SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS -- George Marcus, who immigrated to the U.S. from Greece at a young age, formed Essex in 1971 — the same year he founded Marcus and Millichap, a real estate brokerage firm. Today Essex is publicly traded and owns about 59,700 apartments through the West Coast. It had about $1.4 billion in revenue in 2018, according to official filings.
Marcus, still the company’s chairman, has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion. In 2018, Marcus and his wife Judy donated $25 million to their alma mater, San Francisco State University, the largest gift in school history. Marcus has also been a major political donor, mostly to Democratic and liberal causes.