John Catsimatidis
American businessman
John Catsimatidis
John Catsimatidis b. 1948, is a Greek-born American businessman. He is the owner, president, chairman, and CEO of the Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods. He is also the chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group subsidiary United Refining Company. The Red Apple Group also has holdings in aviation and real estate interests in New York, Florida, and the U. S Virgin Islands. He owns and operates the Hellenic Times newspaper. John Catsimatidis has also received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
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Carolyn Maloney: America's "Bouboulina"
Huffington Post - 3 months
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, the U.S. Representative for New York's 12th congressional district, recently visited Greece in order to celebrate the fact that two Greek-American friends of hers, businessman John Catsimatidis and journalist George Stefanopoulos, had stamps issued in their honor by the Hellenic Post Office. Carolyn Maloney accepting the commemorative stamp on behalf of George Stefanopoulos at the Acropolis Museum Ms.Maloney retains very close ties with the Greek-American community as she represents a region with a large Greek-speaking electorate, is the co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic issues and is a ranking member of Congress' Joint Economic Committee. She is an avid supporter of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and retains a clear view of the so-called "Macedonian" issue, a long-standing dispute between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece concerning the name and history of the region. ...
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Huffington Post article
Grocery King John Catsimatidis Extends His Brand---on the Radio
Wall Street Journal - over 1 year
John Catsimatidis hasn’t faded away quietly after his loss in the 2013 mayoral race. Instead, he launched a radio show that has become a quirky, must-be-on for a range of political figures.
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Wall Street Journal article
Rich People Say The Darndest Things
Huffington Post - about 3 years
It’s hard not to feel sorry for the rich. After all, it can’t be easy to swim in a pool of money, or to keep a yacht clean, or to stroll down red carpets all day, can it? So please, let’s give them all a break when they occasionally say outrageous things. Things like these: AIG CEO: Anger over big bonuses "just as bad" as racist lynch mobs. The CEO of the massive insurance company, Robert Benmosche, made that ill-advised comparison during a 2013 interview with the Wall Street Journal: "The uproar over bonuses 'was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitch forks and their hangman nooses, and all that -- sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.'" Benmosche later described the metaphor as a "poor choice of words" in an email to The Huffington Post. For the record, more than 4,700 people were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, according to data made available by ...
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Huffington Post article
NYC Voters 68 percent-19 percent for de Blasio: Who Will Bet on Lhota?
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The NYTimes/Siena College poll was released today showing that likely New York City voters in the general election for mayor next month are splitting 68 percent for Bill de Blasio and 19 percent for Joe Lhota. The two most recent previous polls showed de Blasio winning three to one. The odds have improved for de Blasio, doubtless in part because of distress in NYC at the shutdown in Washington, to better than 3.5 to one. What are the chances that Lhota can come from behind and with enough money and persuasive rhetoric win the election, a little more than four weeks from now? Those who want to place a bet on the underdog in this case could benefit from some data. Peter Minuit is credited with buying Manhattan from the Lenape or Canarsee Indians for $24. For the same dollar spending per voter, Bill de Blasio won the New York City Primary for Mayor. De Blasio's $24 was the most efficient of all of the primary campaigns. Figures from the Campaign Finance Board, reported by Sam R ...
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Huffington Post article
Video: John Catsimatidis on the NYC mayoral race
CBS News - over 3 years
Former Republican candidate for New York City mayor John Catsimatidis discusses the mayoral race, presidential politics in 2016, and his own future in politics.
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CBS News article
Bill de Blasio Is Starting To Look A Lot Like Someone Else We Know
Huffington Post - over 3 years
A Facebook page updated regularly with the latest political news. A home on YouTube for official campaign commercials and videos of appearances on the trail. A barrage of email messages so persuasive that recipients opt to volunteer for their candidate. Those were pieces of the digital strategy that worked wonders for President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, and in the first high-profile New York race since then, they're showing up again. Bill de Blasio, New York City's public advocate and the Democratic nominee for mayor, is running an advanced online campaign practically copied from the president's playbook, according to digital media and political consultants. His Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, has a smaller presence across social media sites and hasn't tapped online supporters to volunteer or get involved with the campaign. "De Blasio took a lot of cues from the Obama campaign," said Josh Hendler, the chief technology officer for Hill & Knowlton Strategies, whic ...
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Huffington Post article
HUFFPOST HILL - John Boehner In A Mud Bath With A Cucumber Eye Mask
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Ted Cruz vowed to obstruct the Senate as much as possible, which is undoubtedly the rudest thing a Canadian has ever done. Liz Cheney heaped abuse on Alan Simpson, but we're happy to report that Erskine Bowles' face remains unpeppered by buckshot. And a staffer in the Missouri legislature left a loaded gun in a statehouse bathroom, because the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a rolled up copy of Men's Health tucked under his arm. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, September 24th, 2013: ROLL ON, MIGHTY POOP CRUZ, ROLL ON - Mike McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stuck by a plan Tuesday that would leave Congress with just one day to try and avert a shutdown of the federal government, despite his colleagues' best efforts to convince the Texan to speed up the process. 'I don't think that's going to happen,' said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) after Republicans met for some two hours in the U.S. Capitol. 'I don't think there's going to be any agree ...
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Huffington Post article
Lhota Looks Forward to Debate With ‘Radical’ de Blasio
Dallas Observer Blogs - over 3 years
Republican mayoral contender Joe Lhota congratulated Bill de Blasio on securing his party’s expected nomination this afternoon said he’s looking forward to a more mature and vigorous debate. After weeks of being attacked by his ex-Republican challenger billionaire John Catsimatidis–most recently for saying he would not have shut down subway service to save two stray kittens on the tracks–Mr. Lhota said he was ready to go one-on-one against a candidate who has a dramatically different vision for the City of New York. Read More
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Dallas Observer Blogs article
Former Giuliani deputy Lhota seen winning N.Y. Republican mayoral primary
Yahoo News - over 3 years
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Joe Lhota, a deputy to former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, was the projected winner of New York City's Republican mayoral primary, local media reported on Tuesday. Lhota, also a former head of the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, had 52 percent of the vote over grocery chain billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, who had 41 percent, with about 80 percent of precincts reporting, according to NY1 television. The winner of the Democratic mayoral primary was not yet determined. (Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou)
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Yahoo News article
New York City Schools at Center of Today's Mayoral Primary
Education Week - over 3 years
New York City voters are heading to the polls today to narrow down the long list of mayoral hopefuls seeking to succeed the dozen-year run of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and usher in a new era of governance for the nation's largest school system. Education has been at the heart of the campaign, with Democratic frontrunners Bill de Blasio, William Thompson Jr., and Christine Quinn all pushing schooling ideas. Among the marquee proposals: de Blasio is promising universal pre-K, Thompson would temporarily halt schools from being shut down, and Quinn would extend the school day. The leading Republican candidates—Joe Lhota and John Catsimatidis—have also made their education positions known. Lhota is a staunch supporter of charters and would allow more of them to open across the city. Catsimatidis is on record as being in favor of shutting down underperforming schools. GothamSchools has comprehensive coverage of the field of candidates and the ground they've staked out on educ ...
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Education Week article
New York City Mayor Candidates At A Glance Before The Primary
Huffington Post - over 3 years
NEW YORK -- Here's a look at the candidates on the ballot in the Democratic Party and Republican Party primaries competing in hopes of succeeding Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The primary winners will face each other in the general election in November. If no candidate gets 40 percent of the vote in a party's primary, then a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be held Oct. 1. The Democrats: _ Sal Albanese, attorney and former City Council member _ Randy Credico, political satirist and activist _ Bill de Blasio, New York City public advocate, former City Council member _ Neal Grimaldi, attorney and former public school teacher _ John Liu, New York City comptroller, former City Council member _ Christine Quinn, City Council speaker _ Erick Salgado, pastor and businessman _ Bill Thompson, former New York City comptroller _ Anthony Weiner, former U.S. House member The Republicans: _ John Catsimatidis, billionaire businessman, supermarket mogul _ Joseph Lhota, former chairma ...
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Huffington Post article
Interview With NYC Mayoral Candidate John Catsimatidis
Wall Street Journal - over 3 years
New York City mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis talks about his campaign and gives his final pitch to voters ahead of Tuesday's Republican primary.
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Wall Street Journal article
Giuliani Largely Absent In Mayoral Race
Huffington Post - over 3 years
NEW YORK -- Rudolph Giuliani, whose endorsement of Michael Bloomberg after the Sept. 11 attacks is viewed as a key factor in the political novice's eventual upset victory in the New York City mayor's race, has been used sparingly on this year's campaign trail even though he has endorsed a former aide. That may not be an accident. Although Giuliani's popularity was high in New York City for much of his tenure and soared here and beyond as "America's mayor" for his response to the 2001 attacks, that's no longer the case. Appearing on the campaign trail could hurt his former deputy mayor and budget director, Joe Lhota, as much as help him, observers say. "He's gone so far right, he couldn't get elected in New York City again," said Joseph Mercurio, a political consultant not affiliated with any campaign. In January, Giuliani publicly urged Lhota to run for mayor after he was commended for steering the Metropolitan Transit Authority through Superstorm Sandy. Severa ...
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Huffington Post article
Polls Confirm There's A Frontrunner In NYC
Huffington Post - over 3 years
WASHINGTON -- Two new polls confirm that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has emerged as a clear frontrunner in the race for mayor of New York City. And in a race likely headed for a run-off between the top two finishers on Sept. 10, they show former Comptroller Bill Thompson gaining and on the verge of overtaking Council Speaker Christine Quinn for the second place spot. In a New York Times/Siena poll released Friday, de Blasio had the support of 32 percent of likely Democratic voters, followed by former city comptroller Bill Thompson at 18 percent and city council speaker Christine Quinn at 17 percent. Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) took 11 percent, with support for city comptroller John Liu, former city councilmember Sal Albanese and pastor Erick Salgado in the single digits. De Blasio and Thompson were viewed favorably by a majority of Democrats -- 57 percent and 53 percent, respectively. Quinn’s ratings were underwater, with just 39 percent viewing her favorabl ...
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Huffington Post article
Blake Fleetwood: 'Everyone Else Running for Mayor Is Owned'
Huffington Post - over 3 years
So said John Catsimatidis, the blunt-speaking, bombastic billionaire grocery king, who is running as a liberal Republican for mayor of New York City, at Harvard Club breakfast earlier this week. By this, he means that the other candidates are beholden to various interest groups and lobbyists for campaign funding and support -- pandering all over the place -- and cannot possibly make the best decisions for the city as a whole -- a situation that is unsustainable. Money and special interests are the mother's milk of politicians, and they have corrupted city elections, state politics -- a cesspool -- and even national politics. This is not news. "When the people find they can votes themselves money (out of the general coffers) that will herald the end of the republic," according to Benjamin Franklin. Money follows money. One thing is for sure: special interests are not us. 99.97 percent of Americans don't make political contributions of more than $200. Yet, ...
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Huffington Post article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Catsimatidis
  • 2015
    Age 66
    In the 2015 Forbes 400 "richest people in America" list, Catsimatidis ranked 182nd, with a personal net worth estimated at $3.4 billion; in the Forbes list of global billionaires, he ranked #577 Billionaires.
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    In 2015, press reports indicated he donated the use of a chartered jet valued at $70,000 to the Republican primary campaign of Scott Walker.
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  • 2013
    Age 64
    In the September 2013 Republican primary, Catsimatidis lost to Joseph J. Lhota, receiving 24,864 votes to Lhota's 32,236 votes.
    More Details Hide Details Although he lost, Catsimatidis did carry the borough of Staten Island. Catsimatidis could have chosen to contest the general election on two other ballot lines (that of the Liberal Party of New York and another third-party line he created in summer 2013), but two days after his primary, he announced that he would withdraw from the race.
    Catsimatidis made his official announcement at City Hall on January 29, 2013, vowing to be "a leader for Harlem and Wall Street."
    More Details Hide Details He stated "I'm not a Mike Bloomberg billionaire. I'm not wearing a $5,000 suit." Through May 15, Catsimatidis (a self-financed candidate) had spent $880,000 on the campaign, mostly on television and radio ads, but also on billboards and items including lip balm and groceries. He hired a campaign consulting firm, Millennial Strategies LLC, that mostly works on Democratic campaigns. On a December 13 appearance on Inside City Hall, Catsimatidis compared raising taxes on the wealthy to how "Hitler punished the Jews," a remark which surprised host Josh Robin. Catsimatidis expressed support for the New York City stop-and-frisk program, and two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings, his campaign ran a radio ad attacking "career politicians want to end stop and frisk and cut the NYPD's powers of surveillance." At a candidates' forum Catsimatidis suggested that "a robot" or other future technology would make the stop-and-frisk program unnecessary in the future, but stated that until that time the program should continue.
    He also filed paperwork with the New York City Campaign Finance Board on January 3, 2013.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly afterward, he told the New York Post that he had just written his own check for one million dollars to seed his campaign.
    Catsimatidis unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for mayor of New York City in the 2013 election.
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  • 2012
    Age 63
    At campaign events in April, Catsimatidis claimed that he could have beaten Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election and got into a contentious exchange with various Republican audience members, telling one to "go bullshit yourself if you want!" A spokesman for the Lhota campaign stated that "anyone running for mayor should be able to offer substantive ideas and solutions to our city's problems without engaging in irrational and antagonistic exchanges with voters."
    More Details Hide Details On May 13, the New York Post ran a story on Catsimatidis' comment in a 1989 Crain's New York Business profile in which he stated "I'm a Manhattanite. I feel sorry for those people who aren't." Catsimatidis's remark was criticized by Republican Guy Molinari, the former former Staten Island borough president and congressman, and Brooklyn Democratic councilman Lew Fidler, who called Catsimatidis a "Manhattan elitist." Among the "off-the-cuff—and off-beat—policy proposals" that Catsimatidis has suggested during the campaign include giving police tricycles to improve mobility, allowing casinos in hotels, and launching a program to give free pet food to people who adopt homeless animals. Catsimatidis's economic proposals include a revival of the 1964 New York World's Fair. The New York Times reported that Catsimatidis "struck an odd note when discussing education policy, expressing unease about the makeup of his daughter's graduating class from New York University's Stern School of Business," stating that "I think close to 480 of the 580 were Asian — Asian including India. And, it was scary. And then when you think about it, we’re going to deport most of these kids."
    In December 2012, Catsimatidis established an exploratory committee to consider running for mayor.
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    During the spring of 2012, Catsimatidis described his dismay over the quality of the announced as well as the presumed candidates.
    More Details Hide Details He suggested that he would support New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, but when Kelly repeatedly denied any intention to run, Catsimatidis expressed his own interest.
  • 2011
    Age 62
    Catsimatidis and his wife have two children, Andrea and John Jr. Andrea graduated from New York University, and married Christopher Cox, grandson of former President Richard Nixon, on June 4, 2011, at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, "before a church packed with family members and political powerhouses," including Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Rudolph Giuliani, Charles Schumer, Ray Kelly, and Robert M. Morgenthau.
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  • 2009
    Age 60
    In 2009, Catsimatidis spent nearly $300,000, much of it on polls and consultants, to explore a candidacy.
    More Details Hide Details He said he only agreed to drop out after Bloomberg informed him of his plans to seek a third term. Once the city term limits law was changed to allow Bloomberg to run for a third term, Catsimatidis quietly withdrew. The exploratory committee was officially shut down in May 2009.
    A donor to Bill Clinton during the Clinton years, Catsimatidis, while still enrolled as a Democrat, considered becoming a candidate in the 2009 mayoral election as a Republican.
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  • 2008
    Age 59
    Senator John McCain of Arizona was not invited, although Cox had worked on his 2008 presidential campaign, because McCain did not endorse Cox when he later ran (unsuccessfully) for Congress.
    More Details Hide Details Catsimatidis told the New York Post that "I thought that was low. I was just disgusted." Catsimatidis is involved in philanthropy. He is one of the largest donors to the G&P Foundation for Cancer Research He founded and was co-chairman of Brooklyn Tech Endowment Foundation, benefiting his alma mater. Catsimatidis funds the John Catsimatidis Scholarship Fund at the New York University Stern School of Business, which has since 1988 awarded two scholarships each year. Catsimatidis was for five years president of the Manhattan Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He also served on the board of directors of the Police Athletic League of New York City. Catsimatidis was also on the board of directors of the Drum Major Institute. Other organizations with which Catsimatidis has been active are the National Kidney Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Young Men's Philanthropic League, and Alzheimer's Foundation of America. Catsimatidis was the vice-chairman of the Ellis Island Awards Foundation of the National Ethnic Coalition Organization (NECO), and received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor from that organization.
    By July 2008, Catsimatidis formed an exploratory committee of advisors and operatives, including Robert Ryan, Alan Bernikow, Lawrence Mandelker, and Jose Ithier.
    More Details Hide Details McLaughlin & Associates was the committee's polling firm.
    In 2008, Catsimatidis was widely viewed as a potential mayoral candidate, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Representative Anthony Weiner, businessman Richard Parsons, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, City Comptroller Bill Thompson (the eventual Democratic nominee), and state Senator Martin Golden.
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    Catsimatidis was a member of Hillary Clinton's finance team during her 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, stating in February 2007 of Clinton: "She's unstoppable.
    More Details Hide Details She's got such a machine." Catsimatidis hosted a number of fundraising dinners with Bill Clinton at his home in New York that in total raised well in excess of $750,000 for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Catsimatidis has stated that he is friends with Bill Clinton and that the former president "often" has flown in one of Catsimatidis' two airplanes. Hillary Clinton attended Catsimatidis' daughter's wedding. Catsimatidis has stated that the U.S. presidents he most admires are John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. He has said that the New York City mayor whom he most admires is Fiorello H. La Guardia.
    In 2008, Catsimatidis became engaged in efforts to take over SemGroup LP, a bankrupt oil, gas, and asphalt trading, storage and transportation company, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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  • 2007
    Age 58
    In May 2007, he was reported to be "systematically wooing local Republicans," attending various Republican fundraisers in Queens and Staten Island and stating that he would "probably have a press conference" to announce his intentions "sooner rather than later" and would consider spending between $30 million and $40 million if he ran.
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  • 2006
    Age 57
    Catsimatidis put on a fundraiser in 2006 with Michael Bloomberg for Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to support his third party run as an independent after he lost the Democratic primary nomination for reelection to the Senate.
    More Details Hide Details Catsimatidis has been described as a "longtime," "loyal," and "high-level Clinton donor." Catsimatidis donated a significant sum to the Clinton Presidential Center, thought to be between $100,000 and $500,000.
  • 1992
    Age 43
    In the 1992 Democratic presidential primaries, Catsimatidis contributed $150,000 to the campaign of fellow Greek American Paul Tsongas.
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  • 1988
    Age 39
    On October 2, 1988, Catsimatidis married Margo Vondersaar at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York.
    More Details Hide Details Margo met Catsimatidis when she was his secretary beginning in 1972. Catsimatidis had a previous marriage that ended in divorce and has stated that he was "sometimes" together with Margo while still married to his first wife. At the time of their marriage, Margo led her own advertising agency, MCV Advertising Associates in New York, and was president of The Hellenic Times.
  • 1986
    Age 37
    In 1986, Catsimatidis acquired United Refining Co., the owner of gasoline refineries in Pennsylvania and Alabama.
    More Details Hide Details In October 2009, Forbes Magazine reported that United Refining Energy Corp., a publicly traded special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by United Refining, was purchasing "privately held Chaparral Energy in a deal worth roughly $1.6 billion." However, United Refining Energy Corp. shareholders did not approve the deal and it was terminated in December 2009. In 2015, the Red Apple Group ranked 156th on Forbes magazine's list of "America's largest private companies" with revenue of $3 billion and 8,000 employees. (This compares to its 2008 and 2009 rank, both at #100, 2010 at #78, 2011 at 98th, and 2012 at 97th).
  • 1971
    Age 22
    In 1971, Catsimatidis opened his first store, at Broadway and 99th Street.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly thereafter, he purchased another grocery store on 87th street just west of Broadway, naming it Red Apple. Among his business innovations were staying open late seven days a week, offering free delivery, and cashing checks for customers. Catsimatidis has stated that by the time he was 24 years old, "I built up ten stores and the business was doing $25 million a year, and I was personally earning a million dollars a year." By the summer of 1981, Red Apple had 27 stores in the Bronx and Manhattan, with annual sales of around $40 million. These grew to $110 million in sales in 1985. In 1986, Red Apple purchased 36 Gristedes supermarkets and 11 affiliated Charles & Co. specialty-food stores from the Southland Corporation. In 2009, it was reported that Catsimatidis's "main holdings include 50 Gristedes supermarkets, 371 gas stations in three states, $500 million in real estate, and an expanding oil business."
  • 1966
    Age 17
    The family moved to West Harlem, where Catsimatidis grew up. Catsimatidis' father had been a lighthouse operator in Greece but worked as a busboy in New York. Catsimatidis graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1966.
    More Details Hide Details He received a congressional nomination to West Point, but chose to study electrical engineering at New York University instead. While in college, Catsimatidis worked for the uncle of a friend, Tony, in a small supermarket on 137th Street which Tony and his uncle owned. While Catsimatidis was still in college, Tony sold his half of the store to Catsimatidis. Catsimatidis completed four years of college, but dropped out eight credits short of graduating.
  • 1948
    John Catsimatidis was born on the Greek island of Nisyros on September 7, 1948.
    More Details Hide Details He came to the United States with his parents when he was six months old.
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