Alex Rodriguez: Slum Lord?

A brutal report on the real estate and charity works of Alex Rodriguez in the NYT this morning. “An obsessive pursuer of cold, hard numbers on and off the bases, with serially disingenuous nods to his ever-challenged image,” writes Selena Roberts.

45 comments… add one
  • So is he back to being hated in NY? Or was that a certainty after he opted out and then resigned?

    Atheose December 7, 2007, 9:49 am
  • I can’t stand reports like this which are nothing but smear jobs. A smear story doesn’t mean the information in it is false, but does anybody really think that Rodriguez is briefed on a daily basis regarding the staircases at the complexes he owns?
    You’re going to have people that work for you that make lousy decisions. It happens and the NY Times could have dug a little deeper and found out this information. But nah. Better to go with the ‘Scrooge’ angle. And the Times wonders why they couldn’t get people to sign up for their Times Select nonsense. Who wants to pay to read such garbage?

    Jay-YF December 7, 2007, 10:05 am
  • Who wants to pay to read such garbage?
    Every single person in New York. New Yorkers were born to hate people.
    I say this mostly for humor purposes, so I apologize if this broad generalization offends anyone.

    Atheose December 7, 2007, 10:08 am
  • Wow, that’s an interesting article. By the math, if A-Rod’s foundation is a 501c-3, he has to give away 5% of the net investment assets of the foundation annually. So if it’s a 501c-3, that means the net investment assets of the foundation are miniscule ($5090, the total given away in 2006, = 5% of just over 100K). That A-Rod’s foundation only has 100K in net investment assets is pretty strange. And if you factor in that there were donations of over 368K from the mentioned fundraiser, this means that money is not being invested and instead spent on the costs of running the foundation or immediately spent (an odd way to grow a foundation, at the very least). The costs of running such a foundation should be quite small and not in a 3-1 proportion cost/donation proportion by any stretch of the imagination. I wonder who runs that foundation and what they draw as administration fees. It is also possible they are giving away almost all of the money brought in immediately, but that would show up in the donations filings, I think. They have to account for the money taken in (the ARODFF website asserts that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and spent) and the money out, so where exactly is the money out?
    Something doesn’t make sense, either in Roberts’ reporting on the foundation or with the foundation itself.

    SF December 7, 2007, 10:13 am
  • Atheose that does kinda offend me. As a native New Yorker, I find that statement far from the truth. I find new yorkers to be more hospitable and out going than people are in any other major US city. The difference here is if you do mess up, we’ll let you know.
    As far as A-Rod goes, I think Jay’s point is right on. Its not like Alex is so involved in the day-to-day operations of these properties. That said, its evidence of his inability to surround himself with good people he can trust.

    sam-YF December 7, 2007, 10:13 am
  • Sorry Sam. I have a few New Yorkers as relatives, and they seem to hate everyone. I have yet to hear them say something positive about anything.
    But like I said I was 95% joking. I’m from Texas, so feel free to make fun of me for being an uncultured hick ;-)

    Atheose December 7, 2007, 10:15 am
  • To them, he isn’t A-Rod, a regular-season crackerjack on the verge of a Yankees deal potentially worth $300 million. To them, he is Tight-Rod, an apartment tycoon, who, renters say, has jacked late fees to $100 from $50 on units that run around $600 a month.
    “He’s got everything, so why take money off our backs?” ” said Roberto Santiago, standing next to his neighbor, Ruiz.
    Ok, so I guess he’s supposed to let everyone live there for free because he is a multi-millionaire. Why stop there? Maybe he should provide food for them too? What, A-Rod didnt buy them all X-mas gifts this year? What, he cant afford giving every family $1,000 worth of gifts? What a scrooge!!!

    Anonymous December 7, 2007, 10:17 am
  • Generally speaking this sounds like a horrible business for a guy like Alex to be in. Landlords should be as far away from the public eye as possible.

    sam-YF December 7, 2007, 10:20 am
  • My comments stand, but I agree with Sam. If A-Rod wants to make real estate deals, he should do it with strip malls, office complexes etc.

    Jay-YF December 7, 2007, 10:25 am
  • Wow, I am frankly kind of shocked by the classism of some of the comments here.
    It’s offensive that people would give Rodriguez a pass since he doesn’t sit in an office all day running his housing company: the concept that A-Rod is somehow innoculated from all of the bad stuff that happens within his investments and his real estate company as due to a rogue employee is kind of sad. Certainly Roberts’ reporting should be verified and looked at with a critical eye, but the disimissiveness that has come out is, to me, sad. Why shouldn’t he be accountable for something that he has funded and on which he has put his imprimatur?
    I am not looking to attack Rodriguez, this situation is most definitely far more complicated than Roberts’ article leads on. But there seem to be legitimate issues here that are not specific to Rodriguez, they are societal.

    SF December 7, 2007, 10:26 am
  • SF i totally agree. I dont think that Alex is not to blame at all but the article seems to suggest that Alex is sitting in a chair somewhere saying raise the rents, dont fix that, etc. Which almost certainly isnt the case. Ultimately, he is the landlord and is responsible. He should hire someone who is more motivated to take care of his properties and tenants and make this a priority.

    sam-YF December 7, 2007, 10:32 am
  • I love how they completely gloss over his $4 million donation to the University of Miami…he didn’t even go there. They make it sound like the donation was contingent on them naming a baseball field after him, which is ridiculous.
    He may not be Bill Gates, but to make him out as a money-hoarding scrooge, a screw-tightener who cares nothing for his tenants but what they have in their pockets, is pretty disingenuous.

    AndrewYF December 7, 2007, 10:39 am
  • Even if he knows what is going on, why is this a big deal? Am I missing something?
    A-Rod is not making these people live there. It’s a business like any other: if the residents are not satisfied with what they’re paying for, maybe they should move.

    ATLyanksfan December 7, 2007, 10:40 am
  • I agree, ATL. They’re not being forced to stay there at all.
    Also, Newsday article today says that (surprisingly) Hank has said the Johan door is not closed to the Yankees.
    Another day, another interview, and another back-track.

    Brad December 7, 2007, 10:57 am
  • Goddamnit, I was hoping we could go a day or two without hearing the dreaded “S-word”.

    Atheose December 7, 2007, 11:00 am
  • Did Hank ever say that after the deadline they would be out of 100%? I dont think so. If you go on to quote more of the article he gives his reasoning for setting a deadline earlier in the week:
    “The reason for my deadline is I didn’t want to get caught up in the bidding circus at the winter meetings.”
    Which is a 100% legit reason. Brad you love sniping at the guy but he is actually doing a good job. Maybe thats where the anger comes from?

    sam-YF December 7, 2007, 11:04 am
  • Steve Philips?

    Brad December 7, 2007, 11:05 am
  • Here are the facts people…
    His father-in-law started the company and would buy apartments, refurbish them and rent them out. His son Taki (Cynthia’s brother) then slowly started taking over the business. As they are now focusing on bigger projects such as hotels, ARod has been brought in for financing. The apt complexes in question were some of their initial projects and ARod has had nothing to do with them…I understand that they will be sold off shortly.

    Anonymous December 7, 2007, 11:05 am
  • So does A-Rod get any of the profits, or any of the money? Or is he simply lending money to his inlaws to help finance their struggling real estate business?

    AndrewYF December 7, 2007, 11:15 am
  • You nailed it, Sam!
    Remind me, what has he done again?

    Brad December 7, 2007, 11:15 am
  • This really isn’t that big of a deal.. Slumlords are everywhere, and as a guy who once lived in a nice apartment with eight other college baseball players, the apartment’s condiditon isn’t always the landlord’s fault or problem…
    Sometimes, it’s the person/people in that apartment that make it what it is.

    Brad December 7, 2007, 11:17 am
  • SF said:
    “this situation is most definitely far more complicated than Roberts’ article leads on. But there seem to be legitimate issues here that are not specific to Rodriguez, they are societal.”
    That’s exactly what I find most offensive about the article. It’s complicated and sensitive societal issue that Roberts and her editors skim in service of nabbing a cherry-picked “Tight-Rod” soundbyte, so everyone can see what a jerk A-Rod is. Pretty shameful, IMO.

    Mark (YF) December 7, 2007, 11:18 am
  • Its not struggling, they simply want to step up to bigger, better projects as all real estate developers do. I’m sure he will eventually begin reaping the profits once these bigger projects come to fruition.

    Anonymous December 7, 2007, 11:20 am
  • Your info would be a lot more believable with a name, anon. Or a source.
    The headline and the lead to the story make it sound a lot worse than the story itself. A lot of flash with little fire, sounds like. On the other hand, SF’s right that you can’t dismiss it out of hand just because he’s not the hands-on guy.
    Also, any staircase will look rickety when you take the photo at a 45-degree angle.

    Paul SF December 7, 2007, 11:32 am
  • This is dknyc, I’ve posted here before…for some reason my posts keep coming up anon even though I’m signed in. I cant reveal my source…but I will dare you or anyone else to prove me wrong.

    dknyc December 7, 2007, 11:37 am
  • Personally I am more curious about the 501-C3 stuff than the landlord stuff…

    SF December 7, 2007, 11:37 am
  • I lived in one of those A-Rod places once, and let me tell you, I locked myself out once, and I kept calling A-Rod and he did finally fly down to Miami to let me in, but it took, like, forever! AND I got charged a silly move-in fee for using the wrong elevator. I don’t get it – Andy Pettitte gets to hold the elevator for like 10 minutes to move a bookcase in, but I gotta use the freight? Plus Hideki Matsui never completely fixes my toilet – he just comes over and starts accusing me of stuffing it with condoms. I’m like dude, I don’t do that.

    Lyndsay December 7, 2007, 11:43 am
  • Well, in that case it has to be considered as worthless. I would think (and this is just me), that A-Rod’s people wouldn’t really have any trouble whatsoever telling a reporter that, especially knowing she’s trying to poke around the ghettos in an effort to write a slumlord piece on A-Rod.
    I agree, SF…that aspect is much, much more interesting.

    Brad December 7, 2007, 11:45 am
  • I love when folks make comments like, “Well, they’re not forced to stay there. They should just move!” When where you are staying is the cheapest place there is and that’s all you can afford, where do you go besides the street?
    To find info on any 501 c3 non profit, go to and look up their 990. (I tried to look up ARod’s, but they didn’t file it. But then again, they are not required to file with Guidestar.)

    rz-yf December 7, 2007, 1:02 pm
  • edit: they did file:
    They raised a little more than $41k, and distributed $38,744.
    Their total cash assets = $28,977.
    Undistributed contributions = $105,000.
    They gave $3K to the Boys and Girls Club for their Christmas event and a little more than $10k to “Sports Plus Academy” in the Bronx for “Youth Sports Activities” whatever that is
    ARod is the president, Suzanne Dunand the secretary, and someone named Kashyap Bakhai is the treasurer
    I like ARod, and would like to defent him, but,I don’t know, for a guy that makes $25 million….

    rz-yf December 7, 2007, 1:12 pm
  • Everyone just loooves to spend other people’s money. What if A-Rod one day wants to set up his own baseball academy? Or wants to buy his very own baseball team? He might need every cent that he’s making now. It’s his money, and there are far, far less generous multi-millionaires in sports. And according to the article, A-Rod has given MORE money than Derek Jeter ($4 million to University of Miami, as opposed to $2 million from Turn Two).

    AndrewYF December 7, 2007, 1:28 pm
  • I would have thought Jeter would be more Driven to acts of kindness.

    Atheose December 7, 2007, 1:30 pm
  • How about Manny? He doesnt give anything back to his neighborhood or high schools…

    sam-YF December 7, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • Manny’s saving his pennies to buy a fleet of Oscar Meyer WeinerMobiles – his long-standing dream from childhood.

    FenSheaParkway December 7, 2007, 3:08 pm
  • The Times has slipped to a new low with this NY Post-style muckraking crap. Is A-Rod running for office?

    urbonz December 7, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • Manny’s saving his pennies to buy a fleet of Oscar Meyer WeinerMobiles – his long-standing dream from childhood.
    The mental image I got from this made me laugh harder than I ever have since discovering YF vs SF.

    Atheose December 7, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • “I love how they completely gloss over his $4 million donation to the University of Miami…he didn’t even go there.”
    I noticed that too. $4 million ain’t exactly peanuts.
    “[Manny] doesnt give anything back to his neighborhood or high schools…”
    The theme of the article is that Arod puts his face on various charities and low income housing projects in order to bolster his image, but he half-asses it. (I don’t necessarily believe it after reading the article, but that’s the gist of it)
    Manny, on the other hand, clearly doesn’t give a shit what people think about him. I’ve heard that he owns apartments in the Heights and that he takes care of his people. I’ve also heard that he had issues with the athletic director at GWHS that left a bad taste in his mouth. But my sources are dubious – a cabbie and a security guard at work, both of whom say they went to GWHS around the same time as Manny.

    tommy December 7, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • yyyyeeeaaahhh. The Whole Alex Rodriguez Field at a major D-1 college program probably has nothing to do with it.
    Lets see. How could I spend my four million the best possible way?
    Lets not be naive about that.. It’s fine that he did it, but lets not spin it like the UofM couldn’t do it themselves.
    That’s not like a charity donation or showing up at a children’s hospital (both things the guy has done before)..
    We should probably keep these things separate.

    Brad December 7, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • “I would have thought Jeter would be more Driven to acts of kindness.”

    Lyndsay December 7, 2007, 5:33 pm
  • The Times has slipped to a new low with this NY Post-style muckraking crap.
    Lower than Jayson Blair and Rick Bragg? Doubtful.
    At any rate, this is clearly a column, as opposed to a story. I’m not sure if those get a different level of editing (I’d guess so, especially since it’s in the sports section), but it definitely needed another couple weeks of investigation for the charges it slings around. The 501(c)3 angle strikes me as the most relevant, and yet it gets the shorest shrift.

    Paul SF December 7, 2007, 5:41 pm
  • Well, I just got word that my letter to the editor is being considered for publication –
    Dear Sir,
    The Roberts column today piqued my interest from the opening paragraph. By the end, I couldn’t believe you had allowed it to be printed in your venerable newspaper.
    At the beginning of the column I’m left to assume Ms. Roberts’s is going to lay out for me a pattern of neglect at Mr. Rodriguez’s properties. She describes a scene of neglect at one property and follows up with powerful quotes from one tenant. By the time she tells me that Mr. Rodriguez owns “at least” 16 properties nationwide, I’m expecting the same story a few more times and across the country.
    Instead, she slides this beauty of a sentence (that’s right, one sentence) past the reader: “A-Rod isn’t exactly a slumlord — some renters interviewed at his other properties had milder complaints — but he has become a landlord caricature among dwellers who hold him accountable for, say, the stack of molding mattresses by the dumpster at Newport Villas on MacDill Avenue.”
    What!? So we’ve got leaky faucets, an old appliance, a creaky railing, and pile of mattress at one of “at least” *16* properties. What were the “milder” complaints at the other properties – a clogged toilet and a crack in the sidewalk?
    Worse, after it seems that Ms. Roberts couldn’t prove, or even support, her original story, she launches into an “analysis” of Mr. Rodriguez’s charity work. After dubious comparisons to other athletes, and quickly dispensing with a $4 million university gift, Ms. Roberts is right back on target with slaps here, grandstanding there, and moralizing everywhere. By the end of this wayward piece I’m left with a convoluted impression that Mr. Rodriguez is a slum lord and cheapskate, even as the facts suggest otherwise.
    This piece belongs in the NY Post, if not the trash, and you should be ashamed you allowed it in print or on the internet. It’s a hatchet job masked as a “report”. I expect much, much better from the NY Times.

    Rob YF December 7, 2007, 5:53 pm
  • BTW: Long time lurker, first time poster. Thanks for the fun site.

    Rob YF December 7, 2007, 5:54 pm
  • A few thoughts:
    I agree the article doesn’t seem to really get into how sketchy some of the ramifications of this are (in terms of the foundation). I think that they very specifically attack A Rod as opposed ALL landlords…or the many many landlords who show very little interest in the people actually living on their properties.
    However, if A Rod gets to be crucified who cares? If he isn’t smart enough to understad the ramifications of spending millions of dollars and effecting peoples’ lives…then fuck him.

    walein December 7, 2007, 6:08 pm
  • That being said. Honestly…what did you expect from Rodriguez? Have you ever looked into the history of sports team owners’ land-holding and hiring/firing practices? It’s all about the bottom line.

    walein December 7, 2007, 6:11 pm
  • Hey Rob-YF, I saw your (edited-down) letter-to-the-editor in the NYT today (sun) – congratulations. The only other letter on the subject also bashed the Times for the story.

    IronHorse (yf) December 9, 2007, 4:09 pm

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