Marty was a giant of a man and was the founder of the Boardroom Reports and Bottom Line/Personal publishing empire. He passed away last Wednesday and following are excerpts of a message I sent to his family that were read to him on Tuesday.
In 1976 through a client – Gerald Schoenfeld – I was called by Marty’s assistant asking if I would meet him for lunch. At lunch, we started talking about many things – his interest was vast – and when I mentioned an article where the subject could have been treated in a different manner, he asked if he could tape what I said. A few days later I received a draft of an article to edit and it appeared in the August 15, 1976 issue. The article was on leveraged buyouts which has been updated a number of times since. Everything in that article is still applicable today. That could sum up Marty’s publications – the news is timely and forever pertinent. Inch by inch, I think Boardroom Reports was the best ever business newsletter and nothing I have not seen comes close to the quality, range, information provided and the ability to easily apply what was in the article.
That beginning led to a friendship and over 450 articles written for Marty’s publications.
The initial association with Marty was a catalyst that enabled me to become a recognized tax expert and innovative CPA. It was a career-making event.
The people I met through Marty included many clients, an editor that published my fourth book (the first three were published by Marty) and the agent that got my next few books published and even serialized in one of the supermarket tabloids.
The family tree of my professional accomplishments starts with Marty and I am deeply indebted to him for that. To recognize what Marty did for me, I am “paying forward” the help and guidance Marty gave me.
Marty has been more than a professional associate – he was a mentor and a helpful counselor when I needed his advice and the benefit of his experience. He has also been a steadfast friend when I needed friendship. That was very important to me, because no matter how successful someone becomes, the road is not a straight line upward and Marty has been someone I could confide in and get the type of advice I needed in the manner I needed to hear it.
For many years, I was the first interviewee for new writers. I also was able to introduce many first-time writers to Marty. Marty used my photo in millions of advertising mailers and now on thee web… making my fave familliar to the many people viewing his promotions today. Maybe, someday, I’ll suggest replacing the photo they took in 1980.
Marty expanded my areas of expertise and while I have been thought of as a tax expert, more than half of my Boardroom Reports articles were on other subjects such as mergers and acquisitions, business management and controls, Chapter 11 strategies, cash management and planning, stock market predictions, occasional “editorializing” and my “best book” lists. When I had a cover story, I sent out copies of the full issue to my entire mailing list. That got me many notes telling me what a great job I was doing with my firm’s newsletter!
The dinners at his office on 42nd Street, then on 72nd Street and currently at the Four Seasons led to many introductions and opportunities. The people I met were World-Class pros in every field and the guest list kept evolving as trends and Marty’s many interests changed. I remember my first introductions to the Internet and email, new medical and health preservation procedures, art trends, best-selling authors, movie makers, designers, advertising legends such as Ned Doyle, copywriters, political leaders, power brokers and a wide range of other trend setters and news makers. When the dinners first started I requested that if they had a last minute opening I would be available and attended many extra dinners. By the way, I still make this request!
One of my proudest professional accomplishments is that I have had an article in every issue except one of Tax HotLine in its 28-year run. It didn’t start out that way – and I didn’t write for the fourth issue – but it evolved and the string actually occurred to me after many years. At Marty’s dinners, my brief bio introduction includes this and, also, that I wrote three books for him as well. Nothing else really counted for me since everything flowed from this.
Throughout the years, many memories slip into my mind. Marty’s eclectic taste made the Boardroom offices seem more like a playground and a contemporary art gallery than a work place. It was not unusual to receive a book, article or cartoon from Marty and I have on my desk an American Flag music box Marty sent me on the tenth anniversary of my association with him. My wife Ronnie still mentions the many holiday parties we attended with the Boardroom staff including the one that was at the Windows on the World.
Marty and Marion Buhagiar authored a book, I Power, which gives a continuous improvement technique that I have been extremely successful with facilitating meetings with clients’ staff that always leads to great ideas and suggestions that are eagerly implemented by our clients.
Marty has an extensive interest in Judaism and encouraged me when I started preparing a weekly emailed Torah commentary (which I did for five years.) Also, in the 37 years I have known Marty, he has never turned down a request for a charitable contribution and he always did it without wanting the public recognition – a true mensch!
Marty has been an invaluable help, mentor and friend and is a giant in his business as well as in the hearts of everyone that has had the pleasure of knowing or working with him. His children Margie, Sarah and Sam have big shoes to fill and have learned from the best. I see that they have become true collaborators and partners with him. That, to me, is one of the greatest accomplishments a father could have.