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Al Lerner

(1933 - 2002)

Alfred “Al” Lerner (May 8, 1933—October 23, 2002) was a Jewish American businessman and owner of the Cleveland Browns football team.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Lerner was the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. He attended Columbia University. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1955 to 1957, and then sold furniture in New York City, Baltimore and Cleveland. He later moved into real estate and banking. Lerner became chairman of MBNA Bank investing 100 million of his own money in the initial public offering (IPO) of the corporation. He also owned the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League, after purchasing the rights to the team in 1998. Prior to that in 1995 he assisted his friend at the time, Art Modell, former owner of the Browns, in moving Modell's NFL franchise rights from Cleveland to Baltimore. After his death, his son, Randy took over the Browns franchise. Lerner's initials are stitched on the shoulders of the Browns' jerseys.

Lerner donated approximately twenty-five million dollars toward the construction of a new Columbia University student center in 1999, which was named Alfred Lerner Hall in his honor. In 2007, Columbia announced it would honor Lerner's military service in the United States Marine Corps with a plaque to be placed in Lerner Hall.

Sources: Wikipedia