Roland Whitney Betts (born May 25, 1946) is an American investor, film producer, developer, and owner of Chelsea Piers in New York City. A classmate and Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity brother of George W. Bush, Betts was the lead owner in Bush's Texas Rangers partnership. He is a graduate of St. Paul's School ('64), Yale ('68) and Columbia Law School ('78).
Roland and Lois Betts celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2012. They have two daughters, Margaret and Jessica.
Life and career
In 1968, after graduating from Yale, Betts worked as a teacher and assistant principal until 1975. In 1978 Betts wrote Acting Out: Coping with Big City Schools, a book which explores his experiences in the public school system. After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1978, he practiced law in the entertainment department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison until leaving to finance movies. In 1980 he was named the President of International Film Investors, Inc., which produced and financed movies like Gandhi and The Killing Fields. In 1983 he founded Silver Screen Management, Inc. (see Silver Screen Partners) with Tom Bernstein, which financed and produced over 75 films with the Walt Disney Company, including Pretty Woman, The Rocketeer, and Three Men and a Baby.
The Texas Rangers were purchased in 1989 by a group of investors assembled by Roland W. Betts and George W. Bush. For nine years, Betts was lead owner of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. Since 1992 Roland W. Betts is Founder and Chairman of Chelsea Piers Inc. which developed and operates the Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment complex.
Betts was the Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation, an advisory board member of Yale School of Management, and is a Trustee of numerous organizations including: the American Museum of Natural History, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia University Law School, and the National Park Foundation. Mr. Betts has recently been appointed as a Trustee and Treasurer of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
From 2001 to 2006 Betts was one of George Pataki's appointments to the Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In that capacity, Mr. Betts chaired the Site Committee charged with the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.
Roland W. Betts was also a heavy contributor to the Bush election campaign in 2000, helping raise more than $100,000 to that campaign, also putting down about $50,000 for the Bush Inauguration celebration. Bush has been seen visiting the Betts' at their vacation homes in Jackson Hole and Santa Fe.
- Fortune Magazine about Cipiriani accusing Betts of using his influences to kill the competition
- Profile at Lower Manhattan Development Corp. at the Wayback Machine (archived April 7, 2003)
- Reconstruction Watch bio (PDF)
- Yale bio with photo (from the Internet Archive)
- Hail The Conquering Hero, by Helen Thorpe, NY Magazine, September 20, 1999.
- Roland Betts on Conversations with Allan Wolper, Audio, Series: Conversations with Allan Wolper, WBGO.ORG, Length: 31:57. 2012.
- "Chelsea Piers: Roland W. Betts executive profile". www.chelseapiers.com. 5/06/10. Retrieved 20 July 2014. Check date values in:
- BERNSTEIN, Jacob (April 2, 2014). "Her Mother's Life as a Prequel - Maggie Betts: Socialite Turned Filmmaker". New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
- Acting Out: Coping with Big City Schools – NY Review of Books 1978
- NY Daily News, March 6, 2005 Two titans fight to build huge complex next to Chelsea Piers