The Homeless Billionaire by Ron Murdock

By Ron Murdock

When I think of the situation or events that lead a person to being homeless, it could be one or several.

Reasons could include bad decisions being made, not wanting to deal with government bureaucracy, unsafe or derelict housing or leaving an abusive relationship. I usually don’t think of a billionaire walking away from everything he has, and setting up camp on the streets.

Then there is the case of Nicolas Berggruen. In 2000 Berggruen sold his apartment on the 31st floor of the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, saying he “no longer wanted to be weighed down by physical possessions.” I’m surprised that Berggruen didn’t head to the tallest skyscraper in New York City, sit in a lotus postion and give out advice to those who ventured up to him.

Apparantly all what Berggruen took with him was his IPhone, some jeans, a couple of fancy suits and a few monogrammed shirts. Guess some people want to look good and impress others no matter what their status in life is. Plus, Berggruen kept his Gulfstream IV so he could stay in 5 star hotels as he travels throughout the world. True homelessness? My ass it is.

Still Berggruen maintains a full social calendar. When dining out with someone he calls “intriguing”, Berggruen makes reservations for three, even though only two will be there. All in the name of not getting stuck with a small table. Most homeless don’t have this kind of option of who they sit with, or the size of table they sit at. It’s been said that beggars can’t be choosers, but Berggruen has been photographed at parties with attractive women on his arm. I do hope he spares these women the pick up line of: “I’m homeless, can you take me home?”

So, if Berggruen is homeless, how can he afford to live lavishly? He is supposed to be the chairman of Berggruen Holdings, a New York based private facility firm that buys troubled companies and fixes them up. The company’s annual revenue is said to be around $5 billion, while Berggruen’s personal worth is estimated to be around $2.5 billion according to Forbes. At least Berggruen doesn’t have to worry about where he will be sleeping that night, or where he will be storing his gear.

What Berggruen accomplishes remains to be seen. It doesn’t look like he has anything to worry about. I’d rather see him set up a more permanent living situation. I know from personal experience, that not having a fixed address doesn’t provide much stability in a person’s life.

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