The Kennedy Legacy

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These photographs by Mark Shaw, never used,  were taken during the Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961.  The President later commented that he had decided not to release them. ‘I looked too serious.’  It was a grim, tense day, but he brought none of this to the top floor of the White House.  Afterward he had lunch, a sandwich and fruit on a small tray.  He made no mention of the cause and reason for his quiet.

(Source: jfk-and-jackie, via jj-kennedy)

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John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy letters to be auctioned

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By Matt Viser

WASHINGTON — A 16-year-old Bobby Kennedy, with all four front teeth chipped from playing football, was planning to head home from Milton Academy for the weekend. Writing before the Kennedy family experienced a series of tragic deaths, there was a fatalistic side to his thoughts.

“I’m going home this weekend to see my brother Jack who is now going into PT boats,” Kennedy wrote to one of his friends, “so I’m getting out to see him because he might be killed any minute.”

The letter is part of two separate batches of newly revealed correspondence — one series written by Robert F. Kennedy, the other by John F. Kennedy — that are being made public for the first time and are set to be auctioned next month at the Omni Parker House in Boston. RR Auction said it has authenticated the letters using in-house experts and outside consultants.

The two collections reveal a family in the middle of World War II, just before two members were killed in airplane accidents, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. in 1944 and Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy in 1948

The letters from John F. Kennedy were sent to the family of Harold W. Marney, one of two crew members killed when the PT-109 boat that he commanded was destroyed by a Japanese ship. A 26-year-old Kennedy wrote condolences to a family whose son had died.

“This letter is to offer my deepest sympathy to you for the loss of your son,” he wrote shortly after the August 1943 accident. “I realize that there is nothing that I can say can make your sorrow less; particularly as I know him; and I know what a great loss he must be to you and your family.”

Marney had joined the boat a week earlier to serve as engineer, Kennedy wrote, and he did his job “with great cheerfulness — an invaluable quality out here.”

 “I am truly sorry that I cannot offer you hope that he survived that night,” he wrote. “You do have the consolation of knowing that your son died in the service of his country.”

Several months later, Kennedy wrote another letter, in response to one he had received from the Marneys asking for more information about their son. The telegram they received from the Navy said little more than that their son “is missing following action in the performance of his duty.”

Kennedy again wrote his condolences, and said that all the information he had was included in the previous letter. After the Japanese destroyer hit their ship, they never saw Marney again.

After the crew reunited on a floating bow, Kennedy wrote, “we could find no trace of him, although every effort was made to find him.”

Kennedy’s heroism during the accident, in which two were killed but all the others managed to get to land and were eventually rescued, later helped lay the foundation for his rise as a national politician.

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The Marney family also wrote Kennedy after his older brother, Joe, died in a plane crash. This time the roles were reversed as they offered condolences to him.

“Boys like Harold and my brother Joe can never be replaced,” Kennedy responded in a letter with a Hyannis Port letterhead and postmarked Sept. 1, 1944. “But there is some consolation in knowing that they were doing what they wanted to do — and were doing it well.”

The items being auctioned also include the telegram that the Marneys received informing them that their son was missing, as well as the Purple Heart he was awarded.

The 18 letters to be auctioned that Robert Kennedy wrote between 1941 and 1945 were to a close friend, Peter MacLellan, whom he befriended at the Portsmouth Priory School in Rhode Island. The batch also includes nine letters from Robert’s sister Jean, whom MacLellan dated at one point.

They show Bobby as an adolescent, discussing sports, school, and girls as he mourns that he seemed to lack the charming ways of his brother.

“I am now chasing women madly but it looks as if I lack the Kennedy charm as I have yet to find a girl who likes me but then I don’t quit easily so I’m still in there struggling,” Robert Kennedy wrote to MacLellan in a letter postmarked July 3, 1944. “How’s that love life of yours?”

Kennedy showed a jovial side and a fair amount of teenage braggadocio. He signed one letter, “from your mental & physical superior and your better in football, hockey and baseball, Robert Francis Kennedy.” In another he noted, “I’m still healthy, strong . . . and good looking as ever.”

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But Kennedy also lacked some of the athletic prowess that his family was known for.

“Baseball has started and I decided to go out for it and of course got cut but I expected it so it doesn’t much matter,” he wrote in a letter postmarked March 13, 1943.

At another point, he refers to his younger brother, Teddy, and his football abilities.

“Football is going stinky due to the fact there’s a guy on 2nd team ahead of me who can play ball as well as Teddy my brother and the coach thinks he’s better than me. I guess no one appreciates my true qualities . . . The whole thing can go to Hell.”

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Filed under John F. Kennedy Jack Kennedy JFK Robert F. Kennedy Bobby Kennedy RFK Kennedy

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In 2002, Max Kennedy, one of the sons of Kennedy’s brother Robert, traveled to the Solomons with the National Geographic expedition to meet the islanders whose courage he had heard about since childhood. In an emotional high point in the film, Kumana sobs as the younger Kennedy embraces him.
Max Kennedy presented Kumana and Gasa with gifts, including a letter from another brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who wrote that President Kennedy “never forgot you.”
"Both of them were extraordinarily charismatic men," Max Kennedy said this week about Kumana and Gasa, who died in 2005.He described the day he spent with Kumana as full of laughter."He was very, very funny and had a great sense of irony, which I think President Kennedy also had," Max Kennedy said. "He was wearing a T-shirt that is very popular in the Solomon Islands. It read ‘I Rescued JFK.’"

In 2002, Max Kennedy, one of the sons of Kennedy’s brother Robert, traveled to the Solomons with the National Geographic expedition to meet the islanders whose courage he had heard about since childhood. In an emotional high point in the film, Kumana sobs as the younger Kennedy embraces him.

Max Kennedy presented Kumana and Gasa with gifts, including a letter from another brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who wrote that President Kennedy “never forgot you.”

"Both of them were extraordinarily charismatic men," Max Kennedy said this week about Kumana and Gasa, who died in 2005.

He described the day he spent with Kumana as full of laughter.

"He was very, very funny and had a great sense of irony, which I think President Kennedy also had," Max Kennedy said. "He was wearing a T-shirt that is very popular in the Solomon Islands. It read ‘I Rescued JFK.’"

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

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Fisherman who saved JFK’s life during WWII dies

In Solomon Islands, way out in the ocean, far off the coast of northwest Australia, a 93-year-old man died on August 6.

His name was Eroni Kumana and he is the man who, in 1943, rescued a young U.S. Naval Lieutenant who was stranded out in the sea.

That navy man was former President John F. Kennedy.

He and his crew had been on patrol when their boat was broken in half by a Japanese destroyer.

Kennedy and 10 other survivors had to swim three miles to a coral reef.

Kumana just happened to be out in a canoe on that day, more than 70 years ago. He gave the Americans food and Kennedy sent him away with a “help” message etched on a coconut. Kumana helped save all the men.

And on his oval office desk, JFK used that same coconut as a paperweight.

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(Source: wgntv.com)

Filed under Kennedy JFK John F. Kennedy

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Suddenly, everything that had been a liability before—your hair, that you spoke French, you didn’t just adore to campaign… When we got in the White House, all the things that I had always done suddenly became wonderful… and I was so happy for Jack… Because you know, it made him so happy—it made me so happy. So those were our happiest years.
Jacqueline Kennedy on captivating the world


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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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