Columbia University President Lee Bollinger currently sits between RAND Corporation Board of Trustees Chairman Ronald Olson and Coca-Cola Company board member Barry Diller on the Washington Post Company media conglomerate’s board of directors. Following is the fifth part of an article about the Washington Post Company and Newsweek magazine’s hidden history which first appeared in the February 17, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper, Downtown:
Newsweek Magazine’s Historical CIA Connection—Part 5
In 1929, the founder of Allied Chemical Corporation—a multi-millionaire Republican Wall Street investment banker named Eugene Meyer—had made a secret offer to purchase the Washington Post for $5 million. But Ned McLean, despite his mental condition, was able to block the sale of the Washington Post to Meyer at that time.
On June 13, 1933, however, the Washington Post announced that the 57-year-old Meyer had bought the Washington Post at a June 3, 1933 auction for $825,000—although “on June 4, 1933 the [Washington] Star carried a denial to the AP in New York that he was the purchaser,” according to The `Washington Post’: The First 100 Years. The same book also noted that “by 1915 Meyer’s fortune was in the $50 to $60 million range,” “dealings in railroads, copper, oil and chemicals swelled his fortune; he was the chief organizer of the giant Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation, the dividends of which helped finance The [Washington] Post,” and “he made millions with the Fisher auto body brothers.” Since 1933, the Washington Post has been owned by the Meyer-Graham Dynasty.
Eugene Meyer was born in 1875 in California, the son of Marc Meyer—who “directed all West Coast investments” of the international Lazard Freres investment banking firm’s “London, Paris and American banks and relished the international banker’s life,” according to Katharine The Great by Deborah Davis. Following the financial panic of 1893, Eugene Meyer’s father was transferred to Lazard Freres’ Lower Manhattan office and the Meyer family moved into an East 72nd St. townhouse in Manhattan.
After graduating from Yale University in 1895, Eugene Meyer began to play the stock market with money provided by his father, by investing in lucrative railroad stock like Northern Pacific, at the same time he worked for his father’s Lazard Freres investment banking firm. By 1901, Meyer’s railroad stock was worth about $50,000 and he sold the stock, purchased a New York Stock Exchange seat for $50,000, left the Lazard Freres firm and—at the age of 26—began to work full-time as a Wall Street stockbroker. He then took advantage of a business clash between J.P. Morgan and former Newsweek stockholder Averell Harriman’s father [E.H. Harriman] for control of some railroad companies to acquire $500,000 more in stock-dealing profits. Utilizing this $500,000, he next started his own brokerage firm—Eugene Meyer and Company—in 1903.
During the next 30 years, Meyer married the original New York Sun’s first woman reporter—Agnes Elizabeth Ernst—in 1910, moved into his own townhouse with her on East 70th St. and Park Ave., and paid for dresses which cost $1,000 apiece, a $60,000 string of pearls from Tiffany and a $24,000 diamond necklace for his wife. He also set up a large fund of money for the personal use of the grandmother of Washington Post Company Chairman of the Board and Columbia Pulitzer Prize Board member Donald Graham. The father of Katharine Meyer-Graham and grandfather of Donald Graham also became involved with the creation of Allied Chemical Corporation and Anaconda Copper around this time, and both companies profited enormously from World War I.
Meyer’s Anaconda supplied the Allied military with copper wire for their communications network and Meyer’s Allied Chemical supplied all the blue dye for U.S. Navy uniforms. By the time Eugene Meyer purchased the Washington Post, his Allied Chemical stock investment alone was worth around $43 million.
In accumulating his fortune prior to entering the world of U.S. Establishment journalism in 1933, Eugene Meyer had profited enormously from the economic panic of 1907 (which left 36 percent of all U.S. skilled workers unemployed), had become a key figure in the copper industry, with investments in Utah Copper, Chile Copper and Inspiration Copper, and had aligned himself with the seven Guggenheim brothers of the Guggenheim Dynasty that controlled $1 billion worth of Los Angeles Times-Mirror-Newsday stock during the 1980s. Around the time Meyer was aligned with Guggenheim corporate interests, the Guggenheim Trust was responsible for much destruction of the earth. As Downtown noted in its March 6, 1991 issue:
“In The Guggenheims: 1848-1988 book, John Davis described some of the environmental effects of the Guggenheim family’s late 19th-century and early 20th-century business activity:
“`Piles of debris and broken rocks, and heaps of slags are all that remain of former Guggenheim operations in Colorado. In Bingham Canyon, Utah, where the Guggenheims created the world’s first open-pit copper mine, there is now a vast devastation, the earth so gouged and lacerated as to seem the scene of some cosmic disaster. Kennecott: an entire mountain destroyed in Alaska. Chuquicamata: an entire mountain destroyed in Chile. Rivers everywhere contaminated with the detritus of Guggenheim mines and smelters.’”
Since Meyer was both a business associate of the Guggenheim Dynasty and an investor in competing Anaconda’s Inspiration Copper subsidiary, he was able to end a 1910 price war between Guggenheim corporate interests and Anaconda corporate interests and get them to agree to limit copper production and raise their prices, although such a price-fixing scheme was “clearly illegal under American law,” according to Katharine The Great.
After purchasing the money-losing Washington Post in 1933, Meyer “quickly arranged his property so that the losses of the Post could be played off against the taxable income from his other investments” until the Washington Post became a profitable operation again over 20 years later, according to The Powers That Be by David Halberstam.
In addition to accumulating his Allied Chemical stock, the Washington Post and additional U.S. corporate stock, Eugene Meyer also accumulated a number of expensive houses during the 20th Century, such as a house on Crescent Place in Washington, D.C. which was worth $1 ½ million in 1948 and a mansion on his estate in Mt. Kisco, New York.
After World War II, Meyer sold all the voting stock of his Washington Post Company to his daughter, Katharine Graham-Meyer, and his son-in-law, Philip Graham, for $1 in 1948. And before his death in 1959, Meyer passed on most of his non-voting company stock to his four other children. (end of part 5)
Next: Columbia University’s Washington Post Company/Newsweek Link and Newsweek Magazine’s Historical CIA Connection—Part 6 (The Meyer-Graham Dynasty Era)