You know Jimmy Goldstein, even if you don’t know Jimmy Goldstein. He’s the crispy old man in the crazy clothes that you see sitting courtside at a seemingly impossible number of NBA games. He’s beloved by fans and players alike, and has essentially become the NBA’s hip grandpa. He is also, according to a new feature from Vice Sports, a real dickhead of a landlord.
Vice’s story attempts to discover just who Goldstein really is, and to make sense of how he became so fabulously wealthy. The answer to that second question involves real estate dealings, including ownership of various trailer parks where the residents don’t think too fondly of Goldstein.
Vice quotes one of Goldstein’s tenants calling the man an “asshole.” Another calls Goldstein a “dirty motherfucker.” This is what they are angry about:
And Goldstein has pursued two often-contentious legal avenues to maximize his income from them.
First, he regularly attempts to raise rents past the rent control allowed by the cities in which his parks reside. When the rent commissions deny him his increase, he sues the city.
In September 2007, for instance, Goldstein filed for a $618.15 per-month rent increase in order to help pay down his debt on Colony Cove, which he had purchased the previous year for $23,050,000, with $18 million financed from GE Capital, according to documents obtained by VICE Sports. He was granted an increase of only $36.74 per space per month. The following year, he filed for a $250 rent increase. He was granted an increase of just $25. After both decisions, and indeed after most decisions against him, Goldstein has sued the City of Carson, and attempted to pass his six-figure legal costs onto his tenants as part of the application for the following year’s rental increase.
Goldstein’s second strategy relies on California’s Subdivision Map Act—a series of regulations, the earliest of which dates back to 1893, that govern how land is subdivided in California cities. Using a specific section of the law, Goldstein has sought to unilaterally convert his rent-controlled parks into subdivisions, which would force residents to purchase their homes from Goldstein in order to remain in them.
There’s a lot more about Goldstein’s history and place in the NBA landscape in the story, which you should read. But the next time one of your friends sees him on TV and asks, “Hey, who is that guy? Why is he always sitting courtside?” Remember to say, “Him? Oh, he’s a dick.”