Are you watching Bling Empire season 2 now that it is finally streaming on Netflix? If so, you might be curious about some of the cast members, like breakout star Anna Shay. Shay is technically the richest cast member on the show, with an estimated net worth of $600 million.
During the show’s first season, Shay introduced her family’s wealth by saying her father was in the weapons business. Co-star Kane Lim further discussed the Shay empire by saying that Anna’s father, Edward Shay, “sells bombs, guns, defense technology — and it’s worth, like, a few billion.”
So, who are Anna Shay’s parents and what exactly do they do for a living that allows their daughter to live the lavish lifestyle we see represented on the show.
Bling Empire: Who are Anna Shay’s parents?
Anna’s father is businessman Edward Shay and her mother is the part-Japanese, part-Russian Ai Oizumi Shay. Anna’s father passed away in 1995 and her mother in 2015.
According to a deep-dive from NBC News, the truth about Anna’s father is pretty dark. The publication states that her father, Edward Shay, is the founder of Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE).
PAE is an American defense and government service contractor that counts NASA and the U.N. among its clients today. However, back in the 1960s and the 1970s, the group reportedly provided cover for an illicit and undercover CIA-led operation that revolved around weeding out undercover communist Viet Cong operatives.
Here’s more info:
"[PAE] provided cover for the Phoenix Program, a CIA-led operation to weed out undercover communist Viet Cong operatives and their sympathizers through a strategy that led to torture and, at times, killings of Vietnamese people and others, according to research reports."
The entire covert operation is considered to be one of the “ugliest aspects” of the Vietnam War.
Kimberly Kay Hoang, a University of Chicago director of global studies who specializes in researching ultra-high-net-worth people who invest in risky markets was quoted in the article, saying, “How do we forget this history? And why do we not think about the source of funds? Somehow [Anna] can … be in Beverly Hills and be living the good life, and no one raises questions about where that money came from.”
Neither PAE or Anna Shay responded to NBC’s request for comment.
U.S. officials have repeatedly denied many of the uglier aspects of the Phoenix Program, but there are experts who witnessed the counterinsurgency effort and recounted use of torture and murder. While PAE was not directly involved in the program, they allegedly provided cover.
"“By providing cover to the CIA, the PAE, in constructing 44 interrogation sites, erected these extralegal spaces of U.S. violence and murder on foreign soil,” Vietnam War scholar Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, an associate professor of U.S. and East Asian history at Columbia University said."
It should be noted that Anna reportedly sold PAE, along with her brother Allen, in 2006 for approximately $1.2 billion.
During a chat with Town & Country, Anna revealed that her father did “a lot of things that I don’t know about,” chalking it up to him being a “businessman.” The entire piece is really enlightening if you would like to learn more about Anna’s upbringing and her family.