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Wes Edens is the co-founder of Fortress Investment Group. He grew up in Montana, the son of a psychologist and a schoolteacher. He was a ski racer. It inspired him to open Caldera House, a luxury hotel. He still skis and does rock climbing around Jackson, Wyoming. He started his professional career after graduating from Oregon State University in 1984, working for a small bank in San Francisco. He moved to New York and worked at Lehman Brothers and later BlackRock in 1993, where he became a partner and managing director. In 1998 he and a few colleague friends formed Fortress. In 2007 they took the private equity fund public, but in 2008, they suffered significant financial losses. In 2010 Wesley Edens bought the majority stake of Springleaf Holdings Inc for $124 million.

After the financial crisis, Wes Edens did subprime lending in 2010. Fortress Investment Group has invested more than $3 billion to build a private passenger railroad in Florida. In 2014, Wes Edens became the co-owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and recently bought a majority stake in Aston Villa, an English soccer club. Brightline, Mr. Edens’s railroad venture, began serving passengers in January, running between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and extending to Miami in May. The train makes 12 trips each day, and by early August will make 16. The ticket prices start from $10. Brightline has completed its Orlando Station and plans to open it by the end of the year.

Critics have questioned Wes Edens’s projects, including the safety of the trains, which are faster than other trains in Florida. They have also raised complaints about Milwaukee Bucks, a new arena. People have criticized the design of the stadium. Mr. Edens says it will contribute to the economic revitalization of downtown Milwaukee. Wes Edens’s inspiration comes from a book about Henry Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil who developed railways and hotels in the 19th century in Florida.

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