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Thomas J. Barrack Jr. (born April 28, 1947) is an American private equity real estate investor and the founder and executive chairman [1][2] of Colony Capital Inc.[3][4][5][6] Barrack is a close friend and ally of President Donald Trump and has represented Trump on television news segments. He also served as the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee and was senior adviser to Trump's presidential campaign.[14][15]

Thomas J. Barrack Jr.
Born (1947-04-28) April 28, 1947 (age 72)
EducationUniversity of Southern
University of San Diego (JD)
Net worthUSD$1.0 billion (2017)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Rachelle Barrack (divorced)


Early lifeEdit

Barrack's grandparents were Lebanese Christians who immigrated in 1900 to the United States from Zahlé, Lebanon.[16][17] Barrack was raised in Culver City, California, where his father was a grocer and his mother was a secretary.[18]


In 1969, Barrack graduated with a BA degree from the University of Southern California, where he participated on their varsity rugby team.[19][20] Barrack then attended the USC Gould School of Law, where he was an editor of the Southern California Law Review, before receiving his JD from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1972.[19][17][21]


His first job was at the law firm of Herbert W. Kalmbach, President Richard Nixon's personal lawyer.[10] In 1972 the firm sent him to Saudi Arabia, where he soon became the squash partner of a Saudi prince.[16][18] He then worked in the kingdom for the Fluor Corporation,[10] and worked for Saudi princes. Shortly after, he helped open diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Haiti, then ruled by Jean-Claude Duvalier, at the request of investor Lonnie Dunn.[10]

In 1982, Barrack served as Deputy Undersecretary of the United States Department of the Interior under James G. Watt in the Reagan administration.[16][9][12] The Secret Service would board its horses at Barrack's ranch when President Reagan was at his nearby Rancho del Cielo.[16] Secretary Watt made his resignation announcement at Barrack's ranch.[16] Barrack says he became disillusioned with government service after he was required to testify before a congressional committee due to a gift Barrack had paid to the purchaser of Edwin Meese's house.[16]

In 1987, Barrack was later a principal with the Robert M. Bass Group.[16][9][11][12] In 1985, Barrack first dealt with Donald Trump when he sold Trump a one-fifth stake in the Alexander's department stores.[18] In 1988, Trump agreed to pay Barrack $410 million for total ownership of the Plaza Hotel.[18] He later lost both properties in bankruptcy.[18]

In 1990, Barrack founded Colony Capital, with initial investments by Bass and GE Capital, and later Eli Broad, Merrill Lynch, and Koo Chen-fu.[10] Barrack achieved 50% profits in his first two years by focusing on distressed properties, including the federal Resolution Trust Corporation.[16] He has invested some $200 million in Middle East real estate, $534 million in non-performing German real estate loans, and made a $24 million loan to photographer Annie Leibovitz.[17] He also owns the Neverland Ranch.[17] Through Colony Capital, he runs a $25 billion portfolio of assets, from the Fairmont Raffles Hotels International hotel chain in Asia, the Aga Khan's former resort in Sardinia, Resorts International Holdings, One&Only Resorts, Atlantis, etc.[10]

Colony Starwood Homes was criticised for treating tenants poorly during the Great Recession, raising rents, evicting people in large numbers and failing to maintain properties.[22]

Barrack has previously negotiated drilling rights with Mana Al Otaiba.[18] In 2009, Barrack negotiated with his son, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, the sale of a $41 million stake in the Raffles L'Ermitage hotel to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.[18]

In 2010, Barrack bought $70 million of Jared Kushner's debt on 666 Fifth Avenue.[18] Kushner later avoided bankruptcy when Barrack agreed to reduce his obligations after a request by Trump.[18]

As of September 2011, Barrack was the 833rd richest person in the world, and the 375th richest in the United States, with an estimated wealth of US$1.1. billion.[17] However, he was no longer a billionaire in 2014.[23]

In 2012, Barrack sold the Paris Saint-Germain F.C. to the Qatar Investment Authority.[18][24] Barrack had to pay €22 million to settle tax charges related to the 2012 sale of his resort on Costa Smeralda to the Qatari sovereign wealth fund.

In 2010, Barrack partnered with the Qatar Investment authority to purchase Weinstein film production company Miramax for $660 million.[16] In 2016, Barrack sold Miramax to the Qatari beIN Media Group at a fourfold profit.[18] In October 2017, Barrack's Colony Capital agreed to invest in The Weinstein Company to keep it afloat in light of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations.[25] The New York Times reported that the preliminary agreement with Weinstein fell apart and the acquisition broke down.[26] Colony Capital later withdrew from the deal after being unable to structure the purchase in a way to avoid enriching Harvey Weinstein.[27]

In 2017, Barrack sold a $70 million stake in One California Plaza to the Abu Dhabi crown prince's investment fund.[18] During the first eighteen months of the Trump Administration, Colony NorthStar raised 24% of its $7 billion in investment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Saudi Arabia.[18]

Barrack used Cayman Islands entities to invest pension fund money in distressed real estate and send money towards the Colony parent company, according to an organization chart that surfaced in the Paradise Papers documents leaked from the Appleby law firm[28]

Barrack is a trustee at the University of Southern California.[29] He has also served on the board of directors of Accor, Kerner, First Republic Bank, Continental Airlines, Korea First Bank, and Megaworld Properties & Holdings.[12][30][31] French president Nicolas Sarkozy awarded him France's Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.[9]

Political activityEdit

Barrack endorsed Donald Trump during the 2016 United States presidential election.[32] He was a major fundraiser for Trump's campaign through the "Rebuilding America Now" Super PAC, which raised $23 million.[16][33][34]

Barrack recommended that Trump hire Paul Manafort as his campaign manager, whom Barrack had first met in the 1970s when they were both working for Saudis and living in Beirut.[18] Barrack had later loaned Manafort $1.5 million to refinance a home in the Hamptons.[16] On April 26, 2016, Barrack began an email correspondence with one of his business partners, UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, reassuring him that Trump had investments in the UAE. “The emails were the beginning of Mr. Trump’s improbable transformation from a candidate who campaigned against Muslims to a president celebrated in the royal courts of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” according to New York Times writer David D. Kirkpatrick. This is a testament to Barrack’s “unique place in the Trump world,” writes Kirkpatrick. [18] On May 26, Barrack wrote introducing Otaiba to Jared Kushner, and the two met later that month.[18] On July 13, Barrack conveyed to Otaiba that Trump had removed from the Republican Party platform the plank calling for the release of the 28 pages of redacted information from the 9/11 report.[18] On July 21, Barrack spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention.[35] In September 2016, Barrack helped set up a meeting between Trump and the Emir of Qatar in Trump Tower.[18]

Barrack served as chairman of the committee overseeing the inauguration of Donald Trump, for which he raised over $100 million, doubling the previous record.[16] Barrack hired Rick Gates to help run the inauguration and then as a consultant. Gates was fired the day he was indicted.[36]

After Trump became president, Barrack acted as a middleman between him and Arab princes.[37] He denies a quote attributed to him in the 2018 book Fire and Fury that he said Trump was, "not only crazy" but "stupid".[38]

In a 2017 Washington Post article, Barrack commented on Trump's inflammatory rhetoric and proposals to ban immigrants from certain Muslim countries and put up a border wall with Mexico. "He's better than this," he said.[39]

Barrack was interviewed during the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, in particular regarding Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Konstantin Kilimnik, Cambridge Analytica, the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team, and the financing of the Trump inauguration.[40][41]

As of May 2019, Barrack has come under the Eastern District of New York's investigation of Trump inaugural committee donations, including the committee chairman’s ties to Middle East.[42]

Personal lifeEdit

Barrack is divorced since 2016, and he has six children.[43] His family is based in Los Angeles, California.[23] He also owns a 1,200-acre mountain ranch near Santa Barbara, California.[10][17] He is Roman Catholic.[18][44]

In 2014, Barrack bought a house in Santa Monica for $21 million, which he later sold for $35 million, the highest price for a residence in that area.[45][46] In 2017, he purchased a $15.5 million home in Aspen, Colorado.[47]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Finnegan, Michael. "Who are Trump's friends? One is Thomas Barrack, a Californian who could shape his views on the Middle East". LA Times. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "Colony Capital, Inc - Contact". Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d "Colony Capital biography". Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Shawn Tully, 'I'm Tom Barrack and I'm getting out', on CNN, October 31, 2005
  11. ^ a b "CNBC Global Players". Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d "Arab Bankers Association of North America". November 20, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  13. ^ Benjamin Wallace, 'Monetizing the Celebrity Meltdown', in New York Magazine, November 28, 2010
  14. ^ [7][8][9][10][11][12][13]
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kranish, Michael (October 11, 2017). "'He's better than this,' says Thomas Barrack, Trump's loyal whisperer". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Forbes profile". Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Kirkpatrick, David D. (June 13, 2018). "Who Is Behind Trump's Links to Arab Princes? A Billionaire Friend". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Colony Capital, Inc - Management". Archived from the original on January 2, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  20. ^ "1969 USC MEN'S RUGBY YEARBOOK". Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  21. ^ "California Bar". December 14, 1972. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  22. ^ Glantz, Aaron (June 8, 2017). "This Slumlord Is Donald Trump's Good Pal". The Nation. The Nation Company, L.P. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Thomas Barrack: 2014 Billionaires List: Dropoff". Forbes. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  24. ^ Hughes, Rob (August 7, 2012). "Paris Saint-Germain Is in a Spending League of Its Own". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  25. ^ "A property billionaire rescues Harvey Weinstein's studio". The Economist. October 19, 2017.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Barnes, Brooks (November 7, 2017). "Thomas Barrack's Colony Capital Ends Bid for Weinstein Studio". The New York Times. p. B4. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  28. ^ "The Offshore Story of Thomas J. Barrack". ICIJ.
  29. ^ "Board of Trustees". University of Southern California. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  30. ^ "Accor Board of Directors". Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  31. ^ "First Republic Bank Board of Directors". January 1, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  32. ^ Ensign, Rachel Louise; Karmin, Craig; Benoit, David (March 5, 2016). "Donald Trump's Three Friends in Finance". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  33. ^ Swan, Jonathan (May 15, 2016). "Where Republican donors stand on Donald Trump". The Hill. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  34. ^ Beckel, Michael (July 19, 2016). "Trump's new super PAC attack dog". Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  35. ^ Tim Tebow: Speaking slot at Trump convention 'a rumor', Associated Press (July 14, 2016).
  36. ^
  37. ^ Kirkpatrick, David (June 13, 2018). "Who Is Behind Trump's Links to Arab Princes? A Billionaire Friend". New York Times.
  38. ^ Lusher, Adam (January 4, 2018). "Did Donald Trump really have sex with his friends' wives?". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  39. ^ "'He's better than this,' says Thomas Barrack, Trump's loyal whisperer". Washington Post.
  40. ^ "Mueller team questions Trump friend Tom Barrack in Russia probe". Chicago Tribune.
  41. ^ Garrett M. Graff (December 17, 2018). "A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations". Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  42. ^ Larry Buchanan and Karen Yourish (May 20, 2019). "Tracking 29 Investigations Related to Trump". Retrieved May 22, 2019.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  43. ^ Here's What You Need to Know About Thomas Barrack, Jr.
  44. ^ "New Parishioners" (PDF). St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  45. ^ Billionaire investor Thomas Barrack sells his Santa Monica mansion for $34 million
  46. ^ Entrepreneur Kirk Lazarus shocks with a $31 million Santa Monica mansion purchase
  47. ^ Billionaire Investor Thomas Barrack Jr. Buys $15.5M Aspen Ski Resort Home