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REBNY hosts real estate biggest night of the year, honors industry’s best at 116th annual banquet

Douglas D. Durst, David E. Green, Pamela Liebman, Howard Rubenstein, Gerard V. Schumm and Simon Ziff will receive coveted awards

NEW YORK, November 10, 2011 – Real estate’s elite are already gearing up for the industry’s most anticipated evening of the year, The Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) Annual Banquet.  In its 116th year, the unparalleled deal-making and networking occasion will be held on January 19th, 2012 at the New York Hilton Hotel.  The event will pay tribute to six of the most influential leaders in the real estate industry who have had unprecedented success and demonstrated continued commitment to the city and the industry.


REBNY’s Annual Banquet not only gives real estate executives the opportunity to rub elbows with real estate royalty, but also has been known to forecast the future of the market; historically, a more lively and vivacious crowd is an indicator that more deals are being made and that the market will see a stronger year.


“I look forward to the banquet as an opportunity to bring together some of the best minds in real estate and to celebrate our colleagues who have proven to be champions for our industry,” said REBNY President Steven Spinola. “Through their accomplishments and contributions to the community, this year’s honorees have again confirmed the strength of the New York real estate market and the importance of the industry on our city.”


The evening will also include a video component that asks industry experts about their views on issues that are crucial to New York City’s real estate market today.


This year’s honorees are:


  • Douglas D. Durst, Chairman of The Durst Organization, will receive The Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award, which is presented each year to a REBNY member for a lifetime of exceptional accomplishment in the profession and dedication to leadership in New York real estate.
  • Howard J. Rubenstein, President of Rubenstein Associates, Inc., will receive The Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award, which is presented to a REBNY member for invaluable contributions to New York’s civic welfare and to the real estate community.
  • Simon Ziff, President of The Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, LLC, will receive The Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award, which honors an executive who exemplifies the characteristics of a successful commercial broker.
  • Gerard V. Schumm, Executive Vice President of RFR Realty, LLC, will receive The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award, which recognizes individuals of superior accomplishment in the commercial management industry based on outstanding professionalism, civic achievement and contributions to the real estate industry.
  • Pamela Liebman, President and CEO of The Corcoran Group, will receive The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award, which recognizes meritorious service to the community by a REBNY member.
  • David E. Green, Executive Director of Cushman & Wakefield, will receive The Young Real Estate Man of the Year Award, who is selected by the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association of New York on the basis of integrity, professional and personal ethics as well as knowledge, ability and accomplishments in the field of real estate.  The winner is also chosen for his or her contribution of time and effort to the Association, The Real Estate Board of New York and constructive participation in the life of the community.


“We are proud to recognize these individuals for their charitable contributions to the real estate industry and look forward to their continued success,” added Mr. Spinola.  “I encourage everyone’s attendance. This exciting night is not to be missed.”


REBNY advises those wishing to attend to purchase tickets early.  For more information, contact MaryAnn Aviles at REBNY, 212-532-3100.  Please visit www.REBNY.com.


Headshots available upon request.


The Real Estate Board of New York is the city’s leading real estate trade association with more than 12,000 members.  REBNY represents major commercial and residential property owners and builders, brokers and managers, banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, contractors and other individuals and institutions professionally interested in the city’s real estate.  REBNY is involved in crucial municipal matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes and legislation.  In addition, REBNY publishes reports providing indicators of market prices for both the residential and commercial sectors. Please visit us online at www.REBNY.com.


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About the Honorees


Douglas D. Durst

Chairman, The Durst Organization, Inc.


Douglas Durst is the chairman and a member of the third generation to lead the Durst Organization.


Douglas graduated from the Fieldston School in 1962 and the University of California at Berkeley in 1966. Returning to New York in 1967, he married Susanne, with whom he has three children: Anita, Alexander, and Helena. After two years of study at the Urban Studies Program at New York University, he joined The Durst Organization, learning the business from his father, Seymour, and two uncles, Roy and David.


Douglas is a director of the Real Estate Board of New York, The Graduate Center of City University Foundation, The New School, The Trust for Public Land, and Project for Public Spaces. He is also the co-chair of Friends of the Hudson River Park. Douglas has been involved with the theatrical arts for many years and is a member of the board of directors of The Roundabout Theatre, Primary Stages, and Town Hall NYC.


Along with other family members, he is a trustee of The Old York Foundation, established by his father, which is committed to helping people through education to understand the history and issues facing New York City.  In addition, Douglas has been an environmental activist for many years and created one of the largest organic farms in New York State.


The Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award is named for Bernard H. Mendik, who served as REBNY’s chairperson from 1992 to his passing in 2001.


Howard J. Rubenstein

President, Rubenstein Associates, Inc.


Howard J. Rubenstein has presided over the agency which bears his name since he founded it in 1954.  Today the firm is one of the nation’s largest independent public relations agencies with a staff of more than 200.  In addition to overseeing the agency’s day-to-day activities on behalf of its hundreds of clients, he serves as a valued counselor to some of the most influential and active figures in America today.

He has served as a member of numerous civic and philanthropic organizations, and currently sits on the Executive Committees of the Real Estate Board of New York, NYC & Co., and the Association for a Better New York, which he helped to found.  He is a trustee of the Police Athletic League, the Inner-City Scholarship Fund of the Archdiocese of New York, and the Foundation for the National Archives, as well as a member of the City University of New York Business Leadership Council. He is vice-chairman of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and has served on the Mayor’s Committee on Business & Economic Development for Mayors Beame, Dinkins and Giuliani.  He also has served as a consultant to the United States Foreign Claims Settlement Commission and is a former assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he finished first in his class in the night school division at St. John’s University School of Law, which has also awarded him an honorary doctor of law degree.


The Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award memorializes Mr. Helmsley, his generation’s most admired real estate executive.


Simon Ziff

President, The Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, LLC

Simon Ziff serves as president of The Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, a position he assumed in 1995.  Since joining the firm as an analyst in 1989, he personally has arranged over $20 billion of debt, mezzanine and equity financings for some of the nation’s foremost real estate developers and owners while solidifying the firm’s relationships with key capital sources.  Simon has engineered the firm’s collaborative culture which functions as a magnet for financial talent.  He has directed its evolution as an industry thought-leader with over 30 professionals on the team.

Simon received a B.S. in finance from Pennsylvania State University, and an M.S. in real estate finance from New York University. In May 2002, New York University awarded Simon its second ever distinguished Real Estate Alumni Recognition Award. He has also been recognized on multiple occasions by the Real Estate Board of New York, including as the first recipient of its “Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award” and six times as the recipient of its “Most Ingenuous Deal of the Year” award.  In January 2010, Simon was named a member of the Real Estate Board on New York’s Commercial Board of Directors for his second term, which oversees the commercial brokerage division for REBNY and has been an active participant in teaching a Real Estate Board of New York course. Simon has also been active in leadership of many not-for-profit organizations.


The Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award honors the memory of one of the profession’s most esteemed practitioners.


Gerard V. Schumm

Executive Vice President, RFR Realty LLC


Gerard “Jerry” Schumm began his commercial real estate career in 1972 after completing his studies at St. Francis College (BA, Psychology), with an entry level position in the Uris Organization’s flagship property at the time, 55 Water Street. At the time he believed that real estate would be a temporary career that would occupy his time while he pursued his dream of becoming a professional musician.  As fate would have it, Jerry’s real estate career advanced much more favorably than his music career.


Jerry has been involved in commercial real estate for more than 40 years and has had the good fortune to hold senior level positions at some of the industry’s premier real estate firms and  affiliated service organizations which included: The Uris Organization (1972 – 1977); Olympia and York (1977 – 1992); The Galbreath Organization (1992 – 1994); Axion/Grubb & Ellis (1994 – 1996); Trizec Office Properties (1996 – 2006); Equity Office Properties (2006 – 2007) and Energy Spectrum (2007 –2009). In October of 2009, Jerry joined RFR Realty LLC as an Executive Vice President. His responsibilities include oversight of Property Management, Construction and Leasing.


Throughout his career, Jerry has been associated with numerous charitable organizations including: Mercy Home, Florina Rusi-Marke Cancer Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Special Olympics New York, and the Fountain Gallery where he was a founding member of the annual Celebration of Life event. Jerry has also been associated with several of the key industry related organizations. He has served on BOMA New York’s Management Committee for multiple terms. He has also been a member of REBNY for more than 25 years and has served as the Chairman of the Management Board of Directors for two successive terms. In 2006, he received the Edward A. Riguardi Commercial Management Leadership Award.

Jerry resides in Manalapan, New Jersey with his wife Dinah of 26 years, and his two children. His daughter, Sabrina is 24 and works for Pepsico. His son, Vincent, is 18 and a freshman at Pepperdine University. Jerry’s hobbies include travel, golf, and of course, music.


The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award honors the memory of the late Mr. Brooker, the first Vice President for REBNY’s Management Division and one of the profession’s most respected members.


Pamela Liebman

President and CEO, The Corcoran Group

Pamela Liebman is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Corcoran Group, the country’s premier residential real estate firm, where since 2000 she has provided strategic direction to the company, overseeing its 40 managers, 2,100 employees and corporate projects with sales that have reached more than $18 billion annually.

Under her leadership, Pamela transformed Corcoran into one of the nation’s most successful and prestigious real estate firms. She expanded Corcoran into key East Coast markets with the acquisitions of top tier firms in the south Florida and Hamptons markets and the purchase of Citi-Habitats, New York City’s largest rental brokerage firm.  In addition, under Pamela’s direction, Corcoran acquired The Sunshine Group, the nation’s leading marketing agency for new luxury condominium projects, and created the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group which cemented Corcoran’s position as New York City’s largest and most significant residential real estate firm.

Pamela has been named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by Crain’s New York Business for the past several years and is a nationally recognized market expert frequently quoted by leading news organizations.

Pamela is a long-term supporter of charitable and humanitarian organizations.  She is a founding board member of the Wipe Out Leukemia Forever Foundation which is dedicated to the support of pediatric leukemia research, and she is a member of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer.  Pamela also serves on the board of the USS Intrepid Museum Foundation and is a supporter of the BASF Inner City Scholarship Fund.  For her various social and philanthropic contributions, Pamela has been honored by such organizations as Get Organized New York – the Fund for Public Schools, After-School All-Stars, the Child Development Center of the Hamptons and the University of Massachusetts Alumni Association.

Pamela is married to Dr. Michael Krouse and the proud mother of two daughters.

The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award celebrates the memory of Mr. Gerrety who served with distinction as REBNY’s executive vice president for many years and gave valuable community service to his hometown of Garden City, New York.

David E. Green

Executive Director, Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Mr. Green has more than 25 years of real estate experience working for many of the city’s most reputable brokerage firms and landlords. For the past 15 years, he has worked for such prominent landlords as Harry Macklowe, Equitable Real Estate Investment Management and Vornado Realty Trust. Since joining Cushman & Wakefield, he has advised such noteworthy clients as Morgan Stanley, Hines Interests, L&L Holdings, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, Glorious Sun (NY) and CW Capital. Mr. Green’s career began as a tenant representative at Sutton & Edwards and subsequently Williams Real Estate.

Most recently, Mr. Green was part of the team that completed the repositioning of Two Park Avenue to tenants such as Gilt Group, ASME, North Shore LIJ and Kate Spade.   Other notable transactions he has worked on include the lease renewals of Lazard Frères for 450,000 square feet at 30 Rockefeller Center, Paul Weiss for 390,000 square feet and Schroder’s for 200,000 square feet at Equitable Center, the New York Stock Exchange for 350,000 square feet at 20 Broad and The Limited’s 300,000-square-foot consolidation of its New York offices at 1740 Broadway.

Mr. Green received a degree in Economics from SUNY Binghamton. He is currently a committee member on the Real Estate Board of NY’s Plaza, Grand Central & Midtown West Committees. He served on the Board of Governors for the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association in 2006 and 2007, where he co-chaired the association’s Summer Golf & Tennis Outing for five years.  He is responsible for organizing the Young Men’s/Women’s Real Estate Association annual Thanksgiving “Feed the Less Fortunate” campaign in association with The River Fund New York & iEatGreen LLC, which fed over 350 people last year.  As a result of the event’s association with The River Fund, Mr. Green was asked to be on its Board of Directors in 2010.

Mr. Green resides in Old Bethpage, NY with his wife Rhonda and their children Leah and Benjamin.

The Young Real Estate Man of the Year Award marks exceptional professional performance and commitment to industry causes by a younger member of the profession.

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