Hedge Fund Billionaire Leon Cooperman Is Giving Most of It Away

Leon CoopermanHedge fund mogul Leon Cooperman, who ranked this year at 655 on Forbes World's Billionaires list and at 269 on Forbes 400 Richest American list with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, told CNBC on Tuesday he's donating most of his fortune to charity to help needy people get out of poverty. Following the recent fiasco with the IRS over his last big donation, here's hoping this time he got decent advice from his accountant.

Cooperman, of Short Hills, N.J., grew up in the South Bronx section of New York City. His father was a plumber. He was able to get an MBA and go to work for Goldman Sachs where he remained for a quarter of a century. Since his retirement from the Wall Street firm in 1991, he's been chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, a $3.5 billion hedge fund based in New York City.

Victim of Bad Advice?

Cooperman says his story is the American dream. Now he wants now to donate most of his fortune to "those that are disadvantaged to experience the American dream." Cooperman follows in the footsteps Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. He was asked to donate half his fortune to the Gates foundation, but he says he'll donate every dollar he makes to the nonprofit sector, wanting to give back to the system.

Despite his obvious market savvy, Cooperman claimed even he got bad advice. As Forbes tells it, the IRS disallowed his deductions for $43 million in contributions he made to his own family's private foundation and sent him a bill for $14 million in back taxes and $5 million in accuracy-related penalties.

While the 67-year-old now concedes that federal law specifically prohibits such deductions of nonpublicly traded securities to a private foundation, he filed a U.S. Tax Court lawsuit in July, blaming bad counsel from his tax advisers. This time his counsel better be accurate.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

72 Comments

Filter by:
haydenj4092

need tips on investment to help my self

October 09 2010 at 7:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
puppetcongress

Its amazing how much our nation has changed, We went from the most industrilized and productive nation on earth. To a bunch of money changers. AOL had a story a month ago, Half of all the Super wealth on Hawaii, are BANKERS, Says it all.

October 06 2010 at 6:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
garythegreat

Help me make it through the night!

October 06 2010 at 5:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lou

Donation for Ambassadors of Frienship, Non-profit Oranization. My story is below this comment. Please donate, make a change, make a difference. Make a "Gift of Need" email: seamywork@aol.com through www.paypal.com Thank you

October 06 2010 at 1:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lou

We live in the lowest paying city in our nation. I don't have a job and have a sick husband and son to take care of. Your donations would help us out a lot. To help us pay for rent,bills and food. If you can donate, not asking for much, just a penny from you and anybody that would like to give a penny. City: Brownsville, Texas by the Land and The Sea. Email: seamywork@aol.com via PayPal I just started doing volunteer work at a faily new non-profit organization. We did the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony this Monday October 4, 2010. We are dedicated to helping the needy elderly of our community in the city of Brownsville, Texas 65yrs old and/or selected few who are not over the age of 65, but my present a need and have been approved by our organization. We will try to work closely with adult daycares, nursing homes and provider services as well as individual applicants. Elders that have been left behind by relatives, or don't have any relatives to look after them. Donations are being accepted. At this time we are focusing on winter related items and/ or monetary donations to help purchase items that we want to provide the needy with. Together we can bring a smile to the less fortunate, concentrating on the elderly, needy of our community. We want to show them that they are not alone, we are here to help them,in anyway we can, but we cannot do it alone. We need your help. We want to make them feel that there is still someone out there that cares for them and they are not alone. We need your donations. Please send a "Gift of Need" to Name of Organization: Ambassadors of Friendship Non-profit Organization email for donations : seamywork@aol.com Thank you, God Bless You All

October 06 2010 at 1:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yeomanclass1

i need a new set of teeth

October 06 2010 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sarah56123

Well anyway I hope someone uses my suggestion, I know there's alot of suffering and trauma going on, this is what happens when you have monsters in your midst. They don't like to claim responsibility for that. We all know there's been plenty of irresponsible selfish materialistic behavior too going on and there's nothing to feel sorry for for that.

October 06 2010 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sarah56123

If any such person is truly serious about helping other people, they need to set up a website and have people write in their requests and stories and then it has to be researched to find out if they're true. The money will go directly to them. The cost of it would be part of the charity (plus he'd be employing some people). I'm not sure how you would deal with the overflow of requests; but it would keep staff very busy and provide employment. I guess they'd have to use their own strategies to weed alot out of it, like have them answer some determinant questions first; but also open a freeplay category. If he doesn't donate to them, wow, anyone can go on there and donate to who they want to!

October 05 2010 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sarah56123

Dream on, people!

October 05 2010 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
birdrescueron

We operate a non profit animal shelter with over 800 animals here now and growing every day, about 50 grand would help us build more space to handle the new guys arriving daily

October 05 2010 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply