|Born||October 15, 1925|
Washington, DC, U.S.
|Residence||Chevy Chase, Maryland|
|Alma mater||George Washington University|
|Occupation||Managing principal owner of Washington Nationals & Lerner Enterprises|
|Net worth||US$5.2 billion (February 2016)|
|Children||Mark D. Lerner|
Debra Lerner Cohen
Marla Lerner Tanenbaum
|Parent(s)||Ethel & Mayer Lerner|
Theodore N. Lerner (born October 15, 1925) is an American real estate developer, and former managing principal owner of the Washington Nationals baseball team. He is the founder of the real estate company Lerner Enterprises, the largest private landowner in the Washington metropolitan area, which owns commercial, retail, residential and hotel properties, as well as Chelsea Piers in New York City. In 2015, Forbes magazine named him the richest person in the State of Maryland.
Early life and education
Lerner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in Northwest Washington D.C., the eldest of three children born to Mayer, a 1921 emigrant from Palestine, and Ethel, who emigrated from Lithuania. He has one brother Lawrence and one sister, Esther. He attended Raymond Elementary School, McFarland Junior High, and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1944. He then served with the U.S. Army as a typist during the latter part of World War II. He then went on to attend George Washington University via the G.I. Bill where he received first an Associate of Arts and then in 1949, he graduated with a L.L.B. from The George Washington University Law School. While in law school, he sold homes on the weekends which piqued his interest in real estate.
In 1952, he borrowed $250 from his wife and founded the real estate company Lerner Enterprises in Rockville, Maryland. It operates primarily throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolis. Lerner Enterprises is the largest private landowner in the Washington, D.C. region.
Among the Lerner Enterprises ventures is a partnership in Chelsea Piers, a 30-acre (120,000 m2) sports and entertainment complex on the Hudson River in New York City; the Tysons II commercial development; shopping centers including White Flint and Dulles Town Center; and thousands of homes and apartments, along with numerous office buildings. Lerner also played a role in developing other shopping centers in the Washington area, including Tysons Corner Center and Wheaton Plaza.
Lerner Corporation, a closely held corporation but not a "close corporation" within the meaning of Maryland corporation law, was organized in 1965. It was authorized to issue 95 shares of no-par common stock. Theodore acquired seventy shares, and Lawrence acquired 25 shares. Theodore was president and one of three directors. Prior to September 1983, Lawrence was secretary and a director.
The brothers' relationship deteriorated, and in September 1983, Theodore caused Lawrence to be removed as an officer and director. Lawrence sued Theodore, Theodore undertook to "freeze-out" Lawrence as a stockholder, and Lawrence brought an action to enjoin the freeze-out. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's entry of a preliminary injunction. See Lerner v. Lerner, 306 Md. 771, 511 A.2d 501 (1986). Prior to trial of that case, however, the brothers entered into a settlement agreement dated October 16, 1987 (Settlement Agreement or the Agreement). The Settlement Agreement provided that (1) Theodore would remain the chief operating officer of Lerner Corporation, (2) Lawrence would no longer be involved actively in Lerner Corporation but would continue to receive shareholder distributions, and (3) Theodore would have permission to use the resources of Lerner Corporation to benefit his other financial projects.
The headquarters of Lerner Enterprises in Rockville, MD was the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certified multi-tenant commercial building in the D.C. area and has been the recipient of multiple design and environmental awards.
The Washington Nationals franchise (then known as the Montreal Expos) was formerly owned and operated by Major League Baseball from February 15, 2002, until the official transfer of ownership on July 24, 2006. The Lerner Family is the majority owner of the franchise, controlling over 90% of the shares. Lerner retired as principal owner in 2018, ceding the role to his son, Mark Lerner.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Philanthropy and accolades
The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation provides support to many organizations, including: Food and Friends; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Shady Grove Adventist Hospital; Hadley's Park; the Weizmann Institute of Science; the Scleroderma Foundation of Greater Washington; YouthAids; Junior Achievement of the Greater Washington Area; the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School; and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, among many others. Ted and his wife Annette are founding members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The American Academy of Achievement awarded Ted Lerner the Golden Plate Award of Excellence in 1990.
The lunch room in the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy was donated by the Lerner Family. The family has also donated the Lerner Family Health and Wellness Center and Theodore Lerner Hall at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Along with the Lerner Center at Hebrew University in Israel.
The family donated the theater at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD.
Notable achievements include:
- 1990 American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award of Excellence
- Elected to the Washington Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area in 2003
- Elected to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
On June 17, 1951, he married Annette M. Lerner. They have three children: Mark D. Lerner (married to Judy Lenkin), Debra Lerner Cohen (married Edward L. Cohen) and Marla Lerner Tanenbaum (married Robert K. Tanenbaum). Ted Lerner has nine grandchildren.
His daughter, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, is president of The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation and chair of the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. The family are the sole owners and heirs of Lerner Enterprises. They own the vast majority of the Washington Nationals.
- "The World's Billionaires - Ted Lerner", Forbes, January 2014
- Svrluga, Barry (14 June 2018). "Nationals owner Ted Lerner, 92, to cede control of club to his son, Mark". The Washington Post.
- Paul Toscano. "The 10 Richest MLB Owners". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- "The Richest Americans By State: Maryland", Forbes, 2015, retrieved December 4, 2015
- The Washingtonian: "Ted Lerner Plays Ball - The dealmaker and family man has realized a dream: He owns Washington’s baseball team. Here’s how he got to where he is—and where the team goes from here" By Harry Jaffe June 1, 2007
- Jerusalem Post: "Ted Lerner buys the Nationals: A leading Washington Jewish community member is at the head of a group which has bought the city's baseball team" by Nathan Guttman July 29, 2012
- "LERNER v. LERNER CORPORATION, No. 368, Sept. Term, 1997., June 11, 1998 - MD Court of Special Appeals | FindLaw". Caselaw.findlaw.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- "Lerner V. Lerner Corp". Leagle.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- "The Tower Companies". Nbm.org. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- ""Lerner Group finalizes purchase of Washington Nationals," Washington Nationals press release, Monday, July 24, 2006". Washington.nationals.mlb.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- "Lerner Enterprises". Lerner.com. Archived from the original on 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- Washington Post: "After 17 Months, Baseball Introduces Nats' Owners" By Thomas Heath and David Nakamura May 4, 2006