avenue (1962),[4] a 20 story co-op apartment at East 85th Street and Park Avenue
  • 1050 Fifth Avenue (1958), a 20 story residential building at East 86th Street and Fifth Avenue
  • 200 Central Park South (1963) - A 35 story residential building at Seventh Avenue and Central Park that is noted for its curved walls and a driveway that angles across the front of the building (other buildings along Central Park South are square)[5]
  • 210 Central Park South (1966), a 24 story residential building next door to 200 Central Park South
  • 985 Fifth Avenue (1968), a 25-story residential building on the site of the Isaac Vail Brokaw Mansion
  • 220 East 72nd Street (1974), a 28-story mixed use residential-institutional building—the first five of which are occupied by Marymount Manhattan College (where Anne taught)[6]
  • 800 Fifth Avenue (1978), a 34 story rental apartment building at 61st Street
  • The Corinthian (New York) (1988), a 1 million sf, 57 story 1,100,000-square-foot (100,000 m2) building occupying an entire block [5] between 37th and 38th on First Avenue
  • 150 East 57th Street (2000), a 34-story residential building[5]

His New York buildings are leased by his subsidiary Urbana Properties, created in 2005.

In addition, Spitzer purchased several prominent commercial properties over the years, including:

The Crown Building
  • 730 Fifth Avenue (The Crown Building or Heckscher Building), New York City, - a 25 floor neo-classical office building completed in 1921 by Warren & Wetmore and acquired in 1991 for $95 million.
  • 2001 K Street (William P. Rogers Building), NW, Washington, D.C. - 11 floor commercial and retail building completed in 2000 for $69 million and acquired in 2001 for $95 million.
  • 1615 L Street, NW, Washington, D.C. - 13 floor post-modern glass curtain wall commercial building completed in 1984 and acquired in 2009 for $180 million.
  • 4800 Hampden Lane (One Bethesda Center), Bethesda, Maryland - 13 floor commercial and retail comple completed in 1986 and acquired in 2011 for $90 million.
  • 350 West Broadway, New York, NY - 11,000 sf, 2-story, retail property acquired in 2013.



In 2007, Governor Spitzer appointed Dale Hemmerdinger president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Before being confirmed for that position, Hemmerdinger had to resign from the all-white, mostly Jewish Harmonie Club. It was then revealed that Bernard had been a member of the club for more than 30 years.[8]

Also in August 2007, Republican strategist Roger Stone was accused of leaving this message on Bernard's office answering machine during the "Troopergate" scandal in which Eliot was accused of using state troopers to spy on Joseph Bruno: "This is a message for Bernard Spitzer. You will be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate committee on investigations on your shady campaign loans. You will be compelled by the Senate sergeant at arms. If you resist this subpoena, you will be arrested and brought to Albany. And there's not a goddamn thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-shit son can do about it. Bernie, your phony loans are about to catch up with you. You will be forced to tell the truth. And the fact that your son's a pathological liar will be known to all."[9] Stone initially denied involvement but eventually resigned as a consultant to the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, at the request of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Personal life and death[edit]

He was married to Anne Goldhaber whom he courted in the Catskills. They had three children: daughter Emily Spitzer (born 1955), a lawyer, Daniel Spitzer (born 1957), a neurosurgeon, and Eliot Spitzer (born 1959), former New York Governor.[10] According to biographers, during a game of Monopoly between father and son, the elder Spitzer would order his seven- or eight-year-old son, Eliot, to sell him a piece of property, which, later in the game, the future governor could not afford. In this way the father taught his son: "Never defer to authority."[11] To support Eliot's foray into politics, Bernard made a loan to his son of $5 million during the first two campaigns and paid him $200,000 per year. As of 2006, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust had donated at least $140,000 to organizations led by political allies.[12]

Bernard Spitzer died on November 1, 2014, from Parkinson's disease at the age of 90.[1][13] As of 2008, he had an estimated net worth of $500 million.[14] He left each of his three children $50 million and donated $250 million to the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable trust.[10]


  1. ^ a b New York Daily News: "Bernard Spitzer, father of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, dies at 90 - The real estate investor and philanthropist had been battling Parkinson's disease, according to a spokesman" by Annie Karni November 2, 2014
  3. ^ Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer by Brooke A. Masters - Times Books - 2006 ISBN 0-8050-7961-0
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c Bernard Spitzer -
  6. ^ Luxury rental is underway - new condominium building to rise in East 57th St., New York, NY Real Estate Weekly, Oct 15, 1997
  7. ^ Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins Archived April 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Spitzer's Father Is Member of Harmonie". New York Sun. October 26, 2007.
  9. ^ 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for August 22 - August 23, 2007 -
  10. ^ a b Daily Mail: "Eliot Spitzer's tycoon father left the disgraced politician $6million MORE than his other two children" By Chris Pleasance 11 November 2014
  11. ^ Was Spitzer Destined to Fall? - Time Magazine - March 13, 2008
  12. ^ "Helping hand from dad". Newsday. February 15, 2006.
  13. ^ New York Times: "Bernard Spitzer, New York Developer and Philanthropist Dies at 90 November 04, 2014
  14. ^ ""Disgraced NY Governor Won't Need New Job"". Archived from the original on 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-03-15.  . Forbes. Associated Press. March 12, 2008.