Subscribe to EIR Online
This article appears in the November 16, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Who's Who in `Mega'

by Scott Thompson

[PDF version of this article]

The following are brief biographical profiles of some of the leading known members of the "Mega" group; notable, is the pattern of alleged organized crime ties.

Charles Bronfman: On Feb. 19, 1999, Charles Bronfman was elected chairman of United Jewish Communities (UJC). This $4 billion cash cow subsumes 189 Jewish Federation contributors and 400 Jewish communities in North America. At a Nov. 9-13 UJC General Assembly in Washington, Bronfman will pass the chairmanship to James A. Tisch, son of Mega member Laurence Tisch.

Charles Bronfman had been co-chairman of Seagrams, until its merger with Vivendi. He is today chairman of Koor Industries Ltd., which is a high-tech holding company at the heart of the Israeli military-industrial complex. He is also chairman of Claridge-Israel, Inc., which took over Bank Hapolim, when the Israeli government privatized it. This deal was brokered by Ted Arison, an Israeli who, in the United States, built the Carnival Cruise Lines into a billion-dollar business. Arison got his financing to start Carnival from Meshulim Riklis, one of junk-bond manipulator Michael Milken's major clients, and a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Leslie Wexner: This co-founder of Mega is closely aligned with some of the top British-American-Commonwealth institutions. However, Wexner's main business is The Limited, Inc.—a holding company for such firms as Intimate Brands, Victoria's Secret, and Bath & Body Works—which he founded in 1963.

Wexner is a board member of Conrad Black's Hollinger International, Inc. and of Hollinger International Publishing Inc. Lady Margaret Thatcher is chairman of Hollinger's International Advisory Board, which also includes Henry Kissinger, William F. Buckley, and Richard Perle. Hollinger owns the leading Israeli English-language daily, the Jerusalem Post, which has become a mouthpiece for Sharon and the radical right.

Wexner is also on the board of the Aspen Institute, an important Anglo-American world federalist think-tank.

Leonard Abramson: Abramson was the founder of the murderous health maintenance organization, U.S. Healthcare. He sold it to Aetna Insurance for $990 million. Now, apart from a stake in Israel's Bank Hapolim, Abramson owns the Maine Merchant Bank in Portland, which is a $20 million non-deposit institution, whose ostensible purpose is to make high-risk, venture-capital investments.

Edgar Bronfman: Bronfman has been president of the WJC since 1981, and has been a director of the Anti-Defamation League for many years.

The Bronfman family fortune was built by the father of Edgar and Charles, Sam Bronfman, who during Prohibition merged his Distillers Corp. in Montreal with Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons, Ltd. to supply "bootleggers" with top brand booze, becoming what Israel Shamir (writing on Mega) called a "Mafia boss." Under the successor co-chairmanship of Charles and Edgar Bronfman, Seagrams took a 24% controlling interest in DuPont. But soon after Edgar's son, Edgar Bronfman, Jr., became CEO of Seagrams, he sold off the holding, purchasing Universal Pictures and the world's largest record distributor, Polygram Records. On June 19, 2001, the Bronfmans sold Seagrams to former Lazard Frères partner Jean-Marie Messier, owner of media and communications conglomerate Vivendi, for $34 billion.

Through Seagrams and the WJC, Edgar Bronfman was a top business collaborator of some of the most prominent figures in the former Soviet Union and East Germany. Just months before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of East Germany, Bronfman was given the highest civilian award by the East German Communist Party, for his efforts to salvage the communist state.

Max Fisher: In 1985 Max Fisher, a top adviser on Jewish affairs and Middle East policy to every Repubican President since Eisenhower, founded what is now known as the Republican Jewish Coalition, of which Fisher, 93, remains honorary chairman. A March 11, 1998 Jerusalem Post article reports that Fisher is looking for a replacement, and among those being considered are Mega co-founder Leslie Wexner, suspected Mega member Ronald S. Lauder, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Fisher amassed his fortune as a bagman for the "Purple Gang" that smuggled Sam Bronfman's booze from Canada into the speakeasies of the Midwest. Fisher made his "legitimate" fortune in the oil retail business, through Keystone Oil, Aurora Oil, and Marathon Oil. Fisher later became chairman of United Brands (a.k.a. United Fruit), a firm accused of major narcotics smuggling from South America.

Harvey M. Meyerhoff: Meyerhoff made his money in real estate in Baltimore, Maryland, and was one of the chief architects of the transition of that city from an industrial and port center into a tourist attraction. Its port has been transformed into an Aquarium and site for a Disney Museum that features a Harvey Meyerhoff Gallery.

Steven Spielberg: One of the newest known members of Mega is Hollywood billionaire Steven Spielberg, whose Dreamworks Studio has produced such films as Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg's Shoah (Hebrew for "Holocaust") has gathered a video archive of testimony from 50,000 Jewish Holocaust victims. Being late to Jewish Philanthropy, one wonders just how much Spielberg knows of the subject, as one Mega educational project for Jewish schools across the country teaches both Kabbala and Buddhist meditation.

Michael Steinhardt: Steinhardt made his fortune running a series of hedge funds. Steinhardt has been apparently dubbed the "public relations" man for Mega, as all other published interviews have been with him, although he did not return EIR's calls.

Steinhardt was chairman, for a decade, of the Democratic Leadership Council. He resigned from the organization in protest over President Bill Clinton's appointment of Lani Guinier to a top Justice Department post, and refused to support Clinton's reelection in 1996, even though Clinton had succeeded him as DLC chairman.

The hedge fund Steinhardt Partners was formed by Michael Steinhardt in 1967. He boasts that one dollar invested in his firm then would be worth $462 today. Like George Soros, Steinhardt's fund suddenly lost 29% of its value in 1996, during the onset of the global financial crisis. After recouping in part with a 20% return in 1997, he closed the firm, took the money, and ran.

Steinhardt is another offspring of the Prohibition-era "Jewish Syndicate" of National Crime Boss Meyer Lansky. His father, Sol Frank "Red" Steinhardt, was a bigtime gambler and convicted jewel fence, who worked with Meyer Lansky. "Red" Steinhardt was sent to Sing Sing on a five- to ten-year sentence, a fact that Michael kept off of his resume, in order to get his start on Wall Street with the "Our Crowd" firm, Loeb Rhodes. Like father, like son—Steinhardt Partners came under SEC and Justice Department scrutiny in the early 1990s, along with Salomon Brothers, for cornering the market in short-term U.S. Treasury bond sales. To avoid jail, Steinhardt settled the case with a $50 million fine.

Laurence Tisch: Called "The King of Cash," Tisch built his fortune one step at a time. On his return from World War II, where he served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, Laurence Tisch joined his family's small hotel business.

Tisch, with his brother Preston "Bob" Tisch, built a major hotel chain, forming the holding company Loews Corporation, that also included a chain of movie theaters. And, Loews acquired Lorillard Tobacco in 1960, which produced Kent cigarettes.

By the 1980s of the "Predator's Ball," Laurence Tisch worked with convicted inside-trader Michael Milken, who originated junk bonds, through which Tisch gained fame for his 1986 takeover of the Colombia Broadcasting System. In 1995, Tisch had to sell off CBS to Westinghouse.

Loews Corp. today also owns CNA Financial Corp., as well as having a controlling share in an offshore oil and gas drilling firm, Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc., and a controlling interest in Bulova Watch Company.

Back to top