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This is the story of Richard A. Corbett: An alcoholic mother. An absentee father. A youth spent searching for a way to prove himself. A search that leads to boxing titles, street smarts, wilderness survival skills, degrees from Notre Dame and Harvard, an enviable spot in the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, and later a place at Robert Kennedy’s side when he dies.
It all started with lots of dreams and no money, Corbett leaves the secure cocoon of the Kennedy family’s inner circle to find out if he has what it takes to succeed on his own. Having helped manage the Kennedy family’s real-estate trust portfolio, he chooses real estate, but despite good connections and enough bravado to fuel an empire, the climb is treacherous. But life has taught him how to get up again, and long hours spent studying the business files of Joseph Kennedy—a trove of papers left to gather dust—have equipped him with an understanding of what it takes to win. The Kennedy maxims are not for the weak or the hesitant; they’re no-nonsense basics useful only to those with the vision to recognize opportunity and the guts to take the risk.
The story that follows tracks the rough-and-ready life of a man who won’t accept failure as an outcome. Setbacks large and small are mined for lessons on how to do it right the next time. And one small success leads to another, larger one, until the dream achieved is grander than any restless youth could have imagined—and wealth greater than the assets Joe Kennedy accumulated.
In Corbett’s long and remarkably successful career, his commitment to economic development and growth management have been stunningly reflected in the more than $1 billion dollars of complex real estate ventures he’s financed, developed, and constructed, including International Plaza—a mixed use retail, office, and hotel development of approximately three million square feet at the Tampa International Airport. Corbett’s work has generated thousands of permanent jobs, hundreds of new commercial sales entities, office space, adjunct hotels, and restaurants and produces hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the regional economy, yielding substantial tax revenues that benefit the community.