Bloomberg News

Greenwich Wealth Managers Collect $254 Million Lottery Win

November 30, 2011

(Updates with Daily Mail report that money managers may not have purchased winning ticket in sixth paragraph.)

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Three money managers in one of the country’s richest towns collected the biggest jackpot in the history of the Connecticut lottery after investing $1 dollar in a Powerball ticket.

Brandon E. Lacoff, co-founder of Belpointe LLC, an $82 million wealth manager in Greenwich, Connecticut, and his colleagues Gregory Skidmore and Tim Davidson rode a black limousine into the lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill yesterday to claim a $254 million Powerball prize, according to Anne Noble, president of the lottery.

The jackpot, earned through the purchase of a single ticket at a gas station in Stamford, Connecticut, home to Steven Cohen’s $14 billion dollar hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors LP, dwarfs the previous biggest prize given out in the state of $59 million, Noble said. Gamblers with an income of more than $125,000 account for 19 percent of lottery players in Connecticut, according to a 2009 study by Spectrum Gaming Group.

“I have given away money to people of all walks of life, some employed and some not,” Noble said in an interview. “There is one common theme, which is that they are all always happy to get the money.”

The three men choose to accept an after-tax payment of about $104 million and collect it through an entity they formed called the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, Noble said. She declined to provide details on when the trust was created.

Daily Mail Report

London’s Daily Mail reported today that Lacoff, Skidmore and Davidson may not have purchased the winning ticket, quoting a Greenwich real estate agent who rents office space to Lacoff. The individual who bought the ticket is a client of Belpointe who wanted to remain anonymous to avoid media scrutiny and the three men just collected the winnings on behalf of the trust, the newspaper said, citing the real estate agent.

Skidmore, Lacoff and Davidson didn’t return phone calls left at Belpointe yesterday and today seeking comment. Jason Kurland, a lawyer representing the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, wrote in an e-mail yesterday that he was out of his office and unable to discuss the jackpot. Kurland didn’t respond to a subsequent phone call and e-mail today.

In addition to a wealth-management arm formerly called Belray Asset Management LLC, Belpointe has advisers licensed to sell life, disability and health insurance, according to its website. The firm also does commercial and residential development, and provides legal services through another firm owned by Lacoff.

Town Home Development

Belpointe is registered as an investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Belpointe’s most recent filing with the regulator said high net-worth individuals make up more than half of the firm’s clients and that it manages $82 million.

Lacoff, a former Ernst & Young LLP employee, co-founded the predecessor to Belpointe in 1999 and his initials form the first part of the company name, according to its website. Belpointe is best known for its development of Beacon Hill of Greenwich, a luxury town home development in downtown Greenwich, according to the company.

Skidmore is listed as president and chief investment officer for Belpointe Asset Management. In an April 2010 story posted on Seeking Alpha, a website that offers stock-market commentary, Skidmore gave an interview about the “highest conviction stock position” in his fund. He said Tri-Tech Holding Inc., a company that designs municipal sewage-treatment and odor-control systems in China, was his “great long opportunity.” Its shares, then trading at about $15, fell below $10 the following month, and closed yesterday at $4.03.

Competitive Sailor

Skidmore, who graduated from Connecticut College in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and history, previously hosted an AM radio show called Greenwich Entrepreneurs, according to a biography on Belpointe’s website.

The biography states that he is a former member of the U.S. Sailing team and hoped to compete in the Olympics. Skidmore is listed in the record as a Finn-class sailor on the 2003 team, Jake Fish, a spokesman for U.S. Sailing, wrote in an e-mail.

Davidson, a senior portfolio manager, started in finance in 1979 with a French bank as a foreign-exchange trader, his biography on Belpointe’s website says. At Belpointe, he manages a proprietary equity and asset-allocation strategy.

The three wealth managers waited several weeks to claim the prize. The winning numbers were drawn on Nov. 2 and Skidmore, Davidson and Lacoff didn’t come forward until yesterday. A delay isn’t unusual as lottery winners seek legal and financial advice, Noble said. The men said they plan to use a portion of the jackpot to support “philanthropic” causes in Connecticut, she said.

Connecticut, the wealthiest U.S. state, collected $612.7 million in income taxes from Greenwich residents in 2009, or about 13 percent of the total and the most from any community, Revenue Department figures show.

--With assistance from Miles Weiss in Washington. Editors: Steven Crabill, Christian Baumgaertel

To contact the reporters on this story: Jesse Westbrook in London at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net; Max Abelson in New York at mabelson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net; David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net; Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net


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