The latest entrant in the Florida Senate race is an eccentric billionaire who counts Mike Tyson and madam Heidi Fleiss as close friends and made his fortune betting against the real estate market before the crash.
The business and personal life of Jeff Greene is providing an embarrassment of riches for oppo researchers working for Greene’s competition in the Democratic primary, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL).
Here’s how Forbes described his business success in a 2008 profile:
He did so by creating his own virtual hedge fund and buying credit default swaps that rose in value as subprime mortgages fell. Greene says the trade was up 1,400% in 18 months until the fall of 2007. That seems to have earned him a quick $800 million profit and catapulted Greene onto The Forbes 400 with a net worth of $1.4 billion.
The Forbes piece also notes that Tyson was the best man at Greene’s 2007 Beverly Hills wedding. He once hosted Fleiss at his home for a year. Of that period, he told the St. Petersburg Times: “She was being abused by her boyfriend, and she asked for a place to stay and I would never turn down someone subject to domestic abuse. She slept in the guest room.”
In the late 1990s, Greene sued director Ron Howard for breaking the lease on the $28,500-per-month rental of Greene’s house in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. Howard countersued, and won a $600,000 judgment because, in the words of his lawyer at the time, the home was plagued by “rats, broken plumbing, broken appliances and rampant mildew.”