Real estate broker who turned away Gadhafi takes up new cause

People in Real Estate: Jason Haber

Jason Haber heads his own, newly minted real estate brokerage in New York, and he has Moammar Gadhafi to thank for it.

Not that the infamous Libyan dictator knowingly inspired the Manhattan agent to found Rubicon Property, but Haber said his perspective on life and business took a significant turn on the day when he told Gadhafi, in effect, to take a hike.

Haber’s in-your-face response to the Libyan government’s attempt to rent a Manhattan townhouse for Gadhafi during a United Nations visit in 2009 generated an avalanche of media attention and an outpouring from the public — and from one woman in particular — that changed him, he said.

As a result, in September he and his brother, Cory, co-founded a "social entrepreneurial" brokerage with a real estate business model tied directly to philanthropy. But he had no idea this was in his future when he fielded an e-mail over Labor Day weekend in 2009.

"It was from somebody who said, ‘We’re looking for a townhouse in Manhattan for a visiting Dutch (United Nations) delegation," said Haber, who at the time was an agent for Prudential Douglas Elliman.