Norman Braman

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Norman Braman
Born (1932-08-23) August 23, 1932 (age 86)
West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.
ResidenceMiami, Florida, U.S.
NationalityUnited States
Alma materTemple University
OccupationCar dealer
Known forOwner of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1985–1994
Net worthUS $ 2.5 billion (March 2018)[1]
Spouse(s)Irma Miller
Children2 daughters

Norman Braman (born August 23, 1932) is an American billionaire car dealer, art collector, and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Early life and education[edit]

Braman was born in 1932 in West Chester, Pennsylvania,[2] and grew up in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia, where his father owned a barbershop. Braman's parents were both Jews who emigrated from Europe. His Romanian-born mother was a seamstress and his Polish father a barber.[3] Braman was a water boy in his teenage years at the Eagles training camp, which was then in West Chester.[citation needed] During the season, he would sneak into Shibe Park to watch the team play.[4][5] Braman attended West Philadelphia High School and graduated from Temple University in 1955 with a degree in business administration.[6]

Career[edit]

Braman began his career as a market research analyst for Seagram's Distributors in 1955. A few years later he took an executive position at Bargaintown U.S.A. which he eventually acquired and turned into Keystone Stores, a chain of self-service variety stores in the Philadelphia area. In the mid-1960s he spearheaded the merger between his Keystone Stores business and Philadelphia Laboratories to create Philadelphia Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics. Braman was appointed president and CEO of the new company. Acquisitions under his tenure at the company included Vitamix Pharmaceuticals, F.A. Martin and Company, and U.S. Cocoa Corporation. Braman stepped down from his position at Philadelphia Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics in 1969 to pursue other interests.[7]

A Bugatti Veyron sits in the showroom at one of Braman’s Miami dealerships

Braman got his start in the automobile business in 1972 when he acquired controlling interest of Sharpe-Taylor Cadillac in Tampa, Florida. During these early years, Braman was mentored by well known car dealer and fellow Philadelphia native Victor Potamkin. In 1975, Braman bought the former Nolan Brown Cadillac in Miami, Florida. The following year, Braman took on his first import brands with the purchase of BMW and Rolls-Royce dealership C.R. Berry Motors and moved both franchises next to his Miami Cadillac dealership.[7] By 1980, Braman had Cadillac, BMW, Rolls-Royce, Fiat, Lancia, and Toyota dealerships along the 2000 block of Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.

While continuing to expand his dealership holdings in the South Florida area, Braman has also added dealerships in Colorado. Today, Braman serves as chairman of Braman Management, an umbrella company for his automotive businesses that include more than 20 dealerships in Florida and Colorado selling Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Cadillac, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche and Rolls-Royce.[8]

In addition to his retail automotive businesses, Braman had majority ownership of Austin Rover Cars of North America (ARCONA), the distributorship for Sterling automobiles imported to the United States starting in 1987. The company's name was changed to Sterling Motor Cars in 1989 and closed in 1991 after sales of the Rover 800-based Sterling 825/827 models failed to meet expectations.[9]

Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

Braman and his brother-in-law, Ed Leibowitz, became owners of the Philadelphia Eagles in April 1985 having acquired them from Leonard Tose for a reported $65 million. Initially, Braman owned 65% of the team while Leibowitz owned 35%. In July 1986, Braman bought out Leibowitz’s interest. During Braman's ownership, the Eagles made playoff appearances in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992. They were NFC East division champions in 1988.

In 1994, Braman agreed to sell the team to a group lead by movie producer Jeffrey Lurie. The reported selling price was $185 million, a record for a sports team franchise at that time.[10]

Politics[edit]

He financially supported a recall election against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez because of a huge property tax increase and pay hikes to Alvarez's top staffers.[citation needed] On March 15, 2011 close to 90% of those that turned out to vote that day in Miami-Dade County, voted to recall the mayor. It is believed to be one of the most lopsided recall elections in the history of American elections.[11]

In 2012, Braman established political groups to campaign against four incumbent Miami-Dade County commissioners with $440,000 in funding, focusing on the commissioners' support for the controversial Marlins Park project and a property tax hike in 2010.[12]

Braman was a supporter of Marco Rubio,[13] and was considering spending anywhere between US$10 million to US$25 million in support of his 2016 presidential campaign.[14] According to the acknowledgements in his autobiography, Rubio has thanked Braman for being a supporter, and Braman has employed at one time or another Marco Rubio's wife,[15] Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, at the Braman family's charitable foundation.[16]

Philanthropy[edit]

Braman and his wife, Irma, established the Norman and Irma Braman Family Foundation, which primarily helps fund medical and educational projects throughout the world.[citation needed] It is headed by their daughter Debra Wechsler.[citation needed]

Braman, an art collector, also serves as president of the Irma and Norman Braman Art Foundation, which supports the arts and culture in and around the Miami area.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Braman is married to Irma Miller.[17] They have two daughters:[18] Debra Wechsler and Suzi Lustgarten.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Forbes profile: Norman Braman". Forbes. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. ^ The American Presidency Project, Nomination of Norman Braman To Be Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization September 28, 1981
  3. ^ Gus Garcia Roberts (December 18, 2008). "Bet on Norman Braman". The Miami New Times. Retrieved April 12, 2009.
  4. ^ Forbes, Gordan (September 15, 2006). Tales from the Eagles Sideline. Sports Publishing. p. 147. ISBN 9781596701533.
  5. ^ John Steinbreder (September 13, 1993). "The Owners". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  6. ^ Peter Mucha (September 23, 2010). "'Richest Americans' list includes 4 from Philly". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Interview with Norman Braman – Owner of Braman Enterprises". Emerald Expositions. April 3, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Kevin Gale (August 2, 2004). "JM Family Enterprises, Southern Wine & Spirits lead the list". South Florida Business Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
  9. ^ "Lost Cars of the 1980s – Sterling 825 and 827". American City Business Journals. March 17, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Eagles Sold for Record, Reported at $185 million". The New York Times. April 7, 1994. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Haggman, Matthew (15 May 2011). "9 of 10 say 'yes' to ousting Alvare". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  12. ^ Rabin, Charles (2012-07-16). "Norman Braman's money gives challengers better shot at Miami-Dade Commission seats". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  13. ^ Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder (May 9, 2015). "Billionaire Lifts Marco Rubio, Politically and Personally". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  14. ^ "Marco Rubio's secret weapon". Politico. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  15. ^ News, A. B. C. (7 August 2015). "6 Surprises Marco Rubio's Wife Shared About Her Husband". ABC News. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Reading Of Marco Rubio's Biography". kenfields.net. Archived from the original on 2015-12-11.
  17. ^ Lebanon Daily News: "Sophie Miller Obituary" on December 6, 2009
  18. ^ The Florida House of Representatives House Resolution 9123 – A resolution honoring Norman Braman for his philanthropy on behalf of the people of the State of Florida | 2008
  19. ^ The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation: A New Center of Excellence – The Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility retrieved March 24, 2013

External links[edit]