The Kennedy Legacy

Not just politics as usual

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How The $1 Billion Kennedy Family Fortune Defies Death And Taxes

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If America had an aristocracy, the most titled bloodline would certainly be the Kennedys. In the past half century, one Kennedy after another has occupied nearly every political position America has to offer, including the roles of congressman, senator, ambassador, mayor, SEC chairman, state representative, city councilman, and, of course, President.

The sustaining force behind the Kennedys reign is hardly a secret. Thanks to Joseph P. Kennedy, who made a fortune from insider trading only to later chair the SEC, the family is fabulously rich. But exactly how much is America’s first family worth? Forbespegs the extended family’s fortune at $1 billion.

Protected by a labyrinth of trusts, as well as tax strategies that would make Joseph P. Kennedy proud, the Kennedy fortune now spans approximately 30 family members, and includes the surnames Shriver, Lawford and the Smith. At nearly $175 million as of 2013, Caroline Kennedy is the richest descendant by far, but more modestly endowed relatives, such as Robert Shriver, who is running for Los Angeles County Supervisor, still possess assets in the tens of millions, according to public financial disclosures required of government officials.  

The bulk of the family’s wealth is held in dozens of trusts, which range in value from tens of thousands to as much as $25 million. Nearly all are managed by Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, a family office located in New York City with assets dating back to 1927, according to Christopher Kennedy, a member of the Kennedy family who sits on the office’s board.

Unlike the office’s heyday under JFK’s confidant Stephen Smith, when “there was actually stock picking going on inside the office walls,” the task of investing the family trusts today is handled by outside organizations, Kennedy said. While the family has a final say in where the assets are allocated, day-to-day oversight has been tasked to an advisory board of six experts, including Andy Golden, who manages Princeton University’s endowment.

Joseph P. Kennedy’s choice to place his fortune in trusts is possibly the single most critical reason why the family wealth is still around today. The most obvious benefit was to protect the fortune from the prying fingers of ne’er-do-well heirs, said Laurence Leamer, who wrote three Kennedy biographies. Trusts often prevent beneficiaries from tapping more than 10 percent of principal, said Rick Kruse, principal at Kruse and Crawford, which offers estate management advice.

The trusts also protect the family assets from another set of prying fingers: Uncle Sam’s. By holding assets in so called “dynasty trusts,” which are passed from heir to heir for decades, if not longer, the Kennedy family fortune is largely insulated from the estate tax, Kruse said. Handled correctly, a dynasty trust could potentially maintain an un-taxable fortune indefinitely. The oldest Kennedy trust on record dates back to 1936.

Like politics, tax savvy seems to run in the Kennedy family. The most recent example is the 1998 sale of the family’s most valuable asset: the iconic Merchandise Mart, a towering retail space on the Chicago River that was once thought to be the largest building in the world. Thanks to a carefully crafted deal with Vornado Realty VNO +0.13%, the Kennedy family deferred – or possibly avoided completely – capital gains tax on nearly half the value of the sale.

The Kennedys did this using an obscure investment tool called an “operating partnership unit.” Similar to equity, partnership units offered the Kennedys an ownership stake in Vornado Realty, generating a robust stream of dividends. Of the $303 million the family pocketed from the sale, $116 million came in the form of this investment instrument, according to SEC filings.

This alone isn’t a bad deal, being that the Kennedy’s have collected as much as $170 million in dividends since 1998, according to Forbes. The secret sauce, however, is that accepting partnership units in lieu of cash defers capital gains tax, as well as taxes on historical depreciation, for as long as the units are not cashed out, said Tony McEahern, head of wealth planning for Wells Fargo WFC -0.11 % Private Bank. In fact, if the partnership units were placed into trusts, capital gains taxes could potentially be deferred forever.

“This is definitely a tax-advantaged strategy,” said Rich Moore, managing director of equity research at RBC Capital Markets.

Christopher Kennedy declined to comment on how the sale’s proceeds were handled. However, public documents reveal that Caroline Kennedy, Robert Shriver, and Maria Shriver each collect income from assets dubbed Vornado Realty Trust and Vornado Realty Inc., which are valued at up to $7.5 million.

“We are a very public family with a very private investment philosophy,” Kennedy said.

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Dad and Mother never fought. My niece Caroline Kennedy tells of asking Mother once,
"Did you and Grampa ever fight?"
Mother said, “Oh no, dear. No, Grampa and I never fought.”
Caroline said, “Well, how did you handle your differences?”
Mother replied, “I would always just say, ‘Yes dear,’ and then I’d go to Paris.”
-Edward M. Kennedy, True Compass

Dad and Mother never fought. My niece Caroline Kennedy tells of asking Mother once,

"Did you and Grampa ever fight?"

Mother said, “Oh no, dear. No, Grampa and I never fought.”

Caroline said, “Well, how did you handle your differences?”

Mother replied, “I would always just say, ‘Yes dear,’ and then I’d go to Paris.”

-Edward M. Kennedy, True Compass

(Source: thosekennedys)

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RFK Jr will be deposed in bitter divorce battle by the husband of his ‘mistress’ - in the same week he plans to wed Cheryl Hines

Robert F Kennedy Junior is set to be deposed by the estranged husband of his alleged mistress Chelsea Kirwan - just days before he marries actress Cheryl Hines.

The twice-married, father-of-two, will marry the Curbed Your Enthusiasm star over the weekend of July 25, sources say.

However, just days before, he may be called to court in Connecticut on July 22 by plastic surgeon Laurence Kirwan, who is embroiled in a bitter divorce battle with his wife - and is trying to negotiate more time to see his three children with her.

At the very least, the exact nature of Chelsea’s relationship with Bobby will come out in court when Prof Kirwan will appeal to try and modify the protection order currently in place over his visitation rights with his three children with Chelsea.

MailOnline last week revealed that Cheryl, 48, plans to marry Bobby, 60, despite allegations that he cheated on her for two years with mom-of-four Chelsea, 42.

Sources confirm the wedding is ‘imminent’ and that the ceremony will be held at the Kennedys compound on Hyannis Port, Mass.

Close friends and family, including Bobby’s mother Ethel Kennedy, 86, will be in attendance.

Cheryl stood by Bobby last week as the allegations surfaced, accompanying the environmental lawyer to Cuba, tweeting: ‘Just met w Fidel Castro re importance of protecting Cuba’s reef system.’

Breaking her silence, Chelsea - who is believed to have met Bobby at a gym in Armonk, New York - has tried to warn Cheryl of going ahead with the wedding, calling it a ‘recipe for disaster’.

As MailOnline told Chelsea and Bobby were pictured together at an event in Seattle in April 2013, where Bobby feted mountaineer Jim Whittaker. And she is believed to have accompanied him around the country.

A source close to Prof Kirwan, 62, told MailOnline last week that the high-profile surgeon knew of her close friendship with Bobby, saying: ‘He was well aware that his wife and Bobby had a friendship before their split and that they have had ongoing telephone calls.’

It is believed a friendship started well before the Kirwans separated on July 4, 2012 - and a source reveals how Chelsea’s cell phone records show she was speaking to RFK Jr five times a day in August 2012.

RFK Jr began dating Cheryl in 2012, months before his estranged wife, Mary Richardson, tragically committed suicide in May 2012 at their Mount Kisco, New York home aged just 52.

And asked about their relationship, Cheryl said recently: ‘We share the same values. Family first. We like to have a good time and work hard. It’s fun to have a partner…It’s a good match-up.’

(Source: Daily Mail)

Filed under RFK Jr Bobby Kennedy Jr

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Caroline Kennedy: Thoughts on Father’s Day

A few days before I was born, NBC News interviewed my father, then-Senator John F. Kennedy. Reflecting the typical mindset of 1950s America, the interviewer asked my father, “If you were to have a son, would you encourage a political career for him?” Exhibiting the visionary spirit that would soon inspire the world in so many ways, my father answered, “Yes, and I hope if I had a daughter I might encourage her to play some part. I don’t think this should be confined to men only.”

In Japan, “womenomics” is the talk of the nation. Much of the discourse has focused on the needs and potential contributions of working mothers, but Father’s Day weekend is an appropriate time to celebrate fathers and remind ourselves that work-life balance isn’t just a women’s issue.

In his book Fatherneed, Yale University child psychologist Kyle Pruett notes that children whose fathers are deeply involved in their lives do better in school. Toddlers with involved fathers are better prepared to handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling than children whose fathers are less involved. And young men need dads who are present as they embark on their own life’s journey.

In other words, society benefits in tangible ways when fathers have the time to invest in the lives of their children.

And society benefits in other ways, too. When men are more involved at home, women are able to go back to school, or start a business. If a woman knows that her husband can help take care of their sick child, or fix dinner for the kids, she can seek out career opportunities. If Japanese women participate more actively in the economy, GDP will rise, benefitting everyone in Japan, including the employers of the men who may need to take time off once in a while to take care of their children.

When my father was interviewed back in 1957, he was already thinking about the society of the future built on equality and opportunity for all citizens: men and women, black and white. Many of the men who have had a major positive influence on the role of women have had daughters, and I don’t think it was an accident. When a man asks, “How would I want a boss to treat my daughter?” or “How would I want a co-worker to behave toward my mother?” or “Won’t my grandchildren be better off if their father is able to spend more time with them?” we all win.

Happy Father’s Day. Enjoy your day.

(Source: The Huffington Post)

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Patrick Kennedy Working On Memoir About Addiction, Mental Illness

NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy is working on a book about his struggles with addiction and mental illness, to be published next year.

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Penguin Random House imprint Blue Rider Press announced Monday the book will be called “A Common Struggle.”

The 46-year-old Kennedy served eight terms in Congress as a Democrat from Rhode Island before stepping down in 2011. He’s the son of the late Edward Kennedy, the longtime senator from Massachusetts.

Patrick Kennedy had previously signed with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a memoir about addiction but called it off in 2011, saying he was too busy. Blue Rider spokeswoman Aileen Boyle says the new book is “very different,” citing Kennedy’s three years of sobriety and recent work on mental health initiatives.

(Source: The Huffington Post)

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LIFE With JFK: Classic Portraits of a Political Superstar, 1947-1963

Not many public figures from the middle part of the 20th century are as closely identified with LIFE magazine as John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 
In fact, from his days as a decorated war hero in the late 1940s, through his years as a senator, into the White House and up until the very moment of his assassination, LIFE photographers spent an enormous amount of time (and film) on the ambitious Democrat from Massachusetts.

That he married a woman as magnetic and stylish as the former  Jacqueline Bouvier only further guaranteed that the two young cultural and political icons would never be absent from the weekly’s pages for long.

Here, LIFE.com features a series of photographs — many of which are classics, several of which never ran in LIFE — made during the decade and a half when John Kennedy was on his way to becoming, for a time, the most powerful person on earth.

(Source: TIME)

Filed under JFK John F. Kennedy Kennedy

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Bobby Kennedy Jr, Cheryl Hines to marry in Hyannis Port

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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will marry “Curb Your Enthusiasm” actress Cheryl Hines this summer during the family’s annual reunion in Hyannis Port, sources confirmed to Page Six.

The couple, who have been dating for two years, are planning a ceremony at the Kennedy compound with close friends and family invited, including mom Ethel Kennedy. 

This will be the second marriage for Hines, 48, who has a 9-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Kennedy, 60, will make his third trip down the aisle: He was previously wed to first wife Emily Ruth Black, with whom he had two children. He also has four children with his second wife, Mary Richardson, who committed suicide in 2012.

Kennedy, an environmental lawyer, revealed their engagement at the end of April at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix, Ariz.

Hines, who we’re told gets on famously with his children, recently said of Bobby, “We share the same values. Family first. We like to have a good time and work hard.” She added, “It’s fun to have a partner . . . It’s a good match-up.”

(Source: pagesix.com)

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Memorial Day 1962, John F. Kennedy took Caroline along to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington. Pointing to a mansion overlooking the site, Caroline asked her father the name of the person who lived in it.
"His name is Robert E. Lee," said Kennedy. "He was a famous Confederate general in the Civil War."
"It’s beautiful," said Caroline, referring to the mansion.
"It is," agreed JFK. "And so is this cemetery. It’s very tranquil, almost restful… You know, Buttons, I think I could linger here forever."

Memorial Day 1962, John F. Kennedy took Caroline along to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington. Pointing to a mansion overlooking the site, Caroline asked her father the name of the person who lived in it.

"His name is Robert E. Lee," said Kennedy. "He was a famous Confederate general in the Civil War."

"It’s beautiful," said Caroline, referring to the mansion.

"It is," agreed JFK. "And so is this cemetery. It’s very tranquil, almost restful… You know, Buttons, I think I could linger here forever."

(Source: politicspoetry, via politicspoetry)

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New York Times bestselling author Christopher Andersen delivers another dramatic installment in the lives of the Kennedys, including new details about JFK Jr., his relationship with his mother, his many girlfriends, and the night of his tragic death.At the heart of The Good Son (October 2014)is the most important relationship in JFK Jr.’s life: that with his mother, the beautiful and mysterious Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Andersen explores his reactions to his mother’s post-Dallas suicidal depression and growing dependence on prescription drugs (as well as men); how Jackie felt about the women in her son’s life, from Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker, to Daryl Hannah and Carolyn Bessette, to his turbulent marriage; the senseless plane crash the took his life; the aftermath of shock, loss, grief, and confusion; and much more. Offering new insights into the intense, tender, often stormy relationship between this iconic mother and son, The Good Sonis a riveting, bittersweet biography for lovers of all things Kennedy.

New York Times bestselling author Christopher Andersen delivers another dramatic installment in the lives of the Kennedys, including new details about JFK Jr., his relationship with his mother, his many girlfriends, and the night of his tragic death.

At the heart of The Good Son (October 2014)is the most important relationship in JFK Jr.’s life: that with his mother, the beautiful and mysterious Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Andersen explores his reactions to his mother’s post-Dallas suicidal depression and growing dependence on prescription drugs (as well as men); how Jackie felt about the women in her son’s life, from Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker, to Daryl Hannah and Carolyn Bessette, to his turbulent marriage; the senseless plane crash the took his life; the aftermath of shock, loss, grief, and confusion; and much more. Offering new insights into the intense, tender, often stormy relationship between this iconic mother and son, The Good Sonis a riveting, bittersweet biography for lovers of all things Kennedy.

Filed under JFK Jr Jackie Kennedy John F. Kennedy Jr Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis