Richest BusinessWall Street
Net Worth:
$11 Billion
1951 (73 years old)
Businessperson, Financier
United States of America
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What is Leon Black's Net Worth?

Leon Black is an American entrepreneur, art collector and philanthropist who has a net worth of $11 billion. Leon Black earned his fortune as the co-founder of private equity behemoth Apollo Global Management which today has more than $500 billion in assets under management. He is an avid art collector and is the chairman of New York's Museum of Modern Art. In 2012 Leon paid $120 million for Edvard Munch's "The Scream." Leon is a trustee of Mt. Sinai Hospital and The Asia Society.

Epstein Associations and Allegations

In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein's death it was revealed that Leon Black associated with Epstein dating back to at least 1998. It was also revealed that between 2012 and 2017, after Epstein had been convicted of soliciting children for prostitution in Florida, Leon paid Epstein's company $158 million for tax and estate services. When his association and business dealings came to light, Black was forced to step down from Apollo Global, the company he co-founded in 1990.

It would also revealed that in January 2023 Black paid $62.5 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to be released from claims that may result from the island's investigation into Epstein's sex trafficking operations.

Early Life

Leon David Black was born on July 31, 1951. His father, Eli M. Black, was a prominent Jewish businessman who owned the United Brand Company, famous for owning Chiquita bananas. Tragically, Eli committed suicide in 1975 by jumping off the 44th floor of New York City's Pan Am Building. Leon was 24 years old at the time. It would later be revealed that Eli was under investigation for bribing Honduran government officials.

Leon earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmout and then an MBA from Harvard.

Drexel Burnham Lambert

In 1977 he began working for investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert Incorporated. Leon spent 13 years at Drexel, ultimately serving as Managing Director, Head of the Mergers & Acquisitions Group, and co-head of the Corporate Finance Department. At Drexel, Leon was a pioneer of the concept of the leveraged buyout using high-yield, "junk", debt. Leon was the right hand man of Drexel's senior executive Michael Milken.

Drexel was forced into bankruptcy in 1990 due to its involvement in illegal activities in the junk bond market, driven by Michael Milken.

The scandal began in 1986, when Ivan Boesky, a former Drexel client, was convicted of insider trading. Boesky implicated Milken and Drexel in his illegal financial dealings, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began investigating the firm.

In 1988, Drexel agreed to pay $650 million in fines to settle charges of securities fraud. Milken left the firm the same year, and he was later convicted of six counts of securities fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He served 22 months.

The scandal had a significant impact on the junk bond market, and it led to the bankruptcy of several other investment banks. It also shook public confidence in Wall Street, and it led to increased regulation of the securities industry.

Apollo Global Management

In the aftermath of Drexel's collapse, in 1990 Leon led several former colleagues to co-found Apollo Global Management. Like Drexel, Apollo would soon specialize in leveraged buyout transactions and purchases of distressed securities involving corporate restructuring, industry consolidations, and other unique financial situations.

His co-founders included Marc Rowan, Joshua Harris and Antony Ressler. All four co-founders would go on to become multi-billionaires. Today Apollo is one of the largest private equity firms in the world with more than $500 billion in assets under management.

In 2021 Leon stepped down as CEO of Apollo in the wake of revelations that between 2012 and 2017 he had paid disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein $158 million for tax and estate planning services. He was succeeded by Marc Rowan. It would later be shown that Epstein's advice allowed Leon to save $1.3 billion in taxes. As a result he pledged to donate $200 million to various women's charities.

Personal Life

One of Leon's Apollo co-founders is Los Angeles-based billionaire Antony Ressler. Antony's sister Debra is a theater producer. At one point, Debra and Leon began dating. They have been married for many years and have four children together. The exact date of their marriage is not publicly known. As an aside, Antony Ressler has been married to actress Jami Gertz since 1990.

Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for The Museum of Modern Art

Real Estate

Leon and Debra own an extremely impressive real estate portfolio. Their Manhattan townhouse is worth at least $50 million. Over in Southampton they own a beachfront home which cost the couple a humble $43 million.

In 2016, Leon and Debra spent $38 million to buy a Beverly Hills mansion. The seller? Tom Cruise. Leon and Debra's real estate agent in this transaction was none other than Sharyn Gertz… mother of sister-in-law Jami Gertz.

After Debra suffered from a scare of melanoma, in 2007 the couple made a $25 million donation to found the Melanoma Research Alliance. They eventually donated another $15 million to the foundation.

Art Collection

Perhaps not surprisingly (since he is the Chairman of MoMa) Leon and Debra own one of the most-valuable private art collections in the world. In 2012 they spent $120 million to acquire one of four original versions of Edvard Munch's The Scream. That purchase set the record for most-expensive art sale in history, up to that point. The Blacks own works by Raphael, Picasso and many many more.

In 2013 he paid just under $40 million or a chalk drawing done by Raphael.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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