Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Know the Banker who Gave Away $60 million. He's a Mensch!

Leonard Abess, the Miami banker who gave away $60 million to employees, has been a boldface name in my stories over the the years. As a Miami-based beat reporter in the banking and finance sector, I have had several opportunities to interview Abess.

Last year, Abess sold a large stake in his family's bank (a well-run institution), for a ton of money. Abess recently shared some of the profits from that sale with employees and even former employees. As a result, some long-time employees received a surprise six-figure bonus from Abess.

It's traditional for reporters to remain objective about the subjects on which we write. And I've kept an objective distance from Abess as I've covered his bank. But I will say that I've often been impressed with his business ethics and his commitment to social causes. He's a mensch, and he's an organic gardener. Kudos to the employees at City National Bank of Florida. Kudos to the Abess Family!

I wrote this story last year for Florida Trend magazine about Leonard Abess:


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