Lampert Managed To Talk His Way Out of the Situation

The Eddie Lampert kidnapping story.  Illustration.In 2003, Eddie Lampert was on top of the world.

His hedge fund, ESL Investments, was doing very well.

Lampert was developing quite a reputation on Wall Street, with some even comparing him to Warren Buffett.

In 2004, Lampert would reportedly earn over $1 billion in a single year.


The problem? Lampert was also attracting the wrong kind of attention.

In January of 2003, Lampert was leaving his office late on a Friday night when he was accosted for four men in the company parking garage.

The four men, led by a young ex-Marine, had done a search of rich people who lived in their area. They had settled on kidnapping Eddie Lampert, who had made a name for himself as of late due to his involvement in Kmart.

The four men forced Lampert into their vehicle, and then took the hedge fund manager to a hotel and tied him up. He would sit in a bathtub for days, unable to move.

The men forced Lampert to make a recording, which they would play for his wife, Kinga, over the phone.

The kidnappers told Lampert that they had been hired to kill him, and were set to be paid $5 million.

Pay us $1 million, they said, and you can go.


Lampert was smart - he went along with what the kidnappers asked, and he made sure to never look them in the face.

All the while, Lampert remained certain that he was going to be killed.

As hours turned into days, the kidnappers became more and more nervous.

The kidnappers then made a fatal mistake - they ordered pizza using Lampert's credit card.

Lampert, always the negotiator, sensed an opening.

The police are going to track that transaction and be here soon, Lampert said. Why don't you let me go instead, I'll give you $40,000 and we'll call it even?

The kidnappers agreed to this deal, and Lampert was dropped off on the street.


Lampert walked to the nearby police station and the kidnappers were quickly apprehended.

After finishing up in the police station, Lampert walked to his house, where he was greeted by a crowd of worried family members and friends.

After giving everyone a hug and eating some food, Lampert got back to work on the Kmart deal.

Filed under: Hedge Fund News

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