he was actually a gifted scientist as well, and later in Justice League he was portrayed more along the classic evil genius/high-tech criminal lines, at least until he "reformed" and went into politics. And in the comics these days he's portrayed as both mogul and scientist, I believe.
And yet, in the movies, he was repeatedly portrayed as being ambitious about real estate more than anything else, including science and politics. I wonder where that idea came from.
It was a cute running gag that lead to some funny lines for the Gene Hackman interpretation for the character, but bringing it back for the Kevin Spacey version was lame. I really hope that if and when Lex Luthor is depicted on the big screen again, we get a version more in line with the animated one.
The real estate angle is played out and I'd love to see a Luthor who poses a challenge for Superman partially because he protects himself well by convincingly setting himself up as a legitimate businessman. This arrangement always made the interaction between he and Superman more dynamic in animation.