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Dan Gilbert (businessman)

Daniel Gilbert
Born (1962-01-17) January 17, 1962
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Residence Franklin, Michigan
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Michigan State University;
Wayne State University Law School
Occupation Businessman, sports franchise owner, attorney
Known for founder of Quicken Loans
Net worth Increase US $4.5 Billion (Dec. 2014)[1]
Spouse(s) Jennifer Gilbert
Children 5

Daniel "Dan" Gilbert (born January 17, 1962) is the chairman and founder of Rock Ventures [2] and Quicken Loans Inc., the majority owner of the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers, the American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters, the Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators and the NBA Development League's Canton Charge. He is also the operator of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio [3] and chairman of Rock Gaming, which opened its first Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland in May 2012.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Quicken Loans 2.1
    • Sports franchise ownership 2.2
      • "The Letter" 2.2.1
    • Other businesses and investments 2.3
    • Detroit initiatives 2.4
  • Philanthropy 3
  • Personal life 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Gilbert was born to a Jewish[4][5][6] family in Detroit, Michigan[7] and grew up in Southfield, Michigan.[8] He earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.[3] While in college he earned a real estate agent’s license[9] and while in law school, he worked part time at his parent's Century 21 Real Estate agency.[10]

According to, Gilbert was arrested in 1981 in relation to gambling charges which were eventually dropped. Gilbert has no criminal record.[11]


Quicken Loans

Dan Gilbert, recognizing that the real potential was in originating mortgages and not in selling homes,[9] founded Rock Financial in 1985, along with Ron Berman, Lindsay Gross and his younger brother, Gary Gilbert. The company grew into one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the country and in the late 1990s, launched its Internet strategy and quickly positioned itself as the fastest growing direct mortgage lender on the Internet.[3]

In 2000, software maker Intuit Inc. purchased Rock Financial. The national web operation was renamed "Quicken Loans" and grew substantially as the leading provider of direct-to-consumer home loans on the Internet, offering mortgages in all 50 states. Gilbert remained at the company as its CEO. In 2002, he led a small group of private investors and purchased Quicken Loans and its affiliated national title company, Title Source, Inc., back from Intuit. To this day, Gilbert continues to serve as the chairman of Quicken Loans Inc.[3]

In 2010, Quicken Loans moved its headquarters and 1,700 of its employees to downtown Detroit. After moving all 3,600 Michigan-based team members into Detroit’s urban core by the end of 2010, the company has since created thousands of new jobs and now has approximately 8,000 team members in downtown Detroit and an additional 2,000 around the country.

The company has the been the subject of numerous state, federal, and class action lawsuits alleging fraud and misconduct.[12][13]

Sports franchise ownership

Gilbert became majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in March 2005 and undertook a complete overhaul of the front office, coaching staff, player personnel and game presentation.[14]

In 2007, Gilbert bought out the dormant Utah Grizzlies American Hockey League franchise, and moved them to Cleveland renaming them the Lake Erie Monsters. In 2011, Gilbert purchased the NBADL's New Mexico Thunderbirds, and moved them to Canton, Ohio (about an hour drive south of Cleveland) renaming them the Canton Charge, and making them the Cavaliers' new D-League affiliate. In early 2012, Gilbert became the new owner of the Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators.

"The Letter"

Gilbert received national attention on July 8, 2010, when NBA basketball player and NE Ohio native LeBron James announced that he was leaving the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat on a highly criticized[15] ESPN television special dubbed The Decision.[16] Following the special, Gilbert published an open letter in Comic Sans font (dubbed nationally as "The Letter" as a counterpoint to The Decision)[17] to Cleveland Cavaliers fans in which he strongly criticized how James made his announcement.[18]

On July 12, 2010, NBA Commissioner David Stern fined Gilbert $100,000 for his remarks in the letter.[19] Though some members of the media criticized Gilbert for this letter, many Cleveland Cavaliers fans embraced him for it and even offered to pay the fine. Gilbert instead insisted on donating the money to charity.

Four years later, Gilbert and James met in person to discuss the letter. Gilbert apologized to LeBron, stating "LeBron, we had five good years together and one bad night, Like a marriage that's good and then one bad thing happens and you never talk to each other again."[20] The two embraced, and LeBron subsequently returned to Cleveland in free agency days later.

Other businesses and investments

Gilbert is a founding partner in private equity group Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC (RBE). The partnership invests in growing businesses in the financial services, Internet technology, consumer-direct marketing, and the sports and entertainment industries. RBE has significant investments in Rapid Advance,[21] Northcentral University, Protect America, AccountNow, Purchasing Power, Triad Retail Media, One on One Marketing, and Connect America.[22][23]

In addition, Gilbert is a principal of Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that funds start-up and early-stage technology companies in Detroit. DVP's portfolio currently includes companies such as time-based discount site Quikly, DJ app Rockbot, mobile app developer Detroit Labs, and CAPTCHA replacement company Are You a Human.[24]

Gilbert is also invested and involved in the operation of several consumer-based technology-centered businesses, including Fathead, Veritix, Xenith, StyleCaster and Quizzle.[3]

Gilbert launched Bizdom in 2007. The non-profit entrepreneurial academy trains, mentors and finances business builders in their start-up enterprises in the cities of Detroit and Cleveland.

In November 2009, Gilbert and a group of partners successfully backed a state-wide referendum to bring casino gaming to Ohio’s four largest cities. Through a joint venture with Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the groups operate urban-based casinos in both Cleveland and Cincinnati.[3] The first of the casinos, Horseshoe Cleveland, opened in May 2012.[3] In 2013, Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity for Gilbert's investments and real estate holdings, announced it had formed Athens Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Rock Gaming, and acquired the majority interest in Greektown Superholdings Inc., owner of the Greektown Casino-Hotel located in downtown Detroit.[25]

Detroit initiatives

Quicken Loans moved its headquarters and 1,700 of its team members to downtown Detroit in August 2010, where Gilbert and the company are helping lead a revitalization of Detroit’s urban core.[3] Today, Gilbert-owned businesses employ 11,500 people in the city.

In 2011, Gilbert's Rock Ventures group purchased several buildings in downtown Detroit, including the historic Madison Theatre Building,[26] Chase Tower and Two Detroit Center (parking garage),[27] Dime Building (renamed Chrysler House),[28] First National Building[29] and three smaller buildings on Woodward Avenue.[30] In 2012, Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity formed to provide operational coordination, guidance and integration of Gilbert’s portfolio of companies, investments and real estate, purchased the former Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch Building,[31] One Woodward Avenue, 1201 Woodward (Kresge Building), and five smaller buildings on Woodward Avenue and Broadway Street, totaling 630,000 square feet of commercial space in downtown Detroit.[32] In 2013, Rock Ventures purchase the 1001 Woodward office tower, several smaller buildings in the downtown area and announced, along with The Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Detroit Economic Growth Group, a placemaking plan for Detroit's urban core.

Rock Ventures' downtown Detroit real estate investments include more than 60 properties (buildings and/or store fronts) totaling 9 million square feet. Four million square feet is commercial space; another 3.6 million square feet is parking (10,096 parking spaces).[33]


Gilbert's eldest son was born with Neurofibromatosis.[34] Gilbert established two Neurofibromatosis research clinics at the Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, D.C. and at the Dana Children’s Hospital at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel.[35] Gilbert also serves on the boards of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation (an affiliate of CNMC);[35] and is the vice chairman of the not-for-profit M-1 RAIL initiative which is dedicated to promoting light-rail transportation in downtown Detroit.[35]

Personal life

Gilbert resides in Franklin, Michigan with his wife Jennifer Gilbert and their five children.[1] His wife serves on the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and also serves on the boards of ORT America and the Israeli and Overseas Committee of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.[36][37]


  1. ^ a b Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Daniel Gilbert Dec. 2014
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Quicken Loans Leadership Profiles". Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  4. ^ Cleveland Jewish News: "It's official! Dan Gilbert is Cavaliers' new boss" By DOUGLAS J. GUTH March 3, 2005
  5. ^ The Tablet Magazine: "Introducing … The Non-Jewish Conspiracy: NBA Draft lottery produces watershed moment in American Jewish history" By Marc Tracy May 18, 2011
  6. ^ Forbes Israel: Jewish Billionaires - Profile of Daniel Gilbert April 14, 2013 (in Hebrew)
  7. ^ Tech Crunch: "An Interview With Dan Gilbert, Self-Made Hometown Billionaire And The Leader Of The Detroit Renaissance" by Matt Burns December 3, 2012
  8. ^ "Dan Gilbert's Rock Gaming partners bound by friendship, desire to build upscale 'urban' casinos" By Dave Davis October 15, 2011
  9. ^ a b New York Times: "A Missionary’s Quest to Remake Motor City" By DAVID SEGAL April 13, 2013
  10. ^ BusinessWeek: "Left Behind by LeBron" By Ira Boudway November 18, 2010
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Cleveland Cavaliers Front Office Profiles". Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  15. ^ "LeBron James' Decision a Cruel Blow to His Hometown". AOL. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  16. ^ "LeBron James' decision: the transcript". ESPN. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  17. ^ The Letter - NBC
  18. ^ "Dan Gilbert letter: Cavaliers owner unloads on LeBron James". The Washington Post. 
  19. ^ "Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert Fined $100K for LeBron Comments". SB Nation. 12 July 2010. 
  20. ^ Albom, Mitch. "Dan Gilbert tells how he and LeBron James mended fences". USA Today. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Medical Alert | Medical Alert Systems". Connect America. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  23. ^ "Rockbridge Growth Equity Website". Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  24. ^ "Detroit Venture Partners' DNA". Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Quicken Loans Group Buys Madison Theatre Building". Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  27. ^ "Dan Gilbert completes purchase of Chase Tower downtown, nearby parking garage". Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  28. ^ "Dan Gilbert to Buy Yet Another Building". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  29. ^ "Dan Gilbert Closes on First National Building". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2011-09-26. 
  30. ^ "Bedrock Real Estate Services, Dan Gilbert's Real Estate Arm". Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  31. ^ "Dan Gilbert buys Federal Reserve building in Detroit". Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  32. ^ "Quicken Loans Press Room". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Neurofibromatosis can't change Nick Gilbert's attitude: 'Look at the bright side of everything'" By Mary Schmitt Boyer October 30, 2011
  35. ^ a b c Children's Tumour Foundation: "Daniel B. Gilbert" retrieved August 31, 2013
  36. ^ Detroit Jewish News: "Jennifer Gilbert is poised to revolutionize the residential interior design industry" February 9, 2012
  37. ^ Children's National Medical Center: "The Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute" retrieved August 31, 2013

External links

  • Dan Gilbert's Blog: Choose Thinking
  • Dan Gilbert on Twitter
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