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Thomas J. Barrack Jr.

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Thomas J. "Tom" 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]

Tom Barrack
BornApril 28, 1947
EducationUniversity of Southern
(BA, JD)
Net worthUSD$1.0 billion (2017)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Rachelle Barrack


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 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] Trump agreed to generous prices in both deals, and 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]

Barrack had 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 2012, Ambassador Otaiba gave Barrack $1 million to profit from the crash of the United States housing bubble.[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.[22]

In 2012, Barrack sold the Paris Saint-Germain F.C. to the Qatar Investment Authority.[18][23] 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.[24] The New York Times reported that the preliminary agreement with Weinstein fell apart and the acquisition broke down.[25] Colony Capital later withdrew from the deal after being unable to structure the purchase in a way to avoid enriching Harvey Weinstein.[26]

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 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[27]

Barrack is a trustee at the University of Southern California and a member of the University Board of Pepperdine University.[28] 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][29][30] French president Nicolas Sarkozy awarded him France's Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.[9]

Political activityEdit

Barrack endorsed Donald Trump during the United States presidential election, 2016.[31] He was a major fundraiser for Trump's campaign through the "Rebuilding America Now" Super PAC, which raised $23 million.[16][32][33]

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, United Arab Emirates 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.[34] 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.[35] The Wall Street Journal has reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are currently examining the inauguration committee for criminal misuse of funds.[36]

After Trump became president, Barrack acted as a middleman between him and Arab princes.[37]

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.[38]

Personal lifeEdit

Barrack is divorced, and he has six children.[39] They reside in Los Angeles, California.[22] He also owns a 1,200-acre mountain ranch near Santa Barbara, California.[10][17] He is Roman Catholic.[18][40] His wife filed for divorce in 2016. In 2014, Barrack bought a house in Santa Monica for $21 million, the highest price ever paid in the area at that time and sold it for $35 million, again the highest price for a residence in that area.[41][42] In 2017, he purchased a $15.5 million palatial home in Aspen, Colorado.[43]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
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  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 t 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. ^ a b "Thomas Barrack: 2014 Billionaires List: Dropoff". Forbes. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  23. ^ Hughes, Rob (August 7, 2012). "Paris Saint-Germain Is in a Spending League of Its Own". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "A property billionaire rescues Harvey Weinstein's studio". The Economist. October 19, 2017.
  25. ^
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "The Offshore Story of Thomas J. Barrack". ICIJ.
  28. ^ "Board of Trustees". University of Southern California. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  29. ^ "Accor Board of Directors". Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  30. ^ "First Republic Bank Board of Directors". January 1, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ Swan, Jonathan (May 15, 2016). "Where Republican donors stand on Donald Trump". The Hill. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  33. ^ Beckel, Michael (July 19, 2016). "Trump's new super PAC attack dog". Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  34. ^ Tim Tebow: Speaking slot at Trump convention 'a rumor', Associated Press (July 14, 2016).
  35. ^
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  37. ^ Kirkpatrick, David (June 13, 2018). "Who Is Behind Trump's Links to Arab Princes? A Billionaire Friend". New York Times.
  38. ^
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  40. ^ "New Parishioners" (PDF). St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
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