Kalikow, Peter S.

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KALIKOW, PETER S. (1943– ), U.S. real-estate executive, civic official. Born in New York City and a graduate of Hofstra University, Kalikow began his career in real estate in 1967 with the family's 75-year-old company. He became president of H.J. Kalikow & Co. in 1973. The company, with his father at the helm, had concentrated on building middle-class housing in the borough of Queens. Following his father's death in 1982, he assumed responsibility for all Kalikow holdings, which included vast swaths of Manhattan residential and commercial buildings. He brought it into the big-time business of office and cooperative apartment development in Manhattan. Branching out, Kalikow in 1988 bought the New York Post, the oldest daily newspaper in the United States, from Rupert Murdoch, for about $37.6 million (he later sold the paper back to Murdoch). But in 1991, Kalikow, once one of the wealthiest individuals in the United States, filed for personal bankruptcy protection. Burdened by debt taken on to expand his empire, Kalikow was forced to put up some of his property partnerships and other businesses as collateral during a wide-ranging reorganization. At the time Kalikow and his companies had more than $1 billion in debt, some of which he defaulted on.

In 1994 Kalikow was appointed to the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, an agency that oversees New York's subways, bridges and tunnels, and commuter railroads, by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, and served for a little more than a year. Gov. George E. Pataki appointed him to be vice chairman of the mta in 1999 and he became chairman in 2001. The organization provides mass transit to nearly 8 million riders each weekday and moves nearly 300 million vehicles through bridges and tunnels a year.

Kalikow was involved in numerous real estate, health, and philanthropic activities. In 1982 he was awarded the Peace Medal, the State of Israel's highest civilian award, for his many years in aiding Israel's development. In 1987 he was honored by the American Jewish Committee and in 1989 the Anti-Defamation League awarded him and his wife its first annual Jacob K. Javits award for outstanding accomplishment. He was a member of the board of trustees of New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and served on the board of the Jewish National Fund. In 1995 he received the Jerusalem 3000 Award from the State of Israel Bonds for his chairmanship of the real-estate division for eight years.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]