Samuel J. LeFrak

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Samuel J. LeFrak
BornFebruary 12, 1918
DiedApril 16, 2003(2003-04-16) (aged 85)
EducationB.A. University of Maryland, College Park
OccupationReal estate developer
Record producer
SpouseEthel Stone
ChildrenDenise LeFrak Calicchio
Richard LeFrak
Francine LeFrak Friedberg
Jacqueline LeFrak Kosinski

Samuel J. LeFrak (February 12, 1918 – April 16, 2003) was an American real estate tycoon. He was a noted landlord who chaired a private building firm, the LeFrak Organization, which was ranked 45th on the Forbes list of top 500 private companies.[1] The development firm is best known for major development projects in Battery Park City; LeFrak City in Queens; and Newport, Jersey City. Although the LeFrak organization claims it was founded in 1883 in France, by Samuel J. LeFrak's grandfather, Maurice,[1] passenger arrival index (ref. 4) indicates his grandfather was Aron Lefrak from Slutsk. Extended family in the 1940s to 1960s knew that Harry Lefrak and family were from Slutsk, and the family never used the spelling "LeFrak". (Personal communication from Lilly Feingold Mogil, niece of Harry Lefrak's wife Sarah Schwartz.)


LeFrak was born in Manhattan, New York, to Harry (Harris) Lefrak and the former Sarah Schwartz, who had originated in Slutsk,[2] near Minsk, in Belarus (then Russia).[3][4][5] He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush, Brooklyn.[6] He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1940,[7] with the University's LeFrak Hall named for him. While at Maryland, he was a brother in the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity.

In the early 1970s he was sued by the federal government for housing discrimination; the case was resolved in a January 1971 agreement.[8]

In 1975, he co-founded a small recording and publishing company, The Entertainment Company, with his then son-in-law Martin Bandier and Charles Koppelman.[9] The company recorded "Groovin'" by the Rascals, "Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton, "My Heart Belongs to Me" by Barbra Streisand, Streisand and Donna Summer's duet, "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)", "By The Time I Get to Phoenix" by Glen Campbell, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" by Diana Ross, "Love Will Keep Us Together" by the Captain & Tennille, and the soundtrack album to the television series Fame.[9] In 1984, the relationship was dissolved after Bandier divorced LeFrak's daughter.[9]

In 1988, LeFrak was honored by the United Nations, along with former President Jimmy Carter, for global contributions through Habitat International. After his death, his son, Richard LeFrak, became CEO of the LeFrak Organization.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In 1941, LeFrak married Ethel Stone. They had four children:[11][12]

LeFrak died at the age of 85 on April 16, 2003. Funeral services were held at Congregation Emanu-El in New York City.[11]


  1. ^ a b Chapman, Parke (April 4, 2001). "A Family Affair - Brief Article". Real Estate Weekly.
  2. ^ "Slutsk, Belarus (page XXV)". Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  3. ^ "Slutsk, Belarus (pages 409-419)". Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  4. ^ Oser, Alan S. (2003-04-17). "Samuel J. LeFrak, Master of Mass Housing, Dies at 85". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  5. ^ indexes passenger arrival in NYC from Hamburg, Germany, on January 5, 1905, of father Aron Lefra(c)k, pointer (mason or glazier) by trade, with sons Mordechai and Hirsch, previously residing in Slutsk.
  6. ^ Boyer, David. "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: FLATBUSH; Grads Hail Erasmus as It Enters a Fourth Century", The New York Times, March 11, 2001. Accessed December 1, 2007.
  7. ^ "Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism". WNYC. Archived from the original on 2005-12-12. Retrieved 2006-04-14.
  8. ^ Morris Kaplan, "Major Landlord Accused Of Antiblack Bias in City", New York Times, October 16, 1973, p. 1.
  9. ^ a b c d "Turning Music Into Dollars at Sony/ATV," New York Times, August 23, 2009.
  10. ^ Richard LeFrak Forbes biography
  11. ^ a b c d e f New York Times: "Paid Notice: Deaths LEFRAK, SAMUEL J." April 18, 2003
  12. ^ Oser, Alan S. (2003-04-17). "Samuel J. LeFrak, Master of Mass Housing, Dies at 85 (Published 2003)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-16.

External links[edit]