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Christiana Capital Group

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Mail to: 603 / 4 Young Street
Neutral Bay 2089
Tel (02) 9944 3395
Fax (02) 9925 0541

Edward R. Stavitsky

Edward R. Stavitsky was one of the original founders of Christiana Capital. From the time of the original Company's incorporation in 1954, Ed served on the Board and played a key role in almost all of the Group's ventures. His record of achievements spanned over fifty years in business, in diverse sectors which included science and technology, real estate, financing, development and management, operations and financial consulting, and the entertainment industry, as well as philanthropic enterprise. He was a biochemist and a member of the New York Stavitsky family.

The Stavitskys headed the largest real estate, insurance brokerage and management firm in New Jersey and built, owned and operated the largest office building in the State of New Jersey at the time - the Military Park Building, 60 Park Place, Newark.

Ed pioneered Bank/Insurance Company/Developer Joint Ventures in Commercial Development; he pioneered and pragmatized Mixed Use Concept Development in New York and introduced it to Los Angeles; he was the first developer of multi-unit housing in Houston, Galveston and Pasadena, Texas - resulting in the development of over 25,000 garden apartment units and 15,000 single family residences. He was the first Realtor to actively implement the G.I. Bill Home Mortgage Program (U.S. Service Veteran Program) in significant numbers (over 15,000) for non-white and minority applicants.

Ed was an owner, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the Maxwell Company-Straus-Duparquet, the oldest, most prestigious and largest furnishing, decorating and design firm in the United States at the time. He also added another dimension to the company - financing - and the ability to issue its own Stand-bys, backed by Franklin National Bank.

Ed in fact was a pioneer in the use of Stand-by Letters of Credit to fund real estate development projects, conceiving this idea in late 1953 and working directly with Franklin National Bank from 1954 to 1970 - over which period he personally placed many billions of dollars of development funding and contributed to the growth of Franklin National Bank from the 24th largest to 11th largest bank in the USA. In accordance with his father's teachings (Mike Stavitsky was issued the First Savings & Loan Charter for the State of New Jersey), Ed achieved a remarkable zero foreclosure rate over this period.

Ed’s involvement in the Film and Entertainment industry is legendary. His uncle, Mike Hollander (the Hollander Fur Company), had financed several of his Salesmen into the motion picture industry in the 1920's and 30's - people such as Samuel "Goldfish" Goldwyn, Marcus Loew (hence the theatre chain), and Adolph Zukor (founder of Paramont Studios). Theatre-goers will recognize “Hollanderizing” in the Broadway hit “Guys & Dolls”, which in fact refers to a process invented by the Hollander Fur Company. Ed Stavitsky grew up with this legacy and attributed Christiana’s long involvement with the film and entertainment industry to it.

Ed and his brother Albert also owned Bronston Studios in Madrid, Spain together with Sam Bronston, where they were responsible for movies such as King of Kings, 55 Days at Peking, Circus World, The Fall of the Roman Empire and El Cid.

For a period of some 25 years, Christiana Capital and Ed worked hand in hand with Chase Manhattan Bank to provide a substantial component of the total financing for 20th Century, Universal and United Artists over that period (Mr Tom McMahon, a Director and owner of Christiana Capital, also concurrently held the position of Senior Vice President, then Executive Vice President at Chase Manhattan Bank and Head of the Credit Policy Committee).

A pianist, conductor and composer, Ed was a Principal, along with "Bumps" Blackwell, of Entertainment Management International, which received over 37 Gold Records for Production & Arranging for Feature Film Songs. Ed’s motion picture experience included positions as Principal in the firms of: Capra Associates, Totacom, and Worldwide Creative Artists which collectively functioned in all phases of financing, producing, distribution and promoting film vehicles.

Ed served as financial consultant to Borg Warner, the State of Louisiana, Mexico for its Border Development, Greece, Turkey and Ecuador. During the decade 1965-1975, the Stavitsky Brothers were decorated by many nations, including Haiti, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Burundi, Costa Rica as Consul General, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Greek Order of Zante.

He was a founder of the Fun Time Advertising Agency, the originator of coupon advertising.

Early career

As a biochemist, Ed contributed many written articles relating to aldehydes and ketones in addition to other Bio-Chemical subjects, and tutored M.D.s in preparation for their licensing examinations covering Bio-Chemistry and Anatomy. Participated in the development and synthesis of Drene and Dreft Shampoo for Proctor and Gamble. Conducted extensive research involving the alpha and beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans (Pancreas) as a contributory effort to the diabetes research program.

He played an important role in assisting Dr Selman Waksman in a disciplined, systematic, calculated research and search program for "antibiotics", a word which the Waksman team coined in 1941, leading to the extraction and discovery of Streptomycin - by that same team, three years later. He was also engaged in continued research, isolation and development of other antibiotics aside from Streptomycin.

Testimonials to Ed Stavitsky

Rather than any success in the business world, Ed felt the following three verbatim excerpts illustrated, for him, “my finest hour" :

Paul J. Brienza says - "I am Managing Director of the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey. I have known Edward Stavitsky for about 37 years. We were neighbours as children and literally grew up together. Edward was the continuation of the prestigious Stavitsky image for integrity and service to housing and philanthropic activities. Ed Stavitsky was well known to me as Father of Housing for Black people, at a time when Black people were being gouged by landlords and had nothing to show for their money and efforts except Rent Receipts. Ed created a new dimension for Black people to own homes - which factor probably prevented riots and virtual holocaust from taking place at that time." - 1973

Mrs Jennie L. Lemon says - "My business address is Newark City Hall, Broad Street, Newark. I am a Lecturer and Public Speaker on Government and Community Relations in the Water Department and then spent 12 years with the Department of Administration of which six (6) years was as the Assistant to the Mayor of Newark, and in that capacity handled the problems of the community. I have also served as Information Analyst for the City of Newark. I have known Edward Stavitsky for 25 years. He provided a new and needed dimension for Black people at a time when no one else cared or would or could do anything to help them. Ed Stavitsky dedicated himself to the objective of accomplishing housing for the Black community by providing the financial assistance, his own personal guarantees and "guts" - necessary to accomplish it. He was the only licensed Real Estate Broker in New Jersey who employed Black secretaries and Black salespeople - at a time when no-one else employed a single Black person in mortgage and banking and real estate services. Stavitsky also had the foresight and the genuine interest and concern for the welfare of the Black people who, after achieving home ownership, became the target for various frauds and cheats. He led a crusade in the '50's - almost single-handed - to counteract corruption in the City of Newark, by warning people not to fall prey to the F.H.A. siding installers. Stavitsky helped to create a strength and pride in home ownership for the Black community. Unfortunately, our society did not produce enough people like Ed Stavitsky; if it had, Newark never would have been ravaged by riots and our dream of an integrated society would have become a reality. Edward Stavitsky will always be remembered as a humane, dedicated, totally unselfish person who changed the hopeless pattern of more than 15,000 peoples lives to one of promise, security and self respect." - 1973

Lucius H. Tompkins says – “I have been in the life insurance business for over 30 years. I am the first Black person appointed to the position of Motor Vehicle Agent in the State of New Jersey. I have known Ed Stavitsky for 25 years and he is responsible for my training and licensing in the real estate brokerage field. I was the first Black person given the opportunity to learn the mortgage and real estate business. His father, Michael A. Stavitsky, was given the first Federal Savings & Loan Charter in the State of New Jersey, and Edward Stavitsky was the pioneer in the area of financing home purchases for Black families in the United States. The G.I. Bill was purely a meaningless "piece of paper" until Edward Stavitsky gave it meaning. He was the only person who was able to convince the financial community - on a national basis - in the late '40's and early '50's - to
recognize Blacks as responsible, trustworthy and accountable. He provided a dignity for our people which was totally lacking before his energies took over and made it all possible. His empathy for our goals and objectives advanced our cause in a positive and healthy manner by decades. Edward and his brother Albert performed the greatest example of generosity, kindness and love I have ever personally encountered - when they gifted 36 properties that they owned, consisting of three, four and six family homes, which were free and clear of all liens and encumbrances, to favourite tenants of theirs for the sum of One Dollar representing the total consideration for the conveyance. Ed Stavitsky unbelievably found the time to assist everyone of his family of Buyers and Tenants with medical, dental and legal problems and provided the timely advice, counsel and all kinds of assistance in the areas of music, sports and higher education - for the children
.” – 1973