Woman found dead in Trump Plaza was hedge-fund pioneer


Hedge fund pioneer and philanthropist E. Lee Hennessee-Gradante, 64, was found dead at her Trump Plaza condo in West Palm Beach from an apparent stroke, a family spokesman said Sunday.

She was found in her $1.6 million condo Saturday, but her identity was not immediately released by police.

“Lee touched us all in a way that will have a lasting positive impact on my life and the lives of so many others,” said Charles Gradante, her husband and business partner and fellow media pundit, in a statement.

She broke ground as a woman on male-dominated Wall Street, creating a hedge fund index and becoming a co-founder of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, according to her Hennessee Group biography.

She made television appearances as a hedge fund expert on Bloomberg, CNN and CNBC. In May 2007, she was selected as one of New York’s 50 most powerful women.

Away from the exchanges, she served as a finance chair for Elizabeth Dole’s presidential campaign and the 2005 New York City Billy Graham Crusade. She co-founded the New York City Christian Women’s Fellowship, which folded into Campus Crusade. She was also a trustee of Palm Beach Atlantic University, and national chairwoman and founding member of Easter Seals Florida annual Kentucky Derby charity event.

She was interested in her heritage and was in the process of qualifying for Colonial Dames and Daughters of the American Revolution, “two organizations she loved and aspired to be part of,” her husband said.

Through spokesman Chase Scott, the family expressed “gratitude for the many condolences being received from friends, admirers and the community.”

The body has been taken to the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, and toxicology results will not be known for a few weeks, West Palm Beach Police spokeswoman Lori Colombino said.

The death was not considered suspicious, police said.

Staff writer Chelsea Todaro contributed to this report.


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