Michael Karfunkel’s Bridge to Nowhere

It’s not every day that someone makes a $373 million grant of shares in a company he co-founded. But on Nov. 12 that’s exactly what the foundation of a fellow named Michael Karfunkel did when it gave his son-in-law’s foundation more than 7.21 million AmTrust Financial Services shares.

The Mitzvah Factory

Billionaires Michael and George Karfunkel opened nonprofit foundations to share their good fortune. Through the donation of large blocks of shares of AmTrust Financial Services — an insurance concern they built in the 1990s — their foundations have amassed considerable size as the share price has risen. Yet, a hard look at how these foundations operate leaves a lot more questions than answers.