Well hello to all my fellow fans! How are you doing? It has been quite some time since I've done a FanPost, and my commenting has dwindled over the past few months. I've just been so busy with school and a new website that I just haven't had quite as much time as I would like to read and comment on my favorite sites, among which ILWT holds a special place.
So, considering my limited time, why am I now writing a FanPost? Well, yesterday ILWT user DrWho720 submitted a little FanPost about the current financial situation of the team (we're all familiar with it, so I will spare us a rehashing) and the lack of news regarding it. This FanPost and the discussion it sparked reminded me of what probably amounts to hundreds of comments over the last few months about Jeff Vanderbeek's (who, for the sake of brevity, will be referred to as "JVB" from now on) financial situation, and the assumptions and/or supposed certainties many have expressed over it. I will now present to you my opinion about JVB's finances.
First, I would like to make a disclaimer: I do not know JVB or his finances personally, and I assume all of us are in that same boat. What you are about to read is pure opinion based on the information we, as Devils fans and members of the public, have available through media and other such sources. It is also based on some of the limited knowledge I have regarding how very wealthy people like JVB invest their money. All in all, what I'm saying is that, while there may be facts interspersed throughout this post to support my opinion, my conclusions are ultimately my own. Now that this disclaimer is out of the way, hop over the jump with me and we will read and comment on JVB's finances together! Hooray!
So, let's start with a clear thesis: JVB is likely not broke or bankrupt. He may have lost a good chunk of change with the Devils, but he is nowhere close to broke. First, extremely rich people like him diversify. Don't think for a second that stock in Lehman Brothers was all he had, and that all his cash just sat in bank accounts, doing nothing. I'm sure he made and continues to make many investments that yield quite large returns. Let's also not forget that having millions in bank accounts with fair interest rates yields what is essentially a yearly salary for doing nothing but having your money in a bank. And that interest "salary" could be more than you, my dear reader, earn over much of your career.
Moreover, while at Lehman Brothers, JVB was paid a ridiculous amount of money, and not just in stock. Surely nobody thinks that he didn't make several million dollars in salary and bonuses every year he was there, at least once they became established as one of the biggest dogs in the Wall Street pack. JVB's compensation in 2002 alone was $29 million. Granted, I have no idea how much of that was from stock options, but he at least received a few million in salary and bonuses. He must have been paid quite a lot in salary and bonuses over the years, right? Right! According to a Lehman's SEC filing from 3/1/2002, JVB made $15,750,000 in just salary and bonuses in the three years between 1999 and 2001.
Not only did JVB have enough money to purchase enough of the team to be the main owner; he also had enough to have the trust of the other investors and the NHL brass, as well as his own confidence that investing an enormous sum in a team that was consistently losing money and was $70 million in debt would not have a terribly negative impact on his finances. So, when JVB made the purchase to become the controlling member, the Devils were drowning in debt, losing money, and had very poor attendance.
JVB probably thought that he could buy a team he always loved, have a new toy to play with, and probably make a little money or, at the very least, not lose any. He was wrong. But is he broke or bankrupt? Probably not...especially with a house like this.
On an unrelated note...In the comments section of Tom Stivali's recent article on Mattias Tedenby, some commenters expressed interest in reading a Fanpost about my various brushes with NHL greatness. I still plan on doing that. Unfortunately, that post will take a bit longer, so I can't say exactly when I will get around to it. What I can promise is that it will be posted before this coming semester.
I hope you enjoyed this FanPost! What do you think about this subject? Do you agree, or disagree? Do you have some facts that I left out? Perhaps you have some information that will reveal more about the situation? Or maybe you just want to express to everyone how sexy and wonderful you think I am. Well, whatever it is you have to say, please sound off below!