BUSINESS NEW CROW BIO RUFFLES FEATHERS

As far as national press play goes, the Fourth Estate giveth and it tak-eth away. Just as Trammell Crow was awaiting the publication of his biography, his company got kicked in the gizzard by a scathing portrayal in Forbes. Titled “The Dinosaurs are Dying,” the article accuses Crow of “exporting overdevelopment to other parts of the country’” and claims that Crow ran “$100 to $300” million in the red last year.

Well, Don Williams, managing partner of The Trammell Crow Companies, begs to differ. As a matter of fact. Williams says, the firm has almost 2,000 more employees now than in 1987, had $2.3 billion in construction starts last year, and actually showed a positive cash flow of some $248 million. The only Crow “source” interviewed for the Forbes piece, Williams says, was a former partner with whom Crow is now in litigation.

As for the book, Trammell Crow: Master Builder is finally due in bookstores (Taylors, Bookstop) this month after numerous fits and starts spanning the better part of the last decade (including one “fit” by this writer). Business biographer Robert Sobel put the 255-page tome together in its final form, which traces the many innovations in real estate that sprang from the genius of Trammell Crow. But even Sobel’s basically laudatory spin did not please Crow or his family, who tried unsuccessfully to have the book blocked. Says Crow’s daughter, Lucy Crow Bill-ingsley, “It tells part of the story, but it doesn’t show the character and spirit of my dad.”

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