As WeWork goes into bankruptcy, its founder Adam Neumann is basking in the sunny climes of Miami, where the golden beaches are paved with billionaires.
Neumann, 44, was the flamboyant leader of the office-sharing company whose meteoric rise was supposed to reshape how we worked in offices.
But the American-Israeli entrepreneur was pushed out of WeWork amid a botched IPO in September 2019, leaving the company on a downward trajectory that ended with its bankruptcy announcement this week.
And now, with morale at WeWork “horrific”, according to staffers, Neumann is doing just fine, The Post can disclose.
He is skateboarding, socializing and seeking investors for another startup which he claims will reshape the world — this time how we live at home — telling them, “I’m a creator, not a destroyer.”
He still has an estimated fortune of $1.7bn, and sources, tell The Post he’s living in South Florida with his wife, Rebekah, and their six children.
The Neumanns are close friends with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and their children.
Jared, Ivanka and their three children live just 10 minutes away on the ultra-swanky Indian Creek island after buying a $30 million ‘fixer upper‘.
The Neumanns spent summer at their home in Amagansett — which neighbors Rebekah’s cousin, Gwyneth Paltrow’s property — and have now settled down in the exclusive Bal Harbour Marina neighborhood.
We’re told they can be found hosting Shabbat dinners at their local synagogue. One Bal Harbour pal added: “Adam and Rebekah are a big part of the Jewish community.”
Another Bal Harbour source added: “Adam skateboards all the time, all over town, taking business calls. Everybody runs into him — he’s very friendly. He stops and kibitzes with people.”
Rebekah, 45, meanwhile has been “off the grid” after the WeWork debacle and staying out of the spotlight. One person who knows her called her “a force of nature…that’s for sure.”
Back in 2021, Neumann bought two properties for $44 million in an off-market deal from local investor Joseph Imbesi.
The deal included two parcels of land spanning 50,000 square feet — where Neumann planned to build a 14,500 sq ft mansion for his family — as well as 360 feet of waterfront and multiple slips in the marina.
“From where a lot of people sit, you never bet against Adam, he’s always the guy who wins, because the world sucks,” a former WeWork staffer told The Post.
“Adam’s cleaned up his image, he’s been taking part in panel discussions and giving speeches. He comes across as very modest, very humble, having learned from his mistakes. But I don’t think he’s learned his lesson at all.
“I know him personally, he is a very, very good salesperson and he knows how to play things up.”
For the past few years, Neumann has been focused on his latest startup, Flow, which received a $350 million investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with mega-investors Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, giving it a $1 billion valuation in August of 2022 — and that’s even before beginning operations.
The business says it will build rental communities that will foster a feeling of ownership and community.
Neumann has put what at least six apartment buildings which he already owned in Florida and Nashville, Tn., into the company’s ownership.
Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last month from Saudi Arabia — where he courted possible investors at a conference dubbed “Davos in the desert” — he boasted: “We’ve been talking to some of the largest Fortune 500 countries on the planet and their needs have changed, but the need of people working together, the need for community has never been greater.”
But, a former WeWork staffer pointed, after two years, there is still nothing much more than a landing page for Flow.
“Nobody really knows what they are doing, other than trying to reinvent the residential market. So, he’s bought some real estate and managed it – but a lot of people do that,” the one-time confidante said.
“Adam has a billion dollars and $300 million in real estate, he wants to be the next big disrupter and to prove that he can do what he didn’t do with WeWork. But he hasn’t done that yet, so he’s probably frustrated, and he’s sitting on a bunch of real estate.”
Neumann’s story was turned into the Apple TV+ show, “We Crashed”, starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway.
But as always, nothing is ever as weird as the truth.
At the height of the WeWork boom, the Neumanns spent nearly $90 million purchasing six properties, according to The Wall Street Journal.
They included a Greenwich Village townhous, a $35 million Gramercy compound (the Neumanns purchased four of the building’s seven units), a 60-acre Westchester, New York, farm (featuring a waterfall, tennis court, and a horse-riding ring), two estates in the Hamptons, and an 11-acre property just north of San Francisco—complete with a guitar-shaped living room, a pool, a three-storywaterslide, a spa, a racquetball court, an orchard, and “a series of narrow windows spell[ing] out the opening chords” to a Grateful Dead song.
They have since sold the San Francisco property, the NYC townhouse and the Westchester farm. The Gramercy home is still on the market.
There was a $60 million company Gulfstream G650ER- despite the fact that, according to the 2021 book, the “The Cult of We”, one charter company, Gama Aviation, alleged that Neumann’s passengers had spit tequila on each other and not tipped the crew.
And, the WSJ reported, in 2018, when a private jet carrying Neumann and his entourage landed in Israel, the crew discovered a cereal box containing marijuana.
The jet’s owner was allegedly so alarmed by the discovery—the drug had been brought across foreign borders—that it pulled the plane, leaving Neumann and pals without a ride back to New York.
There were rowdy and lavish corporate retreats, while Rebekah – who was given the title of ‘chief brand and impact officer’ at WeWork allegedly became known for firing people if she didn’t like their energy.
Then there was Neumann’s 40th birthday extravaganza – a three-week trip that ended by inviting two dozen friends to a beachside resort in the Maldives – while Rebekah invited pals including Jared and Ivanka to Italy for her 40th.
In a 2019 Vanity Fair story, one staffer reported that “Rebekah fired a mechanic for WeWork’s Gulfstream, … because she didn’t like his energy.”
WeWork sought US bankruptcy protection on Monday, after its bets on companies using more of its office-sharing space soured.
The move represents an admission by SoftBank, the Japanese technology group that owns about 60% of WeWork and has invested billions of dollars in its turnaround, that the company cannot survive unless it renegotiates its pricey leases in bankruptcy.
The former staffer said: “Everyone has seen this coming for a good 6 to 12 months, they’re all getting paid money, but morale is horrific. There is no company culture and everybody is just watching the stock go down, down, down.
“People have been collecting paychecks and waiting for the company to explode – the original version of WW completely gone.”
Alongside this, the bankruptcy leaves the WeWork landlords fearing they will be left with empty spaces they cannot fill in a dire market.
Talking to CNBC, Neumann claimed he had learned his lessons from WeWork. He said he had taken inspiration for his new business from his childhood on a kibbutz in Israel – and the fact that so many 30-year-olds and under can only afford to rent.
In language eerily similar to his hype for WeWork, he said, “Bringing people together and building community has always been what we were about and what I was about.
“The most important word in our partnership is alignment, and we’re very aligned towards our views around the world, we’re very aligned on our moral standards and we’re very aligned on what we want to build.
“Flow is another iteration of the same story which is when people live in community, when people live together, when people obviously have differences, but they actually find what to share passions, they find way to share business, there’s always a common ground.”
In a statement about WeWork’s bankruptcy he called it “disappointing” to see the company collapse and that he had been watching from “the sidelines” since 2019, accusing current management of failing “to take advantage of a product that is more relevant today than ever before.”
“I believe that, with the right strategy and team, a reorganization will enable WeWork to emerge successfully,” he said.
He did not mention that he could actually win more money out of the bankruptcy — unlike the company’s bondholders.
His agreed departure from the company included a $430 million loan from SoftBank with an intriguing feature: Neumann’s collateral was WeWork shares. He can simply hand them back to extinguish the loan, and now that they are practically worthless he can get $430m in free money.
“The fact that Adam managed to get a billion-dollar valuation says everything – he will never change,” said the WeWork staffer.