Jerry Finkelstein (January 26, 1916 – November 28, 2012) was an American publisher, businessman and political insider. Among his publications were The New York Law Journal and The Hill. He was the father of former New York City Council President, Andrew Stein.
Career and political influence
After graduating from law school in 1938, Finkelstein did not take the bar exam instead he worked as a reporter at the New York Daily Mirror. In 1939, along with Arthur Brisbane's son, Seward Brisbane; he founded a newspaper called The Civil Service Leader, with public employees as the target audience. He ran unsuccessfully for the New York State Senate in 1942, the only time he ran for office. In 1949, Finkelstein successfully managed William O'Dwyer's mayoral re-election campaign; the following year, O'Dwyer appointed him director of the NYCOCP. In that role he frequently clashed with Robert Moses, who was successful in forcing him out after O'Dwyer failed to be re-elected. In 1955 he opened a public relations firm; two years later, he merged with another public relations firm owned by Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenberg. The resultant firm became a major force in financial public relations; after becoming the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation for insider trading, it was dissolved.
Finkelstein became chairman of Struthers Wells in 1961. He purchased the New York Law Journal in 1963 for $1 million. John F. Kennedy appointed him Chairman of the Fine Arts Gift Committee of the National Cultural Center (later, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts). In 1972, he was named commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by New York governor Nelson Rockefeller.
Finkelstein helped fundraising efforts by John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, and also helped President Lyndon B. Johnson. His backing was instrumental in the election of his son, Andrew, to the New York State Assembly in 1968 (at the age of 23). Though a lifelong Democrat, he was also a key supporter of Republican Nelson Rockefeller's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns.
He was born to Albert Finkelstein, a small business owner in Manhattan. He attended George Washington High School and New York University. He graduated in 1938 from the New York Law School. He was Jewish.
In 1942 Finkelstein married Shirley Marks, to whom he remained married until her death in 2003. He had two sons, Andrew and James.
- McFadden, Robert D (November 28, 2012). "Jerry Finkelstein, New York Power Broker, Dies at 96". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- Caro, R. (1974). The Power Broker. New York, NY: Knopf. Chapter 34.>
- Newman, Roger K, ed. (2009). The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-300-11300-6.
- Caher, John (November 30, 2012). "Jerry Finkelstein, Former Law Journal Publisher, Dies at 96". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Jerry Finkelstein, 1916–2012". The Hill. December 3, 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- Kramer, Michael (January 14, 1974). "Are These The Best Brains Money Can Buy?". New York Magazine. 7 (2): 8. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Roberts, Sam (May 24, 1993). For Stein's Father, an Aura of Power. The New York Times. Retrieved: December 31, 2016
- Brown, Stephen Rex (November 28, 2012). "Jerry Finkelstein dies at 96". New York Daily News. Retrieved 17 December 2012.