Joel Z Hyatt
(born Joel Hyatt Zylberberg
; May 6, 1950)
is an American entrepreneur and former politician. He founded Hyatt Legal Services, in which capacity he became a household name for many years, as he was featured in his firm's nationwide television commercials which always ended with the slogan, "I'm Joel Hyatt and you have my word on it."
Hyatt was a co-founder of Current TV
Life and career
Hyatt co-founded Hyatt Legal Services in 1977 as a low-cost legal service, making legal services available to millions of hitherto disenfranchised middle- and lower-class Americans. He later founded Hyatt Legal Plans, which became the country's largest provider of employer-sponsored group legal services, pioneering the concept of Legal Services as a fringe benefit (provided in the same manner as, for example, dental insurance). Hyatt Legal Plans was acquired by MetLife
Hyatt was a founding member of the U.S. Senate Democratic
Leadership Circle and was a member of that group from 1981 to 1986. He was the Democratic National Committee's
assistant treasurer from 1981 to 1983.
Hyatt is the son-in-law of former United States Senator
for Ohio Howard Metzenbaum
. Hyatt was Metzenbaum's campaign manager for his first two successful bids for the Senate. In the 1994 election
, when Metzenbaum decided to retire, Hyatt ran to replace him. Hyatt won the Democratic nomination, but lost to then Lieutenant Governor of Ohio Michael DeWine
in the general election, in a campaign year in which Republicans swept all twelve of the Senate vacancies and unseated many incumbents.
In 1990, Hyatt Legal Services paid a $157,000 settlement for having illegally fired an attorney in their Philadelphia
offices, Clarence B. Cain, in reference to his AIDS
The case was an inspiration for the 1993 film Philadelphia
, alongside the more renowned Geoffrey Bowers
case three-years prior. Hyatt is known to have expressed his disappointment in his own firm's handling of the case, and of its treatment of Mr. Cain.
Hyatt served as National Finance Chair for the Democratic party in 2000, and is a business partner of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore
In 2004, Hyatt and Gore purchased Newsworld International
, a cable news channel, programmed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
, which aired news programming from around the world. On August 1, 2005, Gore and Hyatt relaunched the network as Current TV
, a young adult-programmed news and information service which pioneered the concept of user generated content on cable TV.
Hyatt and Gore later sold the channel to Al Jazeera Media Network
on January 2, 2013 for a reported $500 million. In August, 2014, Hyatt and Gore sued Al Jazeera for fraud and breach of contract in connection with a residual payment of $65 million that remained unpaid. The allegations were denied by Al Jazeera as "blatantly false" and "potentially misleading."
Hyatt was an investor in and chairman of VideoSurf, a computer vision search engine that was acquired by Microsoft in 2011.
The Long Boom: A History of the World's Future, 1980-2020, by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, and Joel Hyatt (Basic Books, 2000)
- ^ Ernst, Amanda (March 21, 2012). "So What Do You Do, Joel Hyatt, CEO and Co-Founder Of Current TV?". Mediabistro. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
- ^ "LAW: AT THE BAR; A Lawyer With AIDS Wins a Legal Victory, and Gives His Employer Some Unwelcome Publicity". The New York Times. April 13, 1990.
- ^ "HP Names Joel Hyatt and John Joyce to Board of Directors" (Press release). Hewlett-Packard. May 18, 2007.
- ^ Hamedy, Saba (August 20, 2014). "Al Jazeera America rejects allegations in Al Gore's lawsuit over sale". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- ^ https://techcrunch.com/2011/11/23/with-its-100m-acquisition-of-videosurf-microsofts-video-search-now-has-big-potential/
- ^ "Globality Launches With a Premium B2B Services Marketplace to Radically Disrupt Buying and Selling of Services Around the World" (Press release). Bite Communications. January 11, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
- ^ https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-deals/SoftBank-Vision-Fund-bets-100m-on-US-AI-startup-Globality
Last edited on 15 April 2021, at 10:18
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