Paul Singer is an American Venture Capitalist and owner of Elliott Management Corporation (EMC) with a net worth of $3.5 billion, according to Forbes. He was the target of a fiery segment on Tucker Carlson‘s show in which the host lambasted him and Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse for financially ruining the town of Sidney, Nebraska.
The segment on Carlson’s show centered around the sporting goods company Cabela’s and how Singer’s hedge fund made $90 million by acquiring the company then forcing the board to sell the company to Bass Pro Shops. After the sale, Sidney lost over 2,000 jobs and the small town was devastated.
“The residents of Sidney did not get rich. Oh no, just the opposite. Their community was devastated, destroyed,” Carlson said. “The town lost nearly 2,000 Jobs. A heart-breakingly familiar cascade began.”
“People left, property values collapsed, and then people couldn’t leave, they were trapped there. One of the last thriving small towns in this country went under. We recently sent two producers to Sidney, Nebraska, to survey the wreckage there and to consider what happened,” Carlson added. “Our producers talked to more than a dozen former Cabela’s employees, almost all of them refused to speak to us on camera, fearful of legal retribution from the famously vicious Paul Singer. But off camera, they told us their story. Here it is.”
Cabela’s was headquartered in Sidney and as the company grew, the town grew more prosperous. The company was making over $1 billion a year when Singer’s company, Elliott Management Corporation, acquired the company. Singer drove up the stock price of the company and then sold the company to Bass Pro Shops. His fund made nearly $100 million on the sale.
Carlson also attacked Republican Senator Ben Sasse who stood idly by while the town collapsed. “Ben Sasse is a U.S. senator who represents the state of Nebraska. Sidney, of course, is not large, but you might think about the death of a town in his state would be of concern to Ben Sasse, again, a U.S. Senator from Nebraska,” Carlson said. “But so far, it doesn’t seem like he has commented on what happened to Sidney.”
Singer is on the Forbes’400 list of richest Americans and is known for his ruthless business tactics and rapaciousness. He’s divorced with two sons, Andrew and Gordon, and currently lives in New York City’s Upper West Side.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Company Seized a Naval Training Vessel to Settle a Debt with Argentina
Paul Singer was involved in a 15-year public battle with the country of Argentina over repayment of bonds. Elliott Management bought $600 million worth of Argentine bonds for $100 million in 2000. The country experienced a severe economic depression shortly afterward, leaving them unable to repay the bonds. In 2003, Néstor Kirchner took power and told bondholders that their best hope of being repaid was to accept Argentina’s new terms, which 92% of bondholders did.
Singer held out and ended up suing the country in federal court in New York. Elliott Management went around the globe trying to find local courts that would grant orders for it to take possession of property as collateral for Argentina’s unpaid debts. They attempted to seize central bank reserves, its pension-fund assets, and a satellite launch slot in California to no avail.
Then in 2012, Elliott convinced a court in Ghana to let them seize a three-hundred-and-thirty-eight-foot Argentine Navy vessel, the Fragata Libertad, which had sixty-nine members of the Argentine Navy and a crew of two hundred and twenty on board.
The ship remained dock in Accra, Ghana with all soldiers on board while the fight continued in court. Kirchner left office after being investigated for corruption and the new government settled with Elliott, paying them $2.4 billion.
2. Paul Singer Donated Millions to the Republican Party
Singer is extremely adept at using his money and influence to shape public policy. He’s donated to Republican politicians including John McCain and Tom DeLay, backed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign for governor of California and Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential run. During Giuliani’s presidential run, he lent him his private jet and donated $170,000 to advance a ballot measure that would have changed the way Electoral College votes were distributed in California in a bid to help the former Mayor of New York.
He was one of the largest donors during the 2010 midterm elections, donating $4 million to Republican candidates. He was heavily involved in Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run as both a donor and a shaper of policy. During the 2016 election cycle, he contributed twenty-four million dollars to Republican candidates and gave $1 million dollars to Trump’s inauguration.
Initially, Singer backed Marco Rubio but later switched to Trump after he won the nomination. Trump invited Singer to the White House and mentioned him in a February 2017 press briefing. “Paul Singer has just left,” the President announced. “As you know, Paul was very much involved with the anti-Trump, or, as they say, ‘Never Trump.’ And Paul just left, and he’s given us his total support. And it’s all about unification.”
3. He Was Threatened by a German CEO During a Vicious Battle for Control of a Company
in 2016, Elliott Management invested in Arconic, a manufacturer of auto and aerospace components. Singer’s company wanted the CEO at the time, Klaus Kleinfeld, removed from his position for being an ineffective and wasteful spender.
According to the New Yorker, “Kleinfeld and others close to him alleged that Elliott had deployed private investigators to intimidate them. In January of 2017, at the height of the dispute over the company, Kleinfeld learned that two men claiming to work for the Berkeley Research Group had been knocking on his neighbors’ doors in Westchester County, New York. The investigators said that they were working on behalf of Arconic investors, and asked the neighbors such questions as whether Kleinfeld ever had loud parties.”
The investigations and attacks finally got to Kleinfeld, who retaliated by sending Singer a letter that vaguely threatened the Elliott Management CEO. Kleinfeld insinuated that he had embarrassing information on Singer’s actions during the 2006 World Cup which included him wearing a feathered headdress and belting out “singing in the rain” in a German fountain. The letter also included an Adidas soccer ball.
Elliott Management sent back a letter of their own to Arconic’s board. “While much of what it says doesn’t make sense, we do understand Dr. Kleinfeld to be making veiled suggestions that he might intimidate or extort Mr. Singer,” they wrote. “This is highly inappropriate behavior by anyone and certainly by the CEO of a regulated, publicly traded company, in the midst of a proxy contest, and it raises a number of obvious issues.”
Kleinfeld was eventually fired for the letter and the company reached a settlement with Elliott shortly after that gave the hedge fund most of what they wanted.
4. He’s Donated over $10 Million to the Gay Rights Movement
Singer has been an instrumental figure in the legalization of gay marriage and a champion of gay rights. His son Andrew is gay and was married to his partner in Massachusetts in 2009.
“Good and honorable men and women who do not hate gay people oppose gay marriage, and it would be foolish of us to pretend that such a large social change would not elicit some opposition,” Singer said at a 2010 fundraiser, “I believe that, a generation from now, gay marriage will be seen as a profoundly traditionalizing act.”
In 2012, Singer spent $1 million to start a Political Action Committee named American Unity PAC whose sole mission was to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage. In 2014, he urged Republican lawmakers to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that provided workplace protections for LGBT employees. He’s also used his connections and power to lobby and persuade Republican lawmakers to support gay marriage.
Singer has donated an estimated $10 million to gay rights causes.
5. He’s a Musician
In addition to his success as a hedge fund manager and venture capitalist, Singer is also an accomplished musician. According to a 2012 article from Forbes, he began studying classical piano at age 10 but later gravitated towards Rock n’ Roll. His favorite band is Led Zeppelin and he once played on stage alongside Meatloaf.