iStar Financial Founder Jay Sugarman

iStar Financial Founder Jay Sugarman

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for Philadelphia Union

IStar’s struggles since 2007 had threatened to tarnish Jay Sugarman’s wunderkind reputation. Before turning 40, the Houston native, who graduated summa cum laude at Princeton University and won academic prizes at Harvard Business School, was running one of the best-performing publicly traded firms in the U.S.