Robert A. Altman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Robert A. Altman
RobertAltman.jpg
Altman in 2009
Born
Robert Alan Altman

(1947-02-23)February 23, 1947
DiedFebruary 3, 2021(2021-02-03) (aged 73)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
OccupationBusinessman, lawyer
Known forZeniMax Media
Spouse(s)
(m. 1984)
Children2

Robert Alan Altman (February 23, 1947 – February 3, 2021) was an American lawyer and video game executive. He worked as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. and was involved in a scandal surrounding the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. In 1999, he and Christopher Weaver founded ZeniMax Media as the parent holding company for Bethesda Softworks, a video game developer Weaver had founded earlier. Altman served as ZeniMax Media's chief executive officer and chairman until his death. He was also a member of the advisory board of the George Washington University Law School.[1]

Early life[edit]

Robert Alan Altman was born in Washington, D.C., on February 23, 1947.[2][3] His father, Norman S. Altman (–1997), was a graduate of Harvard Law School, a real estate lawyer and investor, a government lawyer during the New Deal, and the co-founder of the law firm Krooth and Altman.[2][4] His mother, Sophie B. Altman (née Robinson; –2008), was a graduate of Yale Law School and television producer, and created the program It's Academic in 1961.[2][5][6] Robert A. Altman had three sisters: Janet R. Spragens (–2006), Susan Altman, and Nancy Altman.[6]

Robert A. Altman was raised in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. He obtained a bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin in 1968 and returned to D.C. to attend George Washington University Law School, earning a Juris Doctor degree in 1971.[2][7]

Career[edit]

Law office[edit]

Altman practiced law for many years in Washington, D.C. as a partner of Clark Clifford, a former United States Secretary of Defense in the law firm of Clifford and Warnke. Altman later opened his own law firm, the Law Offices of Robert Altman where Clifford was of counsel. As a Washington, D.C. lawyer, Altman represented major companies before federal regulatory agencies, before Congress, or in litigation.[8]

From 1978 to 1982, Altman and Clifford represented a group of wealthy Arab businessmen, including members of the royal family from Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia in their efforts to acquire a multi-state bank holding company, Financial General Bankshares. The Arab investors used a British bank, Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) as their financial advisor in this transaction. Following the acquisition, Altman became President of Financial General which was renamed First American Corporation.[7][8]

BCCI trial[edit]

In 1991, it was alleged that BCCI, the financial adviser to the Arab shareholders and their "communications link" had acquired by means of offshore loans that were in default, the shares of the Arab investors in First American. Questions were raised whether the Arab investors had falsely represented to bank regulators the true ownership of First American.[9] During the ensuing investigations, Altman and Clifford testified at length before Congress, federal and state grand juries, and the Federal Reserve. Audits of First American by the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller, and state banking agencies confirmed that the bank had been operated under Altman's management without any BCCI influence.[10]

In 1992, Clifford and Altman were charged in indictments by the New York District Attorney and the Department of Justice, as well as being named in a civil suit by the Federal Reserve.[10] Clifford, then in poor health, was severed from the case as he was physically unable to go to trial. Altman maintained his innocence, refused offers of a plea to resolve the cases, and insisted on going to trial. In the summer of 1993, after a five-month trial, the court dismissed the central count in the indictment of bribery, saying no evidence had been presented by the government to support it.[11] Altman declined to present a defense case and was acquitted by the jury of all remaining charges.[12][13] The Department of Justice dismissed the companion federal indictment. The civil suit by the Federal Reserve was settled[14] with Altman agreeing to be banned permanently from banking.[14] He was defended by a famous white-collar criminal defense lawyer Gustave Newman.[15]

ZeniMax Media[edit]

Altman resumed his Washington, D.C. legal practice after the trial. In 1999, he co-founded ZeniMax Media with Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver as a new parent company of Bethesda.[16] Altman was brought in as CEO with Weaver serving as CTO.[17] Weaver was pushed out of an operational role in 2002 and filed a related lawsuit that was settled out of court.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Altman was Jewish.[19][20] On January 29, 1984, he married former Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter.[3] Together they had two children, James and Jessica Altman. They lived in Potomac, Maryland.[21] James Altman works at his father's ZeniMax subsidiary Bethesda Softworks as Director of Publishing Operations.[22]

In 2015, both Robert Altman and his wife endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.[23]

Death[edit]

On February 3, 2021, Altman died at a hospital in Baltimore due to complications from a medical procedure; he was 73.[2] Bethesda Softworks announced his death the day after.[24][25]

Publications[edit]

  • Altman, Robert A. (1970). The Upper Division College. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 9780875890654.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dean's Advisory Council". George Washington University Law School. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Smith, Harrison (February 6, 2021). "Robert A. Altman, who went from banking scandal to video game CEO, dies at 73". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 6, 2021. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Clark Clifford, Robert Altman / Biographies at a glance". The Desert Sun. Gannett News Service. September 12, 1991. p. 25. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  4. ^ Weil, Martin (November 23, 1997). "ITT Empire Builder Harold S. Geneen Dies at 87". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  5. ^ Kurtz, Howard (October 26, 1991). "Sophie Altman, Sticking Up for Her Son". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 10, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (May 29, 2008). "Sophie B. Altman, Who Started Quiz Show in 1961, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Walsh, Sharon (August 2, 1991). "Cloud Over a Rising Star". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Lewis, Neil A. (September 3, 1991). "A Friendship, a Washington Bank and a Trail of Money Leading to B.C.C.I.; Clifford and Altman, Mentor and Protege, At Center of Inquiry". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  9. ^ Gwynne, S.C. (August 30, 1993). "Innocent As Charged". Time. Archived from the original on December 29, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Kerry, John; Brown, Hank (December 1992). "The BCCI Affair: A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate". Homeland Security Digital Library. pp. 360–361, 402. Archived from the original on February 6, 2021. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (August 15, 1993). "Altman Acquitted of Banking Fraud". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Williams, Marjorie (May 8, 1991). "Clark Clifford: The rise of a reputation". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  13. ^ "Altman acquitted in BCCI trial". Tampa Bay Times. October 10, 2005. Archived from the original on February 6, 2021. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Truell, Peter (February 4, 1998). "Clifford and Altman Settle With Fed Over B.C.C.I." The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  15. ^ Roberts, Sam (May 4, 2017). "Gustave Newman, Defense Lawyer in Sensational Cases, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 24, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  16. ^ Ramsay, Morgan (January 31, 2012). Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play. Apress. pp. 291, 295. ISBN 9781430233510. Archived from the original on February 6, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  17. ^ Blancato, Joe (February 6, 2007). "Bethesda: The Right Direction, Page 3 of 4". The Escapist. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  18. ^ "CHRISTOPHER S. WEAVER vs. ZENIMAX MEDIA, INC" (PDF). Maryland Courts. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 20, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  19. ^ Bugg, Sean (June 3, 2009). "World Wonder". Metro Weekly. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  20. ^ Bloom, Nate (April 28, 2009). "Interfaith Celebrities: The Summer's First Blockbuster". 18Doors. Archived from the original on February 6, 2021. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  21. ^ Jensen, Erin (April 13, 2018). "Lynda Carter recalls marriage to Ron Samuels: 'He was a lot older, and I was just stupid'". USA Today. Archived from the original on April 21, 2020. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  22. ^ Morant, Blake D. (February 6, 2018). "Conversation with the Dean: Robert and James Altman". George Washington University Law School. Archived from the original on March 12, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  23. ^ Price, Lydia (May 8, 2015). "Wonder Woman Lynda Carter Wants You to Vote for Her Friend Hillary Clinton". People. Archived from the original on September 11, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  24. ^ Plunkett, Luke (February 4, 2021). "Zenimax Co-Founder & CEO Robert Altman Has Died". Kotaku. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  25. ^ Good, Owen S. (February 4, 2021). "Robert A. Altman, founder of Bethesda parent ZeniMax Media, dies at 73". Polygon. Archived from the original on February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 5, 2021.

External links[edit]