Sol Kerzner is a South African billionaire who has made his wealth through hotel and casino businesses. The Kezner International CEO, owns and operates different businesses around the world, including USA, South Africa, and Mexico.
Sol Kerzner Biography
Sol Kerzner was born Solomon Kerzner in the town of Troyeville, Johannesburg in South Africa. The man, who would grow to be wealthy and influential, was born to a family of Jewish Russian immigrants as the last child in a family of four.
Born into a small business family, Kerzner was soon to join business immediately he graduated from the university. He attended the University of Witwatersrand where he obtained a B.Com (Accounting), and qualified as a chartered accountant.
Soon after he graduated, Kerzner took over the family business. His family was into small hotel business, and it was this business that he adopted and changed how it was done in the country as a whole.
Apart from other women he was known with, including a model, Christina Estrada whom he dated for close to seven years and even engaged, Kerzner had been married to four women.
His first marriage was to Maureen Alder. The marriage however ended in the early 1970s in a divorce. Soon he got married to his second wife, Shirley Bestbier, with whom he had two children. The marriage didn’t last long as Shirley later committed suicide. In 1980, he married model and beauty queen, Anneline Kriel who was 1974’s miss world. The marriage lasted only five years.
It was after this marriage that he had a rater long relationship with Christina Estrada, whom he ditched for her friend and mother of two, Heather Murphy. Heather was over 30 years younger than Kezner when they got married in 2000.
In 2011, Heather Kezner sought and got a divorce, citing Sol’s having no time for her as reason for the divorce.
Sol had five children; three boys and two girls. He had three children with his first wife and two with his second.
Sol Kerzner began his business with his first hotel, which he purchased in Durban in 1962. From the success of this hotel, he built a five star beachfront hotel in Umhalanga, South Africa. The hotel, Beverly Hills, began operating in 1964.
The next project of Kerzner was a massive Elangeni Hotel, which is now known as Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani. After this, he partnered with South African breweries in 1989 to build a chain of Southern Sun hotels. Southern sun grew to operate 30 luxury hotels with over 7000 rooms by 1983.
Sol Kerzner continued building his empire and spreading it beyond South Africa to USA, where he opened the Mohegan Sun Casino in 1996. Before this however, he had had his first overseas hotel in Mauritius where he opened the Le Saint Geran.
While his business expanded to different parts of the world, his most ambitious project still remained the Sun City which he made in 1979. However, he was to later sell this property and other South African holdings to expand his businesses to other parts of the world.
One of his popular and international creations is the One&Only resort which he launched in 2002. The resort operates in countries including Dubai, Mexico, Mauritius, and South Africa.
Sol kerzner net worth: $400 Million (2016)
Controversy and Tragedy
Sol Kerzner has somehow not stayed away from the aisle of controversies. Since from his beginning of business, he has always been involve in various controversies.
After the establishment of Sun City, the place was allegedly known for various “atrocities”, such as gambling, pornography and prostitution. It was said that it was one of the few places in the apartheid South Africa where blacks and whites would drink together, gamble and have sex without minding one’s color of skin. To some, Sun City could as well go for Sin City.
He was as well accused of bribing for various reasons, including to a prime minister in South Africa for Gambling concessions.
Another thing with Zerzner was his seeming inability to keep women. Apart from the second who committed suicide, all three other marriages ended in divorce, with his last wife, seeming to be the one that had stayed longest, for 11 years.
The Zerzner International founder has as well had tragedies in his life. The first was the suicide of his second wife, Shirley Bestbier. While this left him distraught, his worst tragedy would come with the death of his eldest son, Butch Kerzner.
The death of his son in a helicopter crash in October 2006, has been the biggest tragedy of Kerzner, which he said had changed his life greatly and forever.