Person

Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert is an American billionaire investor and businessman. He is the founder of Quicken Loans, now called Rocket Companies, which is the largest home mortgage lending firm in the United States. He is also the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. As of August 2021, Gilbert had an estimated net worth of more than $30 billion.[1]

Through the Gilbert Family Foundation and other philanthropic entities, Gilbert has made significant investments in the city of Detroit, Michigan to which he had moved his company’s headquarters in 2010. In addition to purchasing real estate, Gilbert’s foundations have paid off individuals’ overdue property taxes, partially funded a rail line, and made other contributions intended to support the city, which has struggled financially and declared bankruptcy in 2013.[2][3]

During the 2016 presidential election season, Gilbert initially backed former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ). After the election, Gilbert’s company donated to the inaugural committee of then-President-elect Donald Trump.[4][5]

Early Career

Dan Gilbert received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. He founded the lending company Rock Financial in 1985, and the online mortgage lender Rockloans.com in 1986. In 1999, the software firm Intuit purchased Rock Financial for $370 million and renamed the company Quicken Loans, but Gilbert bought it back several years later.[6]

According to Bloomberg News, Quicken Loans was largely able to weather the 2008 recession because it never entered the subprime mortgage market, unlike other major financial firms such as Lehman Brothers, which collapsed that year. In August 2010, Gilbert relocated the company to downtown Detroit. Around that time, Gilbert started buying real estate in the city through Rock Ventures, his investment company.[7]

Political Contributions

In 2015, Dan Gilbert made a $750,000 donation to America Leads, a political action committee supporting former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for the Republican presidential nomination. [8] However, Gilbert and his wife also each donated $75,000 to committees supporting the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.[9] After Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Gilbert’s company donated $750,000 to his inauguration committee.[10]

During the 2020 election, Gilbert donated to the unsuccessful reelection campaign of Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), as did several members of his family. The political action committee of Rock Holdings, one of Gilbert’s companies in Detroit, donated to the campaign of Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who also unsuccessfully ran for re-election in Georgia.[11]

Investments in Detroit

As of February 2017, Dan Gilbert had purchased more than $3.5 billion worth of property in the city of Detroit, including approximately 100 properties in the downtown area as well as a casino. Gilbert’s investment firm Rock Ventures serves as an umbrella company for more than 100 enterprises that employed more than 17,000 people in the city as of March 2021.[12] [13]

Gilbert was also one of the financial backers of the QLine, a rail transit line funded primarily by private investors. He contributed $10 million to the project and served on the governing board. According to Inside Philanthropy, he also came up with the project’s name, choosing to include the letter “Q” as a reference to Quicken Loans.[14] [15]

In 2018, Gilbert bought a decommissioned jail facility on the outskirts of downtown Detroit from the county government, with the intent of transforming it into a tech and research facility for the University of Michigan.[16] [17]

Gilbert plans to invest a further $500 million into the city over the next decade. $350 million will come from the Gilbert Family Foundation, and $150 million will come from the Rocket Community Fund, the philanthropic organization affiliated with his network of businesses. Gilbert is setting aside $15 million to cover unpaid property taxes for approximately 20,000 households.[18]

References

  1. Dan Gilbert. Bloomberg. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/daniel-gilbert/ ^
  2.      Dan Gilbert. Bloomberg. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/daniel-gilbert/ ^
  3. Michael Kavate. “A Half-Billion from Detroit’s ‘Shadow Mayor’ Latest Sign of Donors’ Power in Cities.” Inside Philanthropy. March 30, 2021. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2021/3/30/alf-a-billion-from-detroits-shadow-mayor-latest-sign-of-donors-power-in-cities ^
  4.      Henry J. Gomez. “Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert places a big bet on Chris Christie, but what about John Kasich? Ohio Politics Roundup.” Cleveland.com. August 12, 2015. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.cleveland.com/open/2015/08/cleveland_cavaliers_owner_dan.html ^
  5. Todd Spangler. “Quicken, automakers poured cash into Trump inauguration fund.” Detroit Free Press. April 19, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/19/quicken-loans-trump-inauguration-gilbert/100655446/ ^
  6. Dan Gilbert. Bloomberg. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/daniel-gilbert/ ^
  7. Dan Gilbert. Bloomberg. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/daniel-gilbert/ ^
  8. Henry J. Gomez. “Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert places a big bet on Chris Christie, but what about John Kasich? Ohio Politics Roundup.” Cleveland.com. August 12, 2015. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.cleveland.com/open/2015/08/cleveland_cavaliers_owner_dan.html ^
  9. Dave McMenamin. “Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he received racist voicemails after LeBron’s Trump tweet.” ESPN. September 29, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20865923/cleveland-cavaliers-owner-dan-gilbert-says-got-racist-voicemails-lebron-trump-tweet ^
  10. Todd Spangler. “Quicken, automakers poured cash into Trump inauguration fund.” Detroit Free Press. April 19, 2017. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/19/quicken-loans-trump-inauguration-gilbert/100655446/ ^
  11. Steve Neavling. “Dan Gilbert and his company’s PAC donated to Georgia GOP Senate candidates.” Detroit Metro Times. January 5, 2021. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2021/01/05/dan-gilbert-and-his-companys-pac-donated-to-georgia-gop-senate-candidates ^
  12. Dan Gilbert. Bloomberg. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/daniel-gilbert/ ^
  13. Michael Kavate. “A Half-Billion from Detroit’s ‘Shadow Mayor’ Latest Sign of Donors’ Power in Cities.” Inside Philanthropy. March 30, 2021. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2021/3/30/alf-a-billion-from-detroits-shadow-mayor-latest-sign-of-donors-power-in-cities ^
  14.   Dan Gilbert. Bloomberg. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/daniel-gilbert/ ^
  15. Michael Kavate. “A Half-Billion from Detroit’s ‘Shadow Mayor’ Latest Sign of Donors’ Power in Cities.” Inside Philanthropy. March 30, 2021. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2021/3/30/alf-a-billion-from-detroits-shadow-mayor-latest-sign-of-donors-power-in-cities ^
  16.   Dan Gilbert. Bloomberg. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/billionaires/profiles/daniel-gilbert/ ^
  17.   Michael Kavate. “A Half-Billion from Detroit’s ‘Shadow Mayor’ Latest Sign of Donors’ Power in Cities.” Inside Philanthropy. March 30, 2021. Accessed August 15, 2021.https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2021/3/30/alf-a-billion-from-detroits-shadow-mayor-latest-sign-of-donors-power-in-cities ^
  18. Michael Kavate. “A Half-Billion from Detroit’s ‘Shadow Mayor’ Latest Sign of Donors’ Power in Cities.” Inside Philanthropy. March 30, 2021. Accessed August 15, 2021. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2021/3/30/alf-a-billion-from-detroits-shadow-mayor-latest-sign-of-donors-power-in-cities ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Gilbert Family Foundation (Non-profit)
    Trustee
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