Comedy Central host Jon Stewart regularly bashes American multimillionaires for their wealth while ignoring the awkward fact that he’s one of them.
Though Stewart distances himself from the “one-percenters” and bellows over their extravagance, his bank accounts bear all the marks of the “multi, multi, multi, multi millionaires” he mocks. The 49-year-old Stewart, born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, makes more than 300 times the median American salary, owns three luxury homes and sometimes doesn’t pay his taxes.
In January Stewart exploded on-air over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s income level. “That’s almost — that’s almost $57,000 a day!” he gushed.
But Stewart’s own income level brings him and his wife Tracey approximately $41,000 a day. The celebrity income-handicapping website Celebrity Net Worth lists his annual salary as $15 million and estimates his net worth at $80 million.
While $80 million doesn’t yet put Stewart into the same wealth bracket as Romney, he is already on pace to be richer than the former Massachusetts governor when he reaches his age.
At his current earning rate, The Daily Show host’s net worth will be $320 million by the time he turns 65 — Romney’s current age. And that total doesn’t include increases in property value or other assets Stewart might accumulate.
And then there are the houses. When Arizona Sen. John McCain ran for president in 2008, he was criticized for not knowing how many houses he owned. (The answer: seven.) Stewart is well on his way to McCain country, with three opulent mansions whose combined value is $12.8 million.
He doesn’t technically own those homes: Using a trick mastered by countless one-percenters, the properties were purchased by private trusts. Stewart’s trusts are named after his pets.
The super-wealthy often make big-ticket purchases through trusts in order to protect their other assets from lawsuits, diminish estate tax liability, and avoid public scrutiny.
The satirist started his real estate empire in 2005 when The Stanley Monkey Trust — named after his cat Stanley and one of his pit bull terriers, Monkey — purchased a two-story Manhattan penthouse for $5.8 million.
That deluxe apartment in the sky spans 6,000-square-feet and has 40 windows, a 600-foot terrace, and a 1,200-foot private roof, the New York Observer reported in 2005.
Another legal entity, The Shamsky Monkey Trust, purchased two more houses in 2009 and 2010. (Shamsky, named after 1969 “Miracle Mets” outfielder Art Shamsky, is Stewart’s other pit bull terrier.)
The lakefront mansions Stewart bought in 2009 and 2010 are in Red Bank, New Jersey. They cost him $3,800,000 and $3,200,000 and — for reasons TheDC was unable to determine — are next door to one another.
Online real estate search engines show that the Shamsky Monkey Trust also owns a $675,000 house in North Haven, New York. Public records indicate that Stewart’s older brother, Lawrence Leibowitz, lives there.