“Sam” Kislin was born Semyon Kislin in the Black Sea port of Odessa in 1935, but built his fortune out of the “Little Odessa” neighborhood around Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach. Kislin emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union in 1972 and, according to a brief biographical sketch on his website, first went to Boston, where he “found work at various jobs to support his family, including a grocery clerk and taxi cab driver.”
In 1976 Kislin moved to Brooklyn where “with the assistance of fellow Russian émigrés, Mr. Kislin established a small electronics store, where he sold goods to local residents.”
Kislin made the acquaintance of a brash young real estate developer named Donald Trump.
In 1992, according to his website biography, Kislin “established Trans Commodities, Inc., which he ultimately developed into one of the world’s premiere commodities trading firms.”more » « less