Executive chairman, Forest City Ratner; majority owner, Barclays Center

Kathy Willens/AP Photo


Shaker Heights High School, Cleveland, class of 1963

“I came from Cleveland. Back in the 1980s, Brooklyn wasn’t such a great place, so I would joke: ‘Coming from Cleveland, anything looked good!’”

Harvard University, class of 1967

Columbia Law School, class of 1970

“It was during the Vietnam era. The only way you can really not go to war was to go to grad school, so I applied to law school. I had no interest in the law.”

“I had moustaches and beards. Today you’d say I was progressive, I guess. But then they might even use that word ‘radical.’ ”



Head of Consumer Protection Division, New York

“I learned so much from Ed Koch. I learned to say things simply and do things quickly. He took over a city that was in default in 1978, and by the time he left, it was in terrific shape.”


Law professor, New York University


Consumer Affairs commissioner, New York


Real estate developer

Sold office space to Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Chase Manhattan Bank

“I said to myself, ‘I am a big public interest person. But I need to make money.’ I set a goal to work for eight years, make $120,000 a year of passive income so I could do what I wanted. Then I got into real estate, and I couldn’t get out of it.”


Founder, Forest City Ratner Cos.


Chairman and CEO, Forest City Ratner

“We built about 14 shopping centers throughout the boroughs. It was profitable, which was the basic reason I went into it, but I felt really good about the fact that we were really saving people money.”

Went through eight years of litigation before getting approval for the Barclays Center


Owner, New Jersey Nets

Jay-Z grew up in Brooklyn. He’s been great, smart, and very good at marketing. He designed the uniforms and became the face of the team.” (In April, Jay-Z sold his stake in the Nets.)


Partial owner, Brooklyn Nets

“I wound up selling 80 percent to Mikhail Prokhorov. It was the depths of the recession of ’09, and we just didn’t have the money. We realized that we needed to sell part of the team and possibly part of the arena.”


1. “If you don’t have luck, you’ve got to be able to change and deal with chaos.” 2. “Money is never the most important thing.” 3. “Your parents are the most influential people in your life.”


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