Sunday, August 07, 2005:
Two-and-a-half years ago, California real estate investor Judah Hertz
was little known in New Orleans circles. Today, after a 36-month
buying spree, he controls more of the city's top office space than anyone else
does. Hertz has spent about $155 million -- including at least $38 million of
his own money -- acquiring four trophy office towers downtown. [...]
In the process, Hertz has done something unprecedented. In the 25-year
history of the modern New Orleans Class A office market, no single owner has
controlled 25 percent of the city's top office building market. The achievement
is probably rare across the nation.[...]
"I think a lot of people are scratching their heads," said Steve
Riesig of SRSA Commercial Real Estate in Metairie. "It's very uncharacteristic
for any institution or private capital to acquire that much in any one market
For Hertz, it's not uncharacteristic. It's part of his investment strategy.
Hertz invests in cities that aren't considered hot spots by big investors. He
looks for areas where the values on office buildings are depressed. And he's
finding lots of opportunity in New Orleans.
"I'm a contrarian investor," Hertz said.
In Nevada, gambling regulators rejected his application to buy three
Reno casinos in 2000 because of his "reputed mob ties."[...]
Th most damning association was with an Israeli immigrant Hertz had a minor
real estate investment with in Los Angeles during the late 1980s. The Israeli
man was later indicted in a large Ectasy smuggling import ring by federal authorities.
One way or the other, Judah Hertz appears here to stay for some time. And the
real estate community, amazed, dazed and confused by Hertz's interest in the
Big Easy, has a new major landlord.
Angeles Times 12-22-00:
Judah Hertz, owner of the California Mart and several other major downtown
Los Angeles properties, lost a bid Wednesday for a Nevada gaming license as
a result of alleged ties to reputed mobsters involved in drug dealing and prostitution.
Hertz "obviously is unsuitable for licensure with the state of Nevada
and has no business here," said state Gaming Commission Chairman Brian
Sandoval as the commission voted 4 to 0 against Hertz's application.
The Nevada gaming control board said Hertz had dealings with reputed organized
crime figures including Jacob Orgad, an Israeli immigrant and accused international
drug smuggler. The board said Orgad allegedly distributed cocaine for the Gambino
and Escobar crime families, supplied cocaine and recruited women for notorious
Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss and has been linked to the illegal distribution
of methylene dioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, also called Ecstasy.
Control Board documents also state Hertz got some of the money for his Reno
ventures from an uncle of Hai Waknine and Assaf Waknine, alleged enforcers for
Orgad and members of the Bachsihan crime organization involved in ecstasy dealing.
List of Hertz properties