Stanley Chera

Stanley Chera made his name with his retail acquisitions and was a longtime friend to President Donald Trump.

The Brooklyn native founded Crown Acquisitions, known for its splashy retail purchases along Fifth Avenue, and donated thousands of dollars to help Trump win the White House. He also used his wide influence to aid the campaign.

Chera got his start working at his father’s children’s store in Downtown Brooklyn, the Suzette Kiddie Store, which was later renamed Young World, and jumped into real estate because he was frustrated with the amount of cash he forked over to landlords each month.

“I was paying $2,000 a month rent, and I was doing business up to the sky,” Chera told The New York Times in 2010. “I said, ‘What am I doing?’ The building next door came up for sale, so I purchased it and started accumulating properties in the city.”

He later founded Crown Acquisitions — currently run by his sons Richard and Isaac — which owns stakes in the Olympic Tower at 641 Fifth Avenue, the Cartier Mansion at 635 Fifth Avenue, and 450 Park Avenue, according to its website.

“He was a larger-than-life personality,” Jonathan Mechanic, the head of Fried Frank’s real estate group who worked with Chera on several deals, previously told CO. “He was smart, he was funny, he was warm, he was embracing, and he was well-loved by the community — both the Syrian community and [the] real estate community.” (Chera died April 11, 2020 at age 78 due to complications caused by the coronavirus.)

Aside from his political donations, Chera was known for his philanthropic work, giving millions to the Rabin Medical Center, National Jewish Health and charities dedicated to helping special needs children.