Big pie: Two key Sullivan foes make Forbes billionaire list
Forbes magazine has come out with its annual ranking of American billionaires, and while nobody in Charlottesville has made the cut (sorry John Grisham, Coran Capshaw, and Ted Weschler), there are several names on the list that resonate locally. They include two magnates who rescued struggling local outdoor wonderlands, and two of the most prominent supporters of the recent effort to unseat the University of Virginia president.
One of the UVA schemers is Paul Tudor Jones, the Connecticut hedge fund manager who informed the UVA community that it should be "elated" by the ouster move performed in June by Rector Helen Dragas. The other is Randal Kirk, the southwest Virginia pharmaceutical start-up whiz and UVA Board of Visitors member who mocked sustainability science as he urged the firing of president Teresa Sullivan.
Other names on the "Forbes 400" that might resonate locally are Donald Trump, who purchased his old friend Patricia Kluge's Albemarle County winery last year. There's also Memphis shipping tycoon Fred Smith, who helped fund a short-lived Albemarle internet firm called ValueAmerica that employed a sort of Amazon.com-style sell-everything strategy even before Amazon did. Another is Jim Justice, the lone West Virginian to make the list and the coal magnate who made local headlines in May by buying the struggling Wintergreen ski resort after it ran into liquidity woes after several years of warm winters.
As usual, heading the Forbes list is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, with an estimated net worth of $66 billion. In second place is Warren Buffet, the Omaha investor with the golden eye and who recently hired Weschler (who owns a stake in the Hook's parent company) as one of his top advisors.
One other interesting pair of names are two brothers, Charles and David Koch. Valued at $31 billion each, the Kochs run Kansas-based Koch Industries and raise funds for conservative causes like ACTA, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Like Jones, ACTA wrote a newspaper essay celebrating the removal of Sullivan after her ouster. Also like Jones, the brothers have donated money to Governor Bob McDonnell, whom they invited to one of their secretive semi-annual confabs last June. The brothers gave McDonnell $107,494 while Jones has given $100,000, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.