Kshama Sawant: ‘Paul Allen was known as a philanthropist,’ but …

SEATTLE – Seattle city councilmember Kshama Sawant took aim at Paul Allen’s reputation as a philanthropist in the wake of his death Monday.

Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party, decried Allen’s spending in a post on Facebook.

“Paul Allen was known as a philanthropist,” she wrote. “He spent $250 million on the biggest yacht in the world in 2003; he also owned two more yachts and a fleet of private jets, several sports teams. He paid to put the Qwest Field on the ballot so that working people picked up most of the $425M tab. He spent half a million dollars to defeat the I-1098 Tax the Rich statewide initiative in 2010.”

Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, and the Seattle native was one of the richest people in the world.

According to his website, Allen’s philanthropic contributions totaled more than $2 billion. In 2010, he was one of 40 people who signed the Giving Pledge to donate at least half their fortunes to philanthropic causes. In 2012, he was named the most generous living donor in the United States.

"Paul was a major philanthropist who believed in giving at home," Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday. "Seattle is dotted with the results of his philanthropy and investments, from the unbelievable work of the Allen Institute for Brain Science to the preservation of the world-class Cinerama movie theater. He brought us a Super Bowl championship, a reverence for Jimi Hendrix and a vision for Seattle that today is home to some of the world’s most innovative biotech research and has been the cradle of the city’s economic boom.

“He cared about the larger world, too, stepping up to fight Ebola and working to preserve endangered animals. He exposed the dark depths of oceans and pioneered privately funded space flight."