Sam Zell was apparently far, far away from the tension-filled Tribune board room, where the future of the Chicago-based media giant was being hashed out over the weekend. The Chicago Tribune notes that Zell was calling the shots from his Malibu beach home, where he spends lots of time. The 12,000 square-foot property has four family bedrooms, a guest house and a staff wing with kitchen and dining areas. The home, on 1.2 acres, also has a gym, wine cellar and pool. Zell likes it out here, though he's not exactly a conspicuous presence in L.A. or even Malibu. (In case you're wondering, he's had three marriages; his current wife, Helen, is a big supporter of the University of Michigan, where she graduated in 1964.) Joseph Alibrandi, a friend and neighbor in Malibu, says Zell often turns up on the beach with Helen, and, like everyone else, he sits and stares at the ocean. But as he told the Tribune, Zell has a different idea of relaxing than everyone else.
"He'll look at a freighter that passes. He'll think, `That's not the best way. There's a better way to conduct shipping.' Then he'll get off his chair and get someone to look into it. That's what makes the difference." He doubts Zell ever will sit on a beach and just relax. "He'll be doing this till the day the life is out of him," he says. "He'll continue to run and run."