Robert Schmertz

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For the folk musician and architect, see Robert Schmertz (artist).
Robert Schmertz
Born (1926-11-15)November 15, 1926
Died July 24, 1975(1975-07-24) (aged 48)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Occupation Real estate developer
Known for Co-owner of the Portland Trail Blazers
Co-owner of the Boston Celtics
Spouse(s) Phyllis Kane

Robert Schmertz (November 15, 1926 – July 24, 1975) [1][2] was an American real estate developer and sports franchise owner. He was owner or part-owner of two NBA franchises; the Portland Trail Blazers from 1970 through 1972, and the Boston Celtics from 1972 until 1975.[3] He also owned the New England Whalers of the World Hockey Association, and the New York Stars of the now-defunct World Football League. Schmertz also founded Leisure Technology, a developer of retirement communities.[2]


Born to a Jewish family,[4] Schmertz attended Hackensack High School, where he played center on the school's basketball team.[5] The school inducted him into its Sports Hall of Fame in 1973.[6] In 1970, Schmertz along with his friends Larry Weinberg and Herman Sarkowsky paid $3.7MM to secure an NBA expansion team for Portland.[4]

In 1975, Schmertz was indicted by a New Jersey grand jury on bribery charges[7] Schmertz pleaded innocent to the charges. In July of that year, he suffered a stroke and died on July 24.[1] Leisure Technology would become a major developer of retirement communities, but would go bankrupt in 1991.[8]

Prior to his death in New York City, Schmertz lived in Lakewood Township, New Jersey.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Celtics owner dies of hemorrhage". Washington Post. 1974-07-25. 
  2. ^ a b "Leisure Tech stock keeps sliding as sales weaken; N.J. prospects are barren; bonds trade at deep discount". Los Angeles Business Journal. 1990-08-13. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  3. ^ James P. Quirk, Rodney D. Fort (1992). Pay Dirt: The Business of Professional Team Sports. Princeton University Press. 
  4. ^ Montville, Leigh. "Meet sports' Superfan", The Boston Globe, July 12, 1972. Accessed June 13, 2011. "The last time he played publicly was as 6-foot center for Hackensack High School."
  5. ^ Staff. "Induction Night; New Jersey Sports", The New York Times, April 26, 1974. Accessed June 13, 2011. "The Hackensack High School Sports Hall of Fame will induct nine former graduates tomorrow night, bringing its total to 323 men and women.... Probably the best-known member of the Hackensack Hall is a non-athlete - Robert Schmertz, owner of the Boston Celtics, New England Whalers and the New York Stars. He was inducted last year."
  6. ^ "Celtics owner indicted in New Jersey bribery". Washington Post. 1975-02-06. 
  7. ^ Brad Berton (1993-02-01). "Leisure Technology reorganization goes before judge; proposal would give ownership to major bondholder". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  8. ^ via United Press International. "Bulls' Bid Denied", Times-Union (Indiana), July 12, 1972. Accessed February 10, 2011. "Robert Schmertz, a real estate executive from Lakewood, has received unanimous approval from the National Basketball Association Board of Governors to purchase the Boston Celtics, but another group was rejected in its bid to buy the Chicago Bulls."
Preceded by
Irv Levin and Harold Lipton
Boston Celtics principal owner
November 1972–July 24, 1975
Succeeded by
Irv Levin and Harold Lipton