Friday, December 7, 2007

Alex Rodriguez = Tight Wad and Slumlord?

Picture 159

We all know Alex Rodriguez is a good ballplayer and can flat out rake; however in today's New York Times, he's seen as nothing more than your typical landlord and nothing more than "cheap" when it comes to his real estate and charitable endevaors.

Not good for a who's image as an athlete is so well crafted, yet whose veneer is so thin.

The veneer of Alex Rodriguez’s real estate empire of working-class housing is staged to disguise his inner Mr. Potter...

The paint is camouflage for the mottled backside of the complex, where an exhausted appliance sits on a porch, cardboard is taped over broken window panes and missing spindles give rickety banisters the look of a snaggletooth smile.

Some residents here tell tales of roaches overtaking kitchen cabinets in a bumper-to-bumper crawl to the corn flakes, of carpets stained in the 1990s and quick-trigger evictions.

For a man worth well over $300 million and counting, this is shocking.

An examination of his high-rolling corporate side, as well as a glossy A-Rod Family Foundation short on largess, reveals a portrait of Rodriguez as a player about to enter Yankee Take II solely for business purposes, primarily as a branding tool. He emerges as an obsessive pursuer of cold, hard numbers on and off the bases, with serially disingenuous nods to his ever-challenged image.

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...

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.

Again, I guess the way A-Rod is portrayed is how the rich stay rich.

Money is A-Rod’s identity, engraving his social standing, with Warren E. Buffett on his I.M. buddy list. As any Buffett-phile knows, philanthropy stats are valued, too.

But A-Rod is a star constantly locked in a contradiction of conscience as evidenced by his charity. The homey surface of the AROD Family Foundation’s Web site, which promotes a slogan of helping “families in distress,” belies its cap on generosity.

Rodriguez has earned nearly $200 million over the past decade, but, according to 990 tax records dating to 1998, he is a cheap tipper to his foundation.

In eight years of available documents, donations averaged $30,000 a year and gifts distributed to the community averaged $13,000 a year. In 2002, A-Rod did not contribute more than $5,500. In 2006, the foundation did not give away more than $5,090 despite a fund-raiser that collected $368,000.

This is all disturbing -- he's closer to a nicer looking male version of Leona Helmsley than a superstar everyone should like.

Is Alex being picked on by the media? Maybe; however, as a man who is worth as much as he is, ther's no excuse for the way he's handled his properties and charitable causes.

Maybe he's not running it all, or perhaps he needs to hire new financial and property representatives, but this is one more chink in his armor.

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