And the Dodo Award unfortunately had to choose one more winner last year. If you are following The Dodo Blog on Twitter you already know that The Center for Biological Diversity announced Michael Winer, portfolio manager for the giant real-estate investment firm Third Avenue Management, LLC (“TAREX”), as the winner of its third annual Rubber Dodo Award for : “His Wall St. Firm Pushing Largest Developments in California and Florida Imperiling Dozens of Endangered Species, Including Condors on Tejon Ranch“. Not an easy work, but there is always a monster to do such things.
Winer is deserving of the 2009 award for his leadership of TAREX, the largest stockholder in companies developing the largest pieces of private land remaining in Southern California and Florida. These regions are also home to some the highest numbers of endangered species in North America. In California, TAREX is pushing the Tejon Ranch Company to pave over thousands of acres of federally designated California condor habitat. In Florida, TAREX is pushing the St. Joe Company to flood tens of thousands of acres of the Florida Panhandle with high-end developments.
“Under Winer’s money-obsessed leadership, TAREX has become the poster child for unsustainable, endangered-species-killing sprawl,” said Adam Keats, director of the Center’s Urban Wildlands Program. “He specializes in finding massive, remote estates far from urban centers and turning them into a sea of condos, malls, golf courses, and resorts. There is good reason that even Wall Street commonly calls TAREX a ‘real-estate vulture’.”
In California, Winer has been a driving force behind the Tejon Ranch Company’s bid to build two new cities 50 miles north of Los Angeles. Tejon is the largest parcel of private land in California and the last remaining unprotected wilderness-quality land in the region. The Tejon development has been likened to dropping a city the size of Boulder, Colorado into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
All the press-release with more details of the incredible contribution that Winer has being doing to the nature is available on Center for Biological Diversity page. In case you missed, the previous winners were Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne in 2007, and the (ex)Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008.