By Howard M. Riell
It isn’t easy being a billionaire. At least not for the rejected WeWork CEO Adam Neumann.
According to published reports, he was searching for a $50 million flat on Fifth Avenue before his firm’s failed initial public offering. Now, a number of co-op boards have said no to him. And he’s apparently acting weird.
According to the New York Post’s Page Six, no fewer than a trio of co-op boards — 950 and 960 Fifth Ave. are said to be two of them – have said he was not welcome.
“Neumann has hired multiple brokers in the past and most recently unleashed WeWork’s former head of commercial real estate Mark Lapidus on the search. The insider said, “Neumann wanted the gilded life on Fifth Avenue … But the brokers put in discreet calls to members of the co-op boards, and they all said no.” According to the source, Lapidus even said to one agent, “Adam Neumann is going to be the first trillionaire of all time — any building would want him,” the Post reported.
Neumann is said to be working with JPMorgan, UBS, and Credit Suisse “to consider new terms for a $500 million loan that he took out before WeWork filed to go public, and from which Neumann has already drawn down $380 million,” said techcrunch.com. “Since he can no longer pay the loan with proceeds from selling WeWork shares publicly (it yanked its S-1 filing earlier this week), he may have to put up some of his properties or other assets as collateral for the loan, according to one of BI’s sources. “No terms have been set,” a spokeswoman for Neumann tells the outlet. Per earlier reports, Neumann has plenty to offload if it comes to it, having acquired numerous residential and commercial properties over the years.”
Neumann’s investments include “a $10.5 million Greenwich Village townhouse; a farm in Westchester, New York; a home in the Hamptons where he reportedly weathered the storm with his family ahead of resigning as CEO last week; and a $21 million, 13,000-square-foot house in the Bay Area with a guitar-shaped room,” techcrunch.com added.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Neumann has also purchased commercial properties through investor groups that he had leased back, in some cases, to WeWork.
Questions will linger. The story of WeWork is, according to vice.com, “a cautionary tale of epic proportions. It’s a fiasco of corporate failures, a CEO doing whatever he wanted despite obvious conflicts of interest, and cashing out before his co-working empire came crashing down.”