Ken Griffin is as private a man as one can be when one is a high-profile hedge-fund billionaire. Still, a few things have trickled out about him over the years: He’s the richest person in Illinois. He’s a very big fan of the milkshakes he grew up enjoying. Every now and then he likes to splurge on some things to hang upon his many, many walls. He bends men to his will by hypnotizing them with fear (and the transfer of milk foam from one coffee cup to another). He is an expert negotiator of ironclad, unbreakable prenuptial agreements. It’s best not to cross him. He wants their body, they like his money.
This holiday season, the man of few words is giving another gift of himself. No, we’re not talking about the (we hope) Ken Griffin Lakefront Trail, upon which future generations of Chicagoans can freeze their asses off running through the crippling gale-force winds whipping across Lake Michigan in January without having to worry about being paralyzed by the oncoming bicyclist also being assaulted by a 40 MPH blood-chilling gust. No, his gift is giving us an insight into his reasons for spending $12 million of his $8 billion to build separate running, biking and Ken Griffin trails before hurrying off and leaving Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to the wolves of the press.
"I'm a runner, I'm a biker, and I will be clear, the vision of separating the runners and the bikers on the lakefront is a vision I'm 100 percent behind," said Citadel founder Griffin, who is worth an estimated $7.8 billion.
Typically a man of few words — as a major political donor, he lets his money do the talking, and remains awkward in front of the cameras — Griffin bolted for the door of the Ellis Arts and Recreation Center immediately after issuing a few perfunctory remarks in praise of Emanuel at a news conference to announce his donation….
Though Griffin was by then out of earshot, Emanuel, left behind at the podium, gestured to the room full of reporters and replied, "Thanks for leaving me with all of your friends!"
Ken Griffin plays Santa, gives $12 million lakefront gift to city [Chicago Tribune]