Title: Billionaire to Build Homes For Battered Women

Word Count:
328

Summary:
There was no press release, no entourage, no announcement at all when legendary businessman David H. Murdock, owner of Dole Food Co., walked into the housing authority offices in his home county of Ventura, Calif., to offer to build affordable housing for victims of domestic abuse on county-owned land.

Keywords:
Billionaire to Build Homes For Battered Women

Article Body:
There was no press release, no entourage, no announcement at all when legendary businessman David H. Murdock, owner of Dole Food Co., walked into the housing authority offices in his home county of Ventura, Calif., to offer to build affordable housing for victims of domestic abuse on county-owned land.

Murdock’s help would provide as many as 200 one-, two- and three-bedroom units for battered women and their children.

“It’s potentially priceless for the hundreds of people who could be served,” Ventura County Supervisor Kathy Long said.

In addition to predevelopment financing, what Murdock brings to the table is a widely recognized reputation for getting things done.

“He wants to make an impact and make it reasonably fast,” said Douglas Tapking, executive director of the housing authority. “We were so excited to see this guy step up to the plate at a time when the federal government is retreating and the state and local budgets are down. We were very impressed.”

Murdock, who lives on a sprawling, working ranch not far from the proposed development site, is well known for bold gestures. Last year he took the 150-year-old Dole Food Co. private, and more recently announced plans to build a state-of-the-art wellness complex that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger predicted would be “the most advanced spa in the world.”

Murdock has also created the Dole Nutrition Institute to conduct research into the health benefits of fruits and vegetables and educate the American public about the potential of proper diet to prevent disease and promote longevity. The young-at-heart fish-vegetarian practices what he preaches by exercising an hour a day and observing a reduced-fat, plant based diet.

“I see my role in helping to build this housing for battered women as a way to give them a chance to heal,” said Murdock. “And also to help the families that are a part of the community in the county and state I call home.”

Jennifer Grossman is the director of the Dole Nutrition Institute. – NU

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