Published On: Sun, Apr 19th, 2015

Mall Billionaire A. Alfred Taubman Dead at 91, Sold Some, Stole Some, Donated Some

Taubman was personally worth $3 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

A. Alfred Taubman

Shopping mall magnate, real estate developer and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman, who pioneered the modern indoor shopping mall, died Friday from a heart attack, in his Bloomfield Hills, Mich, home, at age 91.

Taubman was personally worth $3 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

He is credited with developing the suburban mall concept, with lots of parking, offering, as he put it in his 2007 autobiography, “Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer, ”
a “one-stop comparison shopping opportunity.”

Taubman bought the British auction house Sotheby’s in 1983, then, in the early 2000s, an investigation led to a confession by Sotheby’s CEO Diana Brooks of an elaborate price fixing scheme with her counterpart at Christie’s. In a plea bargain arrangement, she agreed to implicate Taubman, who was convicted of price fixing, was fined $7.5 million and sat in jail for ten months.

Taubman donated large sums to the University of Michigan, and many buildings there are named after him, including the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building, the Taubman Health Sciences Library and Taubman Health Care Center, and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Taubman recently donated $5 million to support the University of Michigan’s Dr. Eva Feldman’s and Dr. Yehoash Raphael’s research, aimed at the development of new treatments for Lou Gehrig’s Disease and deafness.

Taubman’s lifetime giving to Michigan came to to $141 million, making him the largest donor in the school’s history until 2013.

He also donated to the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, and The Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University.

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