Billionaire Tells Rest of Us to Live More Modestly

Jeff Greene currently has a $195M estate on the market
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2015 7:24 AM CST
Billionaire Tells Rest of Us to Live More Modestly
Jeff Greene laughs as he answers a question while speaking at the Florida Press Association and FSNE annual meeting June 17, 2010, in Sarasota, Fla.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Jeff Greene describes the $195 million price tag of a 23-bathroom Beverly Hills estate he's spent seven years building—and has now put on the market—as "quite reasonable." He lives in a 35,000-square-foot estate in Palm Beach, Fla., with its own private beach. And when he flew to the World Economic Forum in Davos, two nannies came with the 60-year-old billionaire and his family. But while giving an interview in Davos, Greene had this to say on the subject of wealth, per Bloomberg: “America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life."

Among the reactions: The Denver Post editorial board called his comments "patronizing twaddle." MarketWatch notes "this billionaire just chided you for spending way too much money." Greene became a billionaire in part by betting against subprime mortgages; Forbes estimates his net worth at $3 billion. As for that estate he's selling, the former Florida Democratic Senate candidate tells the New York Times, "More and more of the rewards for this economy are going to the rich and leaving the rest behind. So I think you're going to have more and more very wealthy people. And hopefully they're going to want houses like this"—"this" being a home whose Bavarian walnut floors were given an antique look through handscraping done by dozens of men, per the Times. (In 2012, the world's richest woman advised wages of $2 per day.)

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