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Politics

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2020: Numbers 10-1

March 8, 2020

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2020: Numbers 50-41

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2020: Numbers 40-31

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2020: Numbers 30-21

TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America List 2020: Numbers 20-11

10. PETER G. ANGELOS – Maryland
$2.0 BILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)
LAW, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
University of Baltimore; Married, 2 children

Peter G. Angelos finishes off our top ten wealthiest Greek-Americans of 2020. Angelos, now 90, is an attorney based in Baltimore and is best known for being the owner, chairman and CEO of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles.

Angelos was born in Pittsburgh, PA on July 4, 1929, to immigrants from the island of Karpathos. He went to Baltimore at age 11, where his family settled in the Highlandtown section of the city. His father owned a tavern in East Baltimore where Peter worked during his adolescence. Peter learned very quickly how hard life could be – especially in Baltimore. Baltimore wasn’t a gentle environment to say the least; in order to protect himself, Peter learned how to box at the Baltimore Athletic Association. Years later, Peter graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he was class valedictorian, and went onto a lucrative career in trial law, specializing in cases involving harmful products, professional malpractice, and personal injury.

His firm, the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, has attorneys and locations in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Angelos began working as a criminal defense lawyer following graduation. For most of his legal career, he was a successful attorney representing Baltimore labor unions and their members through his own private practice, which he founded in 1961. Beginning in the 1980s, he refashioned his firm’s focus from criminal law to civil class action suits. His law firm and wealth expanded exponentially in 1982, when he represented 8,500 plaintiffs – the largest number of plaintiffs ever – in an asbestos litigation and won. He reportedly made over $100 million on this one case alone.

Angelos was also enormously successful in suing Wyeth, the makers of the diet pill fen-phen, and representing the state of Maryland as lead attorney in a lawsuit against tobacco company Philip Morris. The agreement had stipulated that he would receive 25% of the recovery, but when it came to $4.5 billion, Maryland refused to pay; Angelos’ team settled for $150 million. After that he became a major player in the Baltimore community. Commenting on winning settlements of that size on behalf of governmental entities, Angelos said, “If you get that kind of a fee, you’re fundamentally taking it from the public interest.”

Angelos bought the Orioles in August 1993, leading a group of investors including prominent Marylanders like novelist Tom Clancy, in purchasing the team for $173 million, a record price at the time.

The Orioles enjoyed some success early under Angelos’ ownership, making the postseason as a wild card team in 1996 and winning the American League East Division title in 1997. But manager Davey Johnson resigned after the 1997 season, and 14 straight losing seasons ensued. As of late, their fortunes climbed, as they clinched the division in 2014 and just felt short of repeating in 2015, but made the playoffs again in 2016. In 2016, Forbes reported that the Orioles’ value had increased 61% in two years, from $620 million to over $1 billion. In April of 2019, Forbes reported that the team is worth $1.3 billion.

Angelos and his wife, Georgia, have two sons: John, who serves as the Orioles’ executive vice president and Louis, an attorney at the family law office. Angelos began to cede control of the Orioles to his sons starting in 2017. Amid rumblings of a potential sale or a move out of town a few months ago, John was quoted saying that the Orioles would be in Baltimore “as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor.” Relatedly, on February 22nd, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed optimism that the Orioles’ franchise was solid in remarks he made at a news conference. He said, “I have spent a considerable amount of time with the Angelos family this off-season. I think the family is committed to making baseball as good as it can possibly be in Baltimore. They’re excited about [general manager] Mike Elias and his team in terms of their ability to make the franchise as competitive as possible.”

A lifelong Democrat, Angelos has thrown his hat into the political arena as well. He won election to the Baltimore City Council and served on the Council from 1959 to 1963. He also ran for mayor as an independent in 1964, but lost. He has been an active supporter of national Democratic candidates.

Angelos has been active in charitable programs in the city and state. He enjoys horse racing and owns thoroughbred horses. He has given $10 million to his alma mater, the University of Baltimore; in return, the new law school building bears the name of his parents: The John and Frances Angelos Law Center, which opened in April 2013. That same year, he gifted $2.5 million to the MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore to open a lung disease center.

8. HASEOTES FAMILY – Massachusetts
$2.1 BILLION (Forbes)
CONVENIENCE STORES

Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes founded Cumberland Farms in 1938. The Haseoteses emigrated from Greece’s Macedonia and Epirus regions to the state of Maine and eventually proceeded to purchase a one-cow, one-calf dairy farm in Cumberland, RI for $84. They had eight children, two of whom – Demetrios (Jim) and Lily – would go on to lead the convenience store chain.

Cumberland Farms eventually expanded across state lines and grew to become the largest dairy farm operation in Massachusetts. In 1956, the company opened a jug-milk store in Bellingham, MA. During the 1950s, few convenience food stores with dawn-to-midnight service every day of the week existed in the northern part of the country. In 1962, Cumberland Farms quickly expanded to become New England’s first true convenience store.

By the early 1990s, Cumberland Farms ranked third among the country’s convenience store chains, and was also a leader in both the retail and wholesale distribution of petroleum products through the Cumberland Farms (and previously, also Gulf and Mobil) names.

The company first added a gas station to one of its stores in 1971 and expanded greatly in the wake of the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. By 1975, Cumberland Farms opened its 1,000th store. The following year, it opened a 560,000-square-foot bakery and warehouse in Westborough, Mass. In 1987, it purchased all of the Northeast assets of Gulf Oil from the Chevron Corporation, including 550 service stations and a terminal network throughout the Northeast.

In 2010, Gulf Oil L.P., a subsidiary of Cumberland Farms, announced it had acquired all rights, title and interest to the Gulf brand in the entire United States and its territories. About 5 years later, Cumberland Farms sold Gulf Oil for a reported $1 billion in order to “get out of the wholesale business and focus exclusively on retail.”

Until October of 2019, Cumberland Farms was one of America’s largest family-owned convenience store chains – and one of the largest family-owned companies of any kind in the United States. A closely held family-owned company since its inception, Cumberland Farms grew to become a multi-billion-dollar corporation – in 2017 alone, the company reported $6 billion in revenues. Lily Haseotes Bentas, daughter of Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes, was chairman of the board of directors and her nephew, Ari, succeeded Bentas as CEO in June 2014.

However, on October 22, 2019, EG Group, a United Kingdom-based company, officially bought Cumberland Farms which operated 567 stores in seven states in the northeast as well as in Florida. At the closing, Ari Haseotes said: “Being a third-generation founding owner and operator, I have an immense amount of gratitude for the Cumberland Farms team and what we have achieved together,” he said. “This is the right next step for Cumberland Farms and creates an incredible opportunity to expand and grow the existing business into the wider EG Group global network. In that regard, I couldn’t be more pleased with the historical milestone achieved today.”

The EG Group intends to retain the Cumberland Farms logo and their locations. Of the acquisition, Zuber Issa of EG Group said: “Over nearly eight decades the Haseotes family have built Cumberland Farms into an outstanding portfolio of large, modern facilities run by a team of associates who are connected to the communities they serve.”

Also in October 2019, Vasilios Haseotes was honored (posthumously) for his service to the United States in World War I with the ‘Oxi’ Service Award (part of the Washington ‘Oxi’ Day Foundation Courage and Service Awards) at the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. After arriving in America at the age of 15, Vasilios enlisted in the army in 1917 and found in WWI. He was decorated by both the U.S. and France for his heroic service. He was an Archon the Ecumenical Patriarchate and passed away in 1980 after years of philanthropic contributions to various charities.

8. ALEC GORES – California
$2.1 BILLION (Forbes)
TECHNOLOGY, LEVERAGED BUYOUTS
Western Michigan University (Computer Science); Married, 5 children

Alec Gores, 66, like his brothers Tom and Sam (both also featured in this edition) was born to a Greek father and Lebanese mother, in Nazareth, Israel. It took the family, which included 6 children, five years to get visas to enter the United States. Eventually, the family finally made it to America and settled in Genesee, MI when Alec was a teenager. The sons, who were originally named Elias (Alec), Samir (Sam) and Tewfic (Tom), were promptly given new American names by their aunt, who picked them up from the airport.

“My father was willing to give up literally everything he had [in Israel] and pack his bags and bring us here,” Gores told Forbes in October, 2016. “He did it for the kids, to make sure we have a better future.”
The elder Gores, Charlie, emphasized hard work and an appreciation for the opportunities the United States presented, his son told Forbes. “The day we landed in America, my dad sat us down and he said, ‘This is your new country. You have to respect it. You have to embrace it,’” Gores remembers. His dad added: “You’ve got to work hard, and you can do anything you want in this country.”

Alec began his professional career by bagging groceries at his uncle’s store soon after arriving in America (for 25 cents an hour) – he didn’t speak any English at the time.
Today, Gores heads the Beverly Hills-based private equity firm The Gores Group, which has $2.5 billion in assets. He lives in an 11-bedroom mansion on 2.2 acres in Beverly Hills – near his brother Tom, who bought a palatial estate in Holby Hills in 2016 as part of a reported $100 million deal.

After graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in computer science (the first person in his family to finish college), he founded Executive Business Systems in 1978, for $10,000, and was selling computers out of his basement. His father “gave [him] his last $8,000 and had [him] go buy a demo machine,” Gores told Forbes. “That’s what I needed to start the business.” He grew the company tremendously, and sold it in 1986 to Contel for approximately $2 million.

In 2016, he joined C. Dean Metropulos, also featured in this edition, to take the food snack giant Hostess public.
Gores famously lost over $17 million in a three-day backgammon series to fellow billionaire JP McManus in 2012, the Independent reported, and Gores promptly “paid up like a gent.”

The father of five, Gores is now married to Kelly Noonan Gores, his second wife (John Legend performed at their wedding in 2016).? Alec’s eldest child, daughter Rochelle Gores Fredston, founded the Philanthropic Society Los Angeles (now called Learning Lab Ventures) in 2010. The organization is focused on education, and provides disadvantaged students with after-school learning and enrichment programs. Kelly, Alec’s wife, recently released the documentary Heal (83% on Rotten Tomatoes) on Netflix which is about the power of the mind to heal the body.

7. PETER NICHOLAS – Massachusetts
$2.3 BILLION (AffluenceIQ)
Duke University; Married, 3 children

Peter Nicholas, now 80, was raised by Greek immigrant parents. His father, who had come as a child from Constantinople, settled in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood in Portland, ME – a Greek community that produced “dozens of immigrant children who grew up to achieve real success.” In a report published by the Partnership for a New American Economy, Nicholas was quoted saying: “These funny looking Greek kids all had embedded in them this ambition to work hard and achieve a better life than what their parents could have ever imagined.” In the same study, Nicholas also said that he was “very aware” of the old country his family came from and how much his parents wanted him to work to take advantage of the many opportunities that America offered.

A graduate of Duke University, Nicholas went on to earn an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Business. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, resigning his commission in 1966. He is Chairman Emeritus of Duke’s Board of Trustees. In 1996, Nicholas gave $20 million to Duke for its School of the Environment, which was named in his honor. Since then, he and his wife, Virginia (Ginny) Lilly, have made other gifts of tens of millions of dollars to Duke. Ginny is the great-grand daughter of Eli Lilly, founder of the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Company, where Nicholas worked prior to founding Boston Scientific, the medical device company.

In 1979, Nicholas co-founded the aforementioned Boston Scientific with scientist John Abele after meeting him at a children’s soccer game. The company started out by making steerable catheters used in less invasive medical procedures.

Today, Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer, and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a range of interventional medical specialties, including interventional radiology, interventional cardiology, peripheral interventions, neuromodulation, neurovascular intervention, electrophysiology, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, endoscopy, oncology, urology and gynecology. The company went public in 1992 and currently employs 35,000 people across six continents.

The company is primarily known for the development of the Taxus Stent, a drug-eluting stent which is used to open clogged arteries. With the full acquisition of Cameron Health in June 2012, the company also became notable for offering a minimally invasive implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) which they call the EMBLEM Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (S-ICD).

In 2016, Nicholas announced that he would step down as Boston Scientific’s chairman, a year ahead of his intended retirement. President & CEO Mike Mahoney, who succeeded Nicholas as Chairman, said this about his predecessor: “These changes represent a major milestone in the history of the company, as Pete’s dedication, passion, and commitment were instrumental in bringing the benefits of interventional medicine to patients in need. Under Pete’s leadership, Boston Scientific has become a leading global healthcare corporation serving 22 million patients each year, and we are deeply indebted for his decades of service and love of the company.”

Today, Nicholas serves as the managing director of Ithaka Partners LLC, a relationship-driven private, alternative asset management firm. The firm invests in and actively advises early-stage companies (especially in the areas of healthcare, technology and the environment) on the development of breakthrough products and services that will improve the well-being of people and the planet.

6. C. DEAN METROPOULOS – Florida
$2.4 BILLION (Forbes)
MANAGEMENT, ACQUISITIONS
Babson College; Married, 2 Children

C. Dean Metropoulos, age 72, is Chairman and CEO of Metropoulos & Company, a boutique buyout and management firm. He remains very high on our list, as a result of his $2.4 billion estimated worth (a slight dip from last year). Metropoulos accumulated his fortune by purchasing and resurrecting food brands such as Hostess, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Chef Boyardee, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Pinnacle Foods, Bumble Bee Tuna, Vlasic Pickles and Utz Snacks. He also recently helped produce the film Cliffs of Freedom.

The Greek-born Metropoulos moved from Tripoli to Massachusetts with his parents at age 10. Typical of many immigrants, his parents worked hard and encouraged their children to pursue their dreams. Metropoulos made his first American acquisition at the age of 32, when he acquired a cheese company in his wife, Marianne’s, native Vermont.

Metropoulos is very well known in the private equity, investment banking, and financial community, having spent nearly three decades creating, acquiring, restructuring and growing nearly 100 different businesses and 300 brands involving approximately $14 billion in capital in the United States, Mexico and Europe. Many of these were subsequently taken public or sold to strategic acquirers.

“We love acquiring and transforming undermanaged companies by investing heavily in operating efficiencies, systems, new products, and innovation,” Metropoulos said, “and unique marketing, thus turning them into vibrant, growing businesses. We have been particularly privileged and fortunate to acquire and revitalize brands with deep roots in our American culture and tradition, such as the recent acquisitions of the 170-year-old PBR and 100-year-old Hostess. Our European-acquired brands, such as Perrier Jouet and Mumm Champagnes, among others, often go back 300-plus years: truly humbling heritages.”

In July 2013, Metropoulos paid $410 million to buy Hostess Brands and return Twinkies to grocery shelves after the company had filed for bankruptcy protection and closed its doors. Hostess has made a remarkable turnaround; in the past few years it has released several ice cream flavors and rolled out a new upscale line of snacks. In 2016, The Gores Group (see Alec Gores, infra) acquired Hostess via a spin-off, under a special-purpose acquisition company process – but Metropoulos remained chairman. In August of 2019, Hostess completed a public offering of 12 million shares of Class A stock – which was owned by Metropoulos and entities controlled by him. Following the sales, Metropoulos still owned 8.1% of outstanding Hostess stock. Today, the Hostess company is worth more than $2B.
Metropoulos sold Pabst Brewing for an estimated $750 million in September 2014, nearly tripling his 2010 investment. Pabst remains one of the fastest-growing brewing companies in the United States, if not the fastest.
Metropoulos’ sons, Evan, 38 and Daren, 35, are and have been an integral part of the turnaround of the acquired companies. He has said that his sons have been the “the creative catalysts for repositioning and reinventing these brands.” In August of 2016, his son Daren made headlines after he purchased the legendary Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, CA for $100 million.

In 2019, Metropoulos was selected as one of the five distinguished Greeks of the Diaspora to be honored by the International Foundation for Greece (IFG). Every three years, the IFG honors distinguished members of our community for their contributions to enhancing the country’s international presence in various fields – including entrepreneurship, which was given to Metropoulos. The Hellenic Post issued stamps dedicated to Metropoulos as well as to four other members of the Diaspora including: George Behrakis (also featured infra), Corinne Mentzelopoulos, Alexandre Desplat and Dimitri Nanopoulos.

Metropoulos and his wife are both members of the Leadership 100 Foundation, a leadership organization that supports the activities of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States. Metropoulos is also a founding member and president of Faith Endowment, a New York based organization promoting the Greek Orthodox religion and Hellenic culture and interests.

5. AMB. GEORGE L. ARGYROS – California
$2.7 BILLION (Forbes)
REAL ESTATE, SPORTS
Chapman University (Business & Economics); Married, 3 Children

George L. Argyros is well known in a wide variety of prominent circles, as his long and illustrious life has included achievements ranging from real estate, to sports, to international diplomacy.

Argyros served as U.S. Ambassador to Spain and was an owner of the professional baseball team, the Seattle Mariners – which he sold in 1989. But Argyros, 83, made his fortune in grocery stores and real estate.

A second-generation American of Greek descent, he was born in Detroit, MI and raised in Pasadena, CA. He worked his way through high school and college in southern California as a paperboy and grocery clerk. Argyros went into real estate in 1962, selling land at busy intersections to gas stations. Today, his privately held Arnel & Affiliates owns and manages 5,500 apartments and 2 million square feet of commercial space.

Argyros also founded Westar Capital, a private equity firm, in 1987 and he is a director of First American Financial Corp and Pacific Mercantile Bancorp.

In 2001, then-President George W. Bush appointed Argyros U.S. ambassador to Spain. Argyros also served on the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FreddieMac) under President George H.W. Bush.

A resident of Harbor Island in Newport Bay, CA, Argyros is a recognized business leader and philanthropist. He was the 1993 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans, and a 2001 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Chapman’ University’s School of Business and Economics was renamed in his honor in 1999. He has served on the board of trustees for several community organizations, including the California Institute of Technology, the Beckman Foundation, the Horatio Alger Association, and Chapman University.

Argyros developed a friendship with scientist/inventor Arnold Beckman in California in 1962. Soon afterward, he began a 22-year service as chairman of the board of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which awards research grants in chemistry and the life sciences. In 2013, the foundation developed the Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research. The annual award offers a $100,000 prize and a $400,000 research grant to an individual who has made a significant achievement in vision research.

In January 2012, Argyros became a member of the Board of Regents of the Orange County Council Boy Scouts of America. In April 2011, he and his wife made a $5 million gift to an ambulatory surgery center at the University of California. In 2018, the Argyros family foundation pledged $7.5 million to renovate the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans and, according to the Los Angeles Times, the foundation donated $750,000 to help get the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society established in its new location in Newport Beach, CA.

Most recently, the Argyros family is part of an estimated $17-million campus renovation for the Mariners Christian School in Costa Mesa. Their contribution went towards a new 900-seat auditorium (the Argyros Center for Worship and Performing Arts) and a redesigned gymnasium (Living Legacy Athletic Center).

Additionally, in December of 2019, the Argyros family announced a surprise $5M donation to the South Coast Repertory, the Tony Award-winning theatre in Costa Mesa. It is one of the largest single donations in the history of the theatre, which was founded in 1964. The Argyros family has been one of the leading supporters of the Repertory since the 1970s.

Argyros is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. He and his wife, Julia, have three children and seven grandchildren. The Argyroses were honored by the city of Costa Mesa, CA in May with a?Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the community.

4. JOHN PAUL DeJORIA – Texas
$3.1BILLION (Forbes)
HAIR CARE PRODUCTS, SPIRITS
Married, 4 Children

John Paul Dejoria’s net worth is back to where it was a few years ago after a significant dip last year.
Born to an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother, who divorced by the time he was 2, DeJoria has known poverty repeatedly: first during his childhood being raised by a single mother in Los Angeles, CA, and two periods of homelessness as an adult.

DeJoria has been quoted telling a story that when he was 5, his mother didn’t have enough money to buy her sons Christmas presents. As they walked through downtown Los Angeles, his mother pointed to a woman wearing a navy blue suit ringing a bell. “Boys,” his mother said, “I’m giving you a dime. See that lady ringing the bell? Put this in her bucket.” DeJoria didn’t understand; 10 cents was a lot for a kid who didn’t have much in 1950. Why did he have to give it away? “That’s the Salvation Army. They need it more than we do,” was her reply. From that experience, he learned that “success unshared is failure.”

DeJoria’s very first job, at age nine, was selling greeting cards door-to-door. He and his brother had paper routes through their school years. After high school and two years in the U.S. Navy, DeJoria did whatever it took to make ends meet – from selling encyclopedias and working as a janitor to pumping gasoline. During his first homeless period, after he and his then-wife separated, he collected bottles to stay afloat, all while caring for his two-year-old son. Eventually, he took his talents to several hair care and cosmetic companies before becoming an independent consultant.

In 1980, DeJoria teamed up with his friend Paul Mitchell to launch John Paul Mitchell Systems, a line of high-end hair care products. The partners began with $700 and with DeJoria living in his car at the time. He said he knocked on salon doors until he got 12 orders and checks. After two years of hand-to-mouth work, the company grossed $1 million.

In 1989, after Mitchell died, DeJoria found another partner and launched Patron, a premium tequila, something unheard of at that time. His friend Clint Eastwood placed it in his film In the Line of Fire, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck endorsed it, and DeJoria gave it away at John Paul Mitchell events.

In June 2014, DeJoria co-founded (with British entrepreneur Jonathan Kendrick) ROK Mobile, a music streaming service combined with a contract-free mobile phone plan offering unlimited voice, text, and data that runs on the rails of larger cell phone carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. On March 20, 2019, ROKiT (part of ROK Mobile) announced a line of five mobile handsets, including three smartphones, to market (sold at ROKit.com and Walmart.com). Unlike other phones, these are paired with vital life services like family telemedicine, legal counsel and more. In August of 2019, ROKiT entered into a distribution arrangement with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment which would enable ROKiT customers to rent and watch a diverse collection of 3D films from the movie studio’s catalog on their glasses-free 3D ROKiT smartphones.

As expected, Dejoria has a soft-spot for helping the homeless. In response to the homeless crisis in America, Dejoria is building a community called Mobile Loaves and Fishes which has constructed 250 small homes in the city of Austen, Texas, for those who have been sleeping on the streets for over a year. Homeless people pay $90 per month for their small homes but are prohibited from drinking alcohol and fighting. The program also affords the homeless the opportunity to learn skills and earn money; it offers woodshop, auto shop, metal shop, crafts, and gardening. This training allows them to earn an income and their gardens allow them to eat organically. Dejoria noted that the program is working so well that they will be adding an additional 400 homes to the project.

The vast list of charities supported by John Paul Mitchell Systems includes the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the American Cancer Society, Food4Africa, Grow Appalachia, and Chrysalis, a nonprofit group that helps homeless and low-income people get back on their feet and find the path to self-sufficiency. DeJoria is also a patron of Mineseeker, a non-profit organization dedicated to seeking solutions to the worldwide problem of landmines.
Today, DeJoria is on lists of the world’s billionaires, and one of America’s richest living veterans. His John Paul Mitchell Systems hair products, still privately held, is worth more than a billion dollars. They are available in more than 100,000 salons in the United States and are distributed throughout the world. Patron Spirits, the original ultra-premium tequila, also the vision of Dejoria, was recently acquired by Bacardi Limited for $5.1 billion.

He and his third wife, the former Eloise Brady, are based in Austin, TX. Dejoria has four children, one of whom is professional drag-racer, Alexis DeJoria.

3. JOHN A. CATSIMATIDIS – New York
$3.3 BILLION (FORBES)
OIL, REAL ESTATE, SUPERMARKETS
New York University; Married, 2 Children

At a personal fortune estimated at $3.3 billion, John A. Catsimatidis remains very close to the top of our list again this year.

Since our last 50 Wealthiest issue, Catsimatidis has been extremely active in our community and beyond. He was the featured speaker at the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce event which focused on the effect of politics on New York City’s real estate and the future of energy in the U.S. and abroad; he expanded his supermarket holdings by taking ownership of the D’Agostino chain of supermarkets; he was appointed the Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council; he has joined the new entity, The Friends of St. Nicholas, Inc., a non-profit in charge of overseeing the completion of the St. Nicholas shrine at Ground Zero; he acquired the 77 WABC Radio station; he was honored for his contributions to the community at Three Hierarchs in Brooklyn; and finally, he was informally endorsed by former NYC Mayor Giuliani as the “logical” candidate for NYC’s new mayor – just to name a few of his achievements.
In 2013, Catsimatidis self-funded a campaign for Mayor of NYC in which he finished a strong second in the Republican primary. He might do it again in 2021. In a recent interview with the Real Deal, Catsimatidis said he’s considering launching another bid – perhaps as a democrat. He was quoted saying, “Well, somebody has to do it. The city is getting in worse shape and I’m very much concerned. I love New York.”

Catsimatidis is chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group, which is among the country’s largest privately held companies with 8,000 employees and estimated annual revenues of $5.2 billion. Red Apple has holdings in oil refining, retail petroleum products, convenience stores, supermarkets, and real estate. With a major focus on energy, Catsimatidis’ fortune accelerated with rising oil prices.

Catsimatidis’ most recent projects include building mixed-use developments in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene and Coney Island neighborhoods. He is planning to build Ocean Dreams – a 425-unit luxury rental complex overlooking the Atlantic in Coney Island. In March of 2019, Santander Bank provided Red Apple with a $200 million refinancing package for its downtown Brooklyn 32-story project, the Eagle.

More recently, in December, Red Apple Group received site plan approval from St. Petersburg, Florida’s Development Review Commission for a $300M mixed use project. The project includes a 45-story condo building, 20-story hotel, roughly 20,000 square feet of office space, and an 800-space parking garage. Catsimatidis will need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a 515-foot tower. This new tower would surpass the tallest building in that city.

When Catsimatidis was an infant, he and his family moved to an apartment in Harlem from the small Greek island of Nisyros. Catsimatidis, now 71, is a true self-made billionaire – getting there through decades of hard work and innovation.

Catsimatidis attended New York University, but withdrew before completing his degree requirements, much to the dismay of his father. He opened his first grocery store in 1969 and owned ten stores by the age of 24, making $25 million a year in revenue. He plowed $5 million into Manhattan real estate in 1977; that property was worth $100 million just five years later.

Catsimatidis stumbled upon the Chapter 11 proceedings of United Refining in Warren, PA. and purchased the oil refiner’s stock for $7.5 million. The firm now owns 375 gas outlets and convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio.

Catsimatidis is a licensed pilot, though eye surgery has grounded him over the past few years. He has helped raise millions for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Juvenile Diabetes research. He served as co-chairman and founder of the Brooklyn Tech Endowment Foundation. At the time, the $10 million fund was the largest gift to a secondary school in the United States. Since 1988 he has funded scholarships at the NYU School of Business.
Catsimatidis is married and the father of two children, Andrea and John. His wife, Margo, runs his company’s in-house advertising agency.

2. TOM GORES – California
6.6 BILLION (Forbes)
EQUITY INVESTMENT, SPORTS
Michigan State University (Construction Management); Married, 3 Children

Tom Gores scores number 2 on The National Herald’s 50 Wealthiest list this year. Gores, 55, was born in Nazareth, Israel to a Greek father and a Lebanese mother. When he was only four years old, the family moved to Genesee, MI.
Throughout his youth, Gores stocked shelves at his father’s small grocery store in Flint, MI. After earning a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University, he joined his brother Alec (also featured in this edition) in buying out companies.

Gores oversees approximately 40 companies with some $19 billion in assets through his Los Angeles-based private equity firm, Platinum Equity – which he founded in 1995. Platinum Equity is one of the largest private companies in the United States and has offices in California, New York, Boston, London, and Singapore. Its in-house business development, M&A, transition, legal, real estate, marketing, finance, and operations teams enable us to resolve matters expeditiously.

Since its founding in 1995, Platinum Equity has completed nearly 200 acquisitions in a broad range of market sectors. The current portfolio includes companies in diverse industries, acquired in a range of corporate divestitures, public-to-private transactions, and transactions with private sellers. Each portfolio company operates independently with the goal of creating long-term, sustainable value. For example, this past January, Platinum Equity completed the $2.7B acquisition of Cision Ltd., the Chicago-based parent of PR Newswire.

In 2011, Gores and Platinum became owners of the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons. In August, 2016, he purchased Platinum’s stake and became sole owner. In the beginning of 2020, Jalen Rose, a former NBA player and current sports analyst for ABC and ESPN, approached Gores to become a minority owner of the Pistons. Rose is a Detroit native, grew up idolizing the Detroit franchise and has a longstanding relationship with Gores who has been a major supporter in Rose’s public charter school in Detroit.

In 2016, he launched FlintNow to address the water crisis in his hometown of Flint, MI. This past November, through an expanded partnership with the Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, FlintNow and the National Basketball Players Association distributed $325,000 worth of gift certificates for fruits and vegetables for all Flint children during the holiday season. During that same holiday season, Gores donated approximately 10,000 toys, bicycles and helmets that were distributed to families in the Detroit area.

Gores, his wife, Holly, and their three children live in Beverly Hills, CA, but also maintain a home in Birmingham, MI. In January 2020, an article about property taxes was published which discussed the property taxes in Los Angeles. The article stated that there are 12 homes in LA that pay more than $1M a year in property taxes. One of those homes was the $100M Holmby Hills mansion of Tom Gores. Gores bought this 10 bedroom, 20 bathroom, 30,000 square foot mansion in 2016. The master bedroom of the home is 5,300 square feet – roughly twice the size of the average home in the U.S. The article stated that the Gores estate property tax bill is $1.22 million annually.

1. JIM DAVIS & FAMILY – Massachusetts
$7.7 BILLION (Forbes)
NEW BALANCE
Middlebury College (Biology/Chemistry); Married, 2 Children

With a huge bump in net worth since last year – 2.1 billion to be exact – James S. ‘Jim’ Davis, the owner and Chairman of New Balance (NB) tops The National Herald’s 50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans once again.

Davis, now 77, is the Massachusetts-born son of Greek immigrants. He graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in biology/chemistry but soon realized he didn’t enjoy school (“hated school” were his exact words in an interview with Sports Business Daily). After college, he started selling equipment having to do with biology and chemistry. He then decided it was time for him to buy a small company for himself and New Balance was the first one he looked at. At the time, he said he knew a little about sporting goods but nothing about footwear, so he decided to pass on the offer. However, a year later, in 1972, the company was still for sale, and that’s when Davis decided to buy the now 114-year old retail sports footwear company.

In 1976, the company began soaring to new heights with the development of the New Balance 320 running shoe. Davis’ wife, Anne, joined the company in 1977 and now serves as NB’s Vice Chairman. The company has since grown, remaining one of the few shoemakers that continues to manufacture some of its shoes in the United States, and now features clothing and equipment for lacrosse and soccer. Davis and his family own an estimated 95% of the company, which is still private.

In June of 2019, the Boston Globe announced that New Balance was planning to open what Davis described as a “factory of the future” in Methuen, Massachusetts. The report said that state tax breaks amounting to $900K and property tax breaks of $272K would help subsidize the $33M project. The factory will be New Balance’s sixth in the New England region, where the brand produces most of its Made in USA footwear. This will be the first manufacturing plant New Balance has opened in two decades. In return for the tax breaks, New Balance has pledged to create 60 new jobs in the 80,000 square-foot factory. According to the Globe, the focus will be on testing advanced manufacturing techniques, 3D printing, and research and development.

In April of 2019, NB Development Group broke ground on The TRACK at New Balance near Boston Landing, featuring a multi-sport athletic complex spanning a city block, as well as a concert venue with The Bowery Presents (with room for up to 3,500 fans) and a New Balance Athletics Sports Research Lab. The 250,000 square foot complex will also include ground floor retail and food services with an expected completion by late summer 2021. Of the project, Davis said, “The TRACK at New Balance will set a new performance standard in professional and amateur sports due to its innovative design, location and amenities.” The project will also drastically change the area from a sprawling mass of decrepit warehouses.

Here are some other interesting facts about Jim Davis taken from an interview he gave to Sports Business Daily:

Favorite music: The Rolling Stones

Favorite movie: I’m not big on movies.

Favorite quote: Anything that refers to tenacity, to never giving up, I strongly believe in.

Favorite vacation spot: The north shore of Boston.

Typical day off: If I’m not doing something with my family, I’ll be fooling around with my cars. I collect cars.

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