$21.5 BILLION AS OF SEPTEMBER 2011
Wealth: Sheldon Adelson, the son of a cab driver who started out selling newspapers at the age of 12, is now the world’s biggest casino developer. Adelson is chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp, with casino and hotel properties in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore. The 78-year-old developer is currently the eighth-richest individual in the U.S. In the 1980s, Adelson created the computer expo event known as Comdex and sold it to Japan’s Softbank for $862 million 1995. In the 1990s his company built the $1.5 billion Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the 1.2-million-square-foot Sands Convention Center. In 2008, he opened $1.9 billion Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas and, in April 2010, he cut the ribbon on the $5.7 billion Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. His company is currently the subject of a Securities Exchange Commission investigation involving allegations of bribery in his Asia operations.
Power Networks: Adelson is the head of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, a casino-resort based in Nevada. Adelson also founded and owns the media company that publishes Israel HaYom (Israel Today), a free daily tabloid that is the country’s largest-circulation daily. The newspaper is strongly rightwing, opposes a two- state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as being insufficiently conservative and even “pro-Palestinian”. Since its founding in 2007, Israel HaYom has had a major impact in pushing Netanyahu to the right.
Adelson has given tens of millions of dollars to hardcore conservative U.S. groups that strenuously oppose climate policies and reducing the use of fossil fuels, including Freedom’s Watch, Freedom Works, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and American Solutions for Winning the Future. Adelson’s contributions to George W. Bush’s re-election campaign were lavish enough to see him qualify as a Bush Pioneer. He has been fiercely anti-union in his dealings with workers at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.
Environment: Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s CSR Hub environmental rating is 37 One of the Sands’ properties, The Palazzo Las Vegas, was silver-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification program. “From the beginning, we were determined to create Las Vegas’ first truly eco-friendly property, and we are extremely proud to have achieved it and be recognized for it,” said Adelson in 2008. The Las Vegas Sands Corporation is not on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
As one of the world’s wealthiest individuals who has bankrolled the political tone of “drill, baby, drill”, and “bundled” campaign contributions for members of Congress who have separated “conservation” from “conservative”, Adelson is inextricably involved in blocking solutions.