That’s “bills” as in BILLIONS. I don’t know about you, but I’m shedding tears at the collapse of Shelly Adelson’s fortune according to a Forward story:
The past year has not been kind to Adelson’s finances: Las Vegas Sands stock, which constitutes the bulk of Adelson’s fortune, has plummeted more than 70% as the slowing economy has hurt the bottom lines of the casino industry. According to the financial information service Bloomberg, at the end of 2007 Adelson owned 227 million shares of stock, which were worth roughly $8 billion at press time. A year ago, those shares would have been worth more than $28 billion.
This means he’s cutting back on the $30-million yearly commitment he’d made to Birthright-Taglit. It will only be $20-million and $10-million respectively over the next two years. The organization is finding out that there is a big problem with relying so heavily on an ego-driven donor like Adelson who forces you to dance through hoops to do his bidding. If you don’t do the right steps, donors like this sour on you and hang you out to dry. Meanwhile, you’ve ramped up your organizational staffing based on a funding level provided by your sugar daddy. Then he pulls the plug and leaves you to pick up the pieces. How can Birthright possibly replace the $70-million he gave over the past two years?
Adelson has been criticized by his fellow right-wing Republicans for holding out the prospect of big money to fund an aggressive neocon attack on Democrats by Freedom’s Watch, the group he founded. But the money hasn’t materialized because, it’s rumored, Adelson hasn’t liked what he’s seen so far of the group’s work.
For some reason Adelson reminds me of a Jewish Napoleon except I’ve never seen him shove his hand into his vest as the French emporer used to do. Alternatively, I also think of him as a Jewish Jimmy Cagney shoving a grapefruit in the face of anyone who doesn’t meet his political or business standards. He’s one tough sombitch.
Hard to know what makes Shelly happy. Ehud Olmert certainly knows that, since the former detests Olmert as being far too left-wing for his taste. Adelson’s Israeli darling is Bibi Netanyahu and the gambling baron would love to come up a winner in the next national election. I’m just happy Adelson may have that much less to spend on the campaign given his “impoverishment.” But as Olmert has proven, it only takes chump change (by Adelson’s standards) to buy an Israeli pol and fully finance an election campaign. The Las Vegas tycoon has already financed a new Israeli right-wing daily that trumpets Netanyahu’s virtues even in the news pages (why confine his admiration to the opinion pages?).
I’m thinking that if Shelly gets his way they’ll erect a huge statue of him and plaque (like the ones you see in your local synagogue except MUCH, MUCH bigger) at Ben Gurion. It will say something like:
The land of Israel–bought, paid for, and presented to the residents of this great nation by a loving son of Israel, SHELDON ADELSON.
It would be only fitting after all.