Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Kennedy Center Under New Management: This Week’s Lincoln Awards Presented by Recently Convicted Fraudster


America is a great country. One minute you’re paying $100 million to the US for racketeering. The next you’re sponsoring awards for vets at the Kennedy Center.

On Wednesday, the new Kennedy Center, under the direction of David Rubenstein, is hosting the Lincoln Awards. They’re brand new. And they’re using Bruce Springsteen as a lure. All the other honorees are deserving people, not celebrities. The show is being taped with lots of guest stars including Aloe Blacc, Arturo Sandoval, Gavin DeGraw,  Harvey Keitel, Jerry Lewis, Rhiannon Giddens, and comedian Rob Riggle among others. It’s supposed air on March 4th, if Rubenstein can make a deal with a network or syndicator.

And who’s underwriting this thing? One Leonard Wilf, real estate magnate and co-owner and vice chairman of the Minnesota Vikings. Mr. Wilf and his cousins, Zygi and Mark, settled a 21 year old case in State Supreme Court in New Jersey only 16 months ago in September 2013. They were ordered to pay over $100 million to people they defrauded two decades ago– and kept up their defense for that long. (The Wilfs are appealing the judgment.)

Judge Deanne Wilson– of State Superior Court in Morristown NJ — ruled in August 2013 that the Wilfs blatantly cheated their partners, Josef Halpern of Brooklyn and Ada Reichmann of Toronto, out of more than 20 years of revenues from two apartment complexes in New Jersey.

Judge Wilson really despised the Wilfs, too. She cited their “bad faith and evil motive.” She declared in court that the trio “robbed their partners.” She added: “I do not believe I have seen one single financial statement [from the Wilfs] that is true and accurate.”

On the Wilfs’ website,, there are no bios on the About Us page. Just blank spaces underneath the names. President Lincoln would be so proud.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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