The daughter of one of the big hitters in the local commercial real estate scene is getting a taste of the big leagues by running one of her family business' large properties.

Jaime Lee, 23, the daughter of Dr. David Lee, has been running the California Market Center in downtown's garment district for about a year now. And it's no small matter. The property has about 1,000 tenants.

Jaime Lee, who is finishing up law school at USC, said that she's always been interested in real estate. Her father's business, Jamison Properties Inc., owns about 120 office buildings and other commercial holdings that amount to a local empire.

Actually, she made an early contribution to her dad's company: She named it.

"I was young 10 or 11 and my dad asked me to pick a name and I said, 'People call me Jameson.' It was my choice," she said. The spelling of the name was changed but the idea that Jaime Lee would have an impact on the business stuck.

"I grew into this industry," she said.

Good Question

The $400 million that the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation gave last week is considered the largest gift to a U.S. academic institution for biomedical research, but it began with a little question in 2001.

Eli Broad asked, "What's next?" during a brief conversation with Eric Lander, an MIT biologist who was mapping the genetic make-up of humans. Lander responded he wanted to focus on the specialty of tailoring medical treatment to a patient's genetic make up.

The Los Angeles billionaire philanthropist was intrigued, and so the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard University with Lander as director was launched in 2004 as an "experiment." The Broad Foundation pledged an initial $100 million and added $100 million the following year. Last week, Broad said he was ready to make the institute permanent with his $400 million gift.

A good Angeleno, Broad last week recalled that he tried to lure Lander to Los Angeles, but the scientist convinced him that Cambridge, Mass. already possessed the critical mass of expertise to make the institute a success.

Tax Me!

It's not often that high-income individuals proclaim their willingness to pay more taxes. But in a bid to plug the $15.2 billion deficit in the state budget, 48 "high income" earners sent a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger saying that they were willing to pay more.

Among the local signers: retired Magnavox president Arthur Stern, longtime television director Robert Markowitz and attorney Roy Ulrich, who is also president of the California Tax Reform Association.

Markowitz, a Studio City resident, said: "I signed the petition because for eight years now we have put an unfair burden on the middle class and the poor."

When asked how much more he would be willing to pay, Markowitz demurred.

"The short answer is that we would need to see the particulars of the bill."

Staff reporters Daniel Miller, Deborah Crowe and Howard Fine contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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