Jeff Greene (born December 10, 1954) is an American real estate entrepreneur. He is a member of the Democratic Party and was a candidate in the 2010 Senate election primaries in Florida.
Greene was born in 1954 in Worcester, Massachusetts. His father ran a business selling textile mill machinery. His mother was a Hebrew school instructor who taught Greene to “save his pennies, look for value, and never pay retail.” His family moved to Florida in 1970 after his father lost his business. In Florida, his father worked refilling vending machines and his mother worked as a waitress.
Greene worked many jobs to put himself through college at Johns Hopkins University, graduating in three years with a B.A. in economics and sociology. Later he attended Harvard Business School, where he earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 1977. Greene lived in Southern California in the 1980s and 90s and ran in the 1982 Republican primary for the 23rd Congressional District race. Greene lost the primary to David Armor who then lost to incumbent Democrat Anthony C. Beilenson.
Greene began investing in real estate while in business school, and built a successful real estate business from being a mere busboy at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. In mid-2006, Greene, worried about the possible collapse of the real estate market, spoke with John Paulson, a fellow investor who discussed with Greene his investing strategy. They agreed that the real estate market was unstable and a bubble might be forming in housing. After the meeting, Greene engaged in a similar investing strategy to that of Paulson, which involved a series of unconventional investments trading credit default swaps. The return on Greene’s investments ultimately saved his business, and put him on Forbes 400 list.