Photo: Business Insider
Robert “Bobby” Halper, a retired Wall Streeter and former vice chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, is one of the biggest benefactors of the Occupy Wall Street protests, according to the New York Times.The NYT traced Halper, 52, to the movement through Adbusters, the non-profit Canadian-based publication that orchestrated the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Halper is the largest single donor to Adbusters.
Over the last 20 years he’s donated an estimated $50,000 to $75,000.
He also wrote the publication a check for $20,000 after a steak dinner with one of his friend’s Kalle Lasn, the editor and chief of Adbusters, where Lasn told Halper about his plans to occupy Wall Street, says the Times.
The Occupy Wall Street protest, which began as a few dozen college kids camping out in Manhattan’s Financial District, has swelled to a massive movement with satellite versions popping up across the nation and in other countries.
Halper visits the Occupy Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park headquarters almost everyday, but he never reveals his past as a Wall Streeter, the report said.
During his stint on Wall Street, Halper served as the president of HPR Commodities as well as vice chairman of the NYMEX and prior to that served on the exchange’s board of directors.
Halper started his career in commodities as a floor clerk, purchased NYMEX Division membership in 1983 and started trading heating oil futures.
In 2005, he made the Trader’s Monthly Top 100 Traders list where he was tied for 12th. Here’s what was said about him when he won:
“When it comes to arbing crude oil against gasoline, Bob Halper wrote the book. According to some, he will go down as one of the biggest crack-spread traders the NYMEX has ever seen. Although in recent years he’s given up some ground to younger guns, one person close to the exchange says last year he helped himself to around $10 million in profits.”
He retired from trading in 2007, but he’s definitely still a member of the 1%. His estimated income in 2005 was $10 to $15 million.
Today he still donates around $100,000 to philanthropies every year, he told the Times.
Interesting: He also donated $2,500, the maximum contribution, to Mitt Romney’s campaign for the Republican nomination.
“My giving is a little A.D.D. — like me,” Halper explained to the Times.
Halper, who’s the son of a liquor store owner in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, grew up in Brooklyn and on Long Island.
He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in economics from the State University of New York Bighamton.