ORIGINAL ARTICLE published in print version, Investor's Business Daily
BY David Saito-Chung
Emily Salveson has looked to Gerald Loeb for inspiration to thrive and make a difference in business. But only recently did she discover that Loeb looked up to another influential figure in his quest to find true love.
That figure? Ayn Rand.
Salveson, a West Hollywood-based filmmaker and the great grandniece of Gerald and Rose Loeb, found letters shared between Loeb and the famous author and 20th-century philosopher. Their friendship was so deep that Loeb sought her advice on finding a girl to marry.
“She was blunt.” Salveson says. “Rand told Loeb to avoid women of high society because they were all ‘bored and boring.’”
“The only difference between women who sat in expensive tea salons in New York City and those who walked by these places was what they ordered on the menu.” Rand wrote “instead, find something you’re interested in, then meet people who have that same interest.”
It’s not clear how Loeb met his future bride. According to Laura Salveson, Emily’s mother and self-professed “keeper of the family lore,” the two met while visiting a mutual friend in a hospital.
“He was vulnerable and a bit insecure about finding love, and was so overjoyed to find it in my great-grand-aunt Rose,” Emily says. “It was endearing, his ability to move mountains and still feel vulnerable about finding ‘the one.’”
Jack Warner, famed former co-head of Warner Bros., and Rand succeeded in getting Loeb to executive-produce The Fountainhead, based on Rand’s novel. Rand also shaped a script for the film.
In some ways, the two couldn’t have been more different. Rose had already married twice. She had been a big personality. Loeb constantly read. He was an excellent listener. “Rose was boisterous. I think he was a cerebral introvert,” Laura says. “Gerald could seem scary, unapproachable. He wore thick glasses.”
Yet there was no question that Loeb treated his family with affection.
According to Laura, at the Loebs’ “Sliding Shutters” country house in Connecticut, the couple spent time with a pair of well-groomed poodles, one of which was named Gorgeous George.
A pair of married Swedish servants would move furniture outside so Loeb and Rose could have lunch in the fresh air.
They frequently entertained Emily’s father, Kent, and his mother, Joan - the daughter of Rose’s sister Anita - on the weekends. Kent remembers his grand-uncle Gerald placing him on his knee while the family watched the movie Run Silent, Run Deep in the house’s screening room.
“Gerald had a bowling alley, and it made for a lot of fun,” Kent says. “Me, my brother and the dogs would hike all over the properties, its streams and trails. The trees didn’t quite have tree houses, but they had observation decks.”
Emily never met Gerald in person, but feels a strong connection with him in her desire to be the latest in a long family line of what she calls “financial industry disruptors.”
After majoring in English at the University of San Diego and studying film for two years at UCLA, Emily asked, “How do I express what I came from?” She then realized that the entertainment industry is fraught with risk for investors because the potential for a positive return depends so heavily on whether the film is a hit or a flop.
“I want to make the film business safe,” Emily says. So with the help of her father Kent, her production company, Streamline Global Group, allows high net worth investors to get a valuable tax credit based on IRS Section 181, which can completely offset the money put up for the film.
Kent, one of Streamline Global’s two tax experts, explains how this potential win-win deal works: A producer spends $1 million on a new film but needs another $200,000 to do some extra work on editing, marketing and distributing ends. A producer can offer to sell the project to someone for $1.2 million. The buyer, in turn, spends just $200,000 to get a $1.2 million tax benefit that could reduce overall taxable income.
Kent helped his daughter create this unique business model for the movie business after a long and fruitful career developing affordable housing in the Los Angeles region. The spark? When working as a young accountant at Cooper & Lybrand, he was assigned a client seeking to build housing units while taking advantage of low-income housing credits under Section 42 of the IRS code.
At the end of 2017, the special tax credit for films ended, but Emily was able to complete 100 deals that were grandfathered in. Six films have been fully financed in the past year. The typical budget runs from $1 million to $10 million, but a few with a budget of $15 million are also on the slate. IRS code 181 caps the tax deduction at $15 million, but Emily’s film company can still finance films with larger budgets.
“Now we’re the only ones doing it,” she says.