Monday, November 17, 2008

The Grumpy Bitter Ex-Billionaire

Have you ever heard of Gaidamac? He's no Buffet, that's for sure. A man who suddenly appeared in the Israeli public with billions of dollars and a warrant for his arrest in France. A true mystery man but with a a real fetish for media attention and buying the public's favorite opinion.

Here's the truth about philanthropic people - they don't flash it. They don't wave back at you the fact that they helped you. Don't misunderstand me, I commend the good deeds this man did with his money, I was just always skeptic with the big media hoopla he was trying to make around it.

Gaidamac bought a soccer team, a true populist move, and spent millions on it - he still does. To what ends? To gain popularity with the simple men - the soccer fans. In contrast, Rubi Shapiro in the 90-s bought and financed the lagging and unpopular Hapoel Haifa, he spent his own millions on it until he went bankrupt and committed suicide. His family was horrified that he spent all their money on an unpopular soccer team. But he did so for the love of that team and the game, Gaidamac had more sinister motives.

In the most recent municipal election he hoped he had managed to buy enough favors from the public to have himself elected mayor of Jerusalem. He was wrong, he gained 3% of the vote. A true humiliation. To that add the fact that his business investments and loan contracts have backfired heavily. Banks are foreclosing on his properties. Gaidamac - a supposed successful businessman who was once homeless in Paris, according to his own words, just couldn't cope with how business is done in Israel.

Not only does he not understand the laws of the game in Israel, he does not understand the population. Jerusalem is an extremely complex array of demographic contrasts and political bases. He thought he could just buy himself a seat, buy himself mayorship and from thereon - buy himself a country. Jerusalem proved him naive. And now he's bitter.

The following is an English auto-translate from an interview in Maariv, the Israeli daily news paper.

Maariv: I don't give a crap about the fans, I'd block them from entering the soccer field.

... the only votes I got are from my employees...
... it's my team, screw everybody, screw the fans - I hope they fail and drop to minor leagues.

(goolge translate from Hebrew... not so great...)

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