The 5,000-resident town of Lenox, Massachusetts is closely following the FTX fallout, thanks to one of the company's co-CEOs owning a significant portfolio of property in the town.As first reported by local news outlet The Berkshire Eagle, Ryan Salame, who was co-CEO at FTX Digital Markets, invested $6 million in restaurants and real estate in Lenox.But now locals are raising concerns after FTX filed for bankruptcy and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was arrested last week. Bankman-Fried has been accused of funneling customer funds into his trading firm, Alameda, and using some customer money to buy luxury real estate and fund political donations.Salame also received a $55 million loan from Alameda, according to bankruptcy filings, and donated $23 million to mostly Republican political candidates. Jennifer Nacht, executive director of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce, told The Berkshire Eagle in November: "It's so crazy that something of this global magnitude has such a direct effect on our little town.""I have been following the FTX fallout all week," she added.
"I feel really badly for Ryan and yes, I am concerned about what it means for Lenox.Salame, a Massachusetts native, had his first job aged 14 washing dishes in Great Barrington, a 20-minute drive from Lenox. Last year, The Berkshire Eagle reported he owned nearly half the town's restaurants.Salame first bought the Firefly Gastropub in July 2020, when his friend Laura Shack put it up for sale after the COVID-19 pandemic hurt its revenue. "I had never really planned to own a restaurant," he told the local paper.
"It came at a good time for me and made sense."Salame's assets in Lenox include The Olde Heritage Tavern, a sports pub which locals compare to the "Cheers" sitcom, because it's "where everybody knows your name." The assets are held through six private companies which list Salame as a director or manager. A seventh, registered in Connecticut, operates a private landing strip near his home. Nacht told the local paper that "Heritage and Firefly are continuing to operate as normal. Everything else is on hold until further notice." Two days before FTX's bankruptcy, Salame alerted authorities about potential wrongdoing at the company, according to court filings.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Salame vomited upon hearing about FTX's impending collapse.Salame's company Lenox Eats, and his attorney, Jason Linder, didn't immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.