James Lebenthal

James Lebenthal

After graduating Princeton in 1949, Jim Lebenthal took the glamour road with dream jobs at Life Magazine, NBC, Disney, Y&R, and Ogilvy & Mather. He joined the family municipal bond business in 1963 at age 35. That was before landlords in the South Bronx started walking away from buildings that were worth less than the bills for back taxes. It was before NYC began borrowing for daily operating expenses. It was before the City declared a moratorium" on the repayment of $1.6 billion municipal notes, and before the flag touched the ground in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, the home states of the Washington Public Power Supply System. It was also before inroads were made on the hallowed exemption of munis from the federal income tax. Municipal bonds still had 25 glorious years to go before the Supreme Court would knock tax exemption off its constitutional high horse and rule in South Carolina v. Baker that municipal bonds were tax free only by the grace of Congress and not by any constitutional right.Appearing in Lebenthal & Company radio and TV commercials, Jim applied the same explicatory skills that he once had used to IBM mainframe computers on the map, to putting tax free municipal bonds within the reach and comprehension of the individual investor. And for his pains, Jim has won lifetime achievement awards from the National Federal of Municipal Analysts and The Bond Market Association (predecessor to SIFMA) Jim temporarily retired in 2006, when Lebenthal's parent company, Advest was sold to Merrill Lynch.He returned to the municipal bond business 3 years ago as co-founder with daughter Alexandra Lebenthal of the new broker/dealer Lebenthal & Co., LLC and their new Wealth and Family Office Management firm, Alexandra & James.Jim is the author of "Confessions of a Municipal Bond Salesman" (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Publisher) and "Lebenthal On Munis - Straight Talk About Tax-Free Municipal Bonds for the Troubled Investor Deciding, 'Yes...' or 'No!'" (Morgan-James Publishing LLC) "