Thursday, January 12, 2012

William Polk Carey

Real estate businessman and philanthropist William Polk Carey died in early January, aged 81. Among many other things, Carey was a pioneer of the sale-leaseback financing structure, which involves a property owner selling real estate assets to investors and then occupying the same property under a long-term lease. The arrangement works well in most cases: the seller capitalizes its real estate, allowing it to do something else with the money, while the investors get a steady, locked-in rate of return from the property.

Currently W.P. Carey & Co. oversees a worldwide investment portfolio of about $12 billion. The company's investments through the sale lease-back structure are highly diversified, comprising contractual agreements with about 288 long-term corporate tenants spanning 28 industries and 18 countries.

Carey was also renowned for his generous support of higher education thorough the W.P. Carey Foundation. His beneficiaries included the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and Arizona State University. He also gave millions to private schools in Baltimore.

Carey was not, however, a direct (lineal) descendant of James K. Polk, 11th President of United States, as was reported in a number of news stories recently. President Polk had no children. That Carey was a relative of the president's -- as well as Gen. Leonidas Polk, CSA -- there is no doubt. The Polk clan was quite extensive; the president's immediate family alone included ten brothers and sisters, all of whom (remarkably) survived childhood.

William Polk Carey was well aware of his connection to President Polk. According to the New York Times -- which merely uses the term "descendant," which might include collateral descent -- "Mr. Carey’s middle name, Polk, is an acknowledgment that he was a descendant of the 11th president of the United States, James K. Polk.

" 'He was very proud of that,' Mr. Carey’s great-nephew, William Polk Carey II, said last week. 'He liked to hand out those $1 gold coins with engravings of his Uncle Jim. That’s what he called him.' ”


Kevin Deany said...

Very interesting. Was Polk the only U.S. President not to have any children?

Dees Stribling said...

Actually, no. Washington had none of his own, though Martha had some. Madison had none, but Dolley had one. Jackson adopted two -- including a Creek Indian orphan -- but had no biological kids. Buchanan was a bachelor, but took care of neices. Harding had a stepson, but none of his own, except maybe an illegitimate daughter.

Kevin Deany said...

Shoot.I was hoping if this were a Jeopardy question, I would know the answer.

Thanks for the answer.