A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.
10. GEORGE M. MARCUS
$1.5 BILLION (Forbes)
San Francisco State University (Economics); Married, 4 Children
Also entering our top ten for the first time is George M. Marcus. Born George Mathew Moutsanas in 1941 on the island Greek island of Evia during World War II, Marcus, now 80, emigrated to the United States at the age of 4. His family settled in San Francisco’s blue-collar Potrero Hill neighborhood, where, he has said, his top priority was fitting in. It was in this neighborhood that Marcus eventually met his future wife, Judy. According to an interview with the Nob Hill Gazette, Marcus was friends with Judy’s younger brother – they knew each other since elementary school. However, it wasn’t until after Marcus came home from the military that his friend, Judy’s brother, suggested that he should go on a date with his sister.
Marcus completed his undergraduate studies in Economics at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in just two and a half years. He was named SFSU Alumnus of the year in 1989 and one of its 11 Distinguished Centennial Alumni in 1999. He and his wife (also an SFSU alum), helped create SFSU’s International Center for the Arts with a $3 million gift. Marcus also helped develop SFSU’s Greek Studies program, and chairs its Modern Greek Studies Foundation, which supports the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair for Modern Greek Studies.
Professionally, Marcus founded G.M. Marcus & Company, which evolved into Marcus & Millichap Company (MMC), with the help of his business partner, William A. Millichap (who passed away in June of 2020) four decades ago. MMC is one of the country’s premier providers of investment real estate brokerage services, and the parent company of a diversified group of real estate, service, investment, and development firms. It closes more transactions than any other brokerage firm in the country and has a market cap of approximately $1.23 billion. In October of 2020, MMC announced that it had agreed to acquire New York-based debt and equity brokerage Mission Capital.
MMC’s featured company, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, has established itself as a leading real estate firm with more than 1,200 brokers in markets throughout the United States. With dozens of offices across the U.S. and Canada, the firm concentrates on investment brokerage, and provides financing and research services to both buyers and sellers. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services went public in October 2013. In 2015, due to the company’s success, Marcus’ net worth catapulted him from millionaire to billionaire.
Marcus is also chairman of Essex Property Trust, a publicly held, multi-family real estate investment trust (REIT). Located in Palo Alto, CA and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Essex is a fully integrated REIT that acquires, develops, and redevelops apartment communities in select west coast ocales. The company, according to Forbes, currently owns almost 60,000 apartments along the West Coast (with sales of $1.4 billion as of 2018).
In an interview with the Business Times about his companies, he said they started with “a good idea, a commitment to innovate and good people who have dedicated decades to do the job.” “Integrity has always been the key,” Marcus told the Business Times. “We were always trying to do something a little bit better than the rest and we have really well-trained people to do it,” he said. Later in the interview Marcus said, “I’ve never told someone what to do — but convinced them to do it.”
Along with another Greek-American couple, George and Judy Marcus opened the successful Evvia restaurant in Palo Alto in 1995, and its sister restaurant Kokkari in San Francisco in 1999.
Marcus supports many organizations of the Greek-American community. In 2008, he co-founded and is the current Chairman Emeritus of the National Hellenic Society, which brings together distinguished Greek-Americans on a national level to preserve their heritage. His considerable commitments to the Greek Orthodox Church and the Community include memberships on the boards of directors of the Modern Greek Studies Foundation, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, International Orthodox Christian Charities, the Elios Society of Northern California, Leadership 100, and many others. He is also involved with The Hellenic Initiative, the Washington ‘Oxi’ Day Foundation, and the Taube Foundation. In February 2017, The National Herald reported that Marcus donated $1 million to the Hellenic College and Holy Cross Theological School (HCHC) in Massachusetts. Last year, he donated another $2 million (in addition to the $1 million he had already donated) towards the rebuilding of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
The Marcuses also support non-Greek causes as well. For example, in 2018, they gave San Francisco State University a $25 million gift to benefit the school’s liberal arts program (the largest grant ever given to that institution). Last year, they gave $10M to Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School which will be used to establish an endowment – a gift that the school’s president calls “transformational.”
The Marcuses have also been major political donors, mostly to Democratic and liberal causes. Most recently, Marcus has become one of Joe Biden’s largest donors (according to Forbes). It was reported that he donated $4 million to Biden’s campaign and the pro-Biden super PACs.
9. JAMIE DIMON
$1.8 BILLION (Forbes)
Tufts University (Psychology & Economics); Married, 3 children
Entering our top ten this year for the first time, Jamie Dimon, 64, is the chairman and CEO of America’s largest bank (in terms of assets) JPMorgan Chase, and considered one of the nation’s most powerful people.
Dimon was born and raised in New York City with his older brother Peter and his fraternal twin Ted. To ensure their surname sounded French (and not Greek), his paternal grandfather changed the family surname from Papademetriou to Dimon when he emigrated to the United States (penniless) from Smyrna.
Dimon’s grandfather worked as a busboy but then landed a job at Atlantic Bank of New York (a subsidiary of the National Bank of Greece). After working his way up to vice president, he left the bank and became a broker. He passed his knowledge of that business onto his son, Theodore (Dimon’s father) – who originally wanted to become a violinist. Dimon’s father and grandfather worked together for 19 years and Jamie joined them during the summers in their New York office. In a recent interview with CNBC, Dimon said he picked up some habits from his grandfather, like reading. “My grandfather was a fascinating guy: He spoke six languages, he walked miles a day, he read a lot,” Dimon said in the interview. Dimon’s grandfather was also “very ethical” and his parents were “moralistic,” which molded his view on ethics and “moral core,” he said. “They strongly believed in right and wrong. Telling the truth. If I didn’t treat someone properly, they would get very mad, including defending people being picked on,” he said. In another (2016) interview with CNBC, Dimon said that he and his family were very ‘tight’ – so when both of his parents died within a few hours of each other in that same year, it was very tough on him.
As a boy, Dimon attended the Browning School, a prestigious all-boys prep school on New York’s Upper East Side. He later majored in psychology and economics at Tufts University, and earned his MBA from Harvard University Business School where he met his future wife and mother of his three daughters, Judith Kent. Upon graduating in 1982, Sanford Weill convinced him to turn down offers from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and instead to join him as an assistant at American Express. Through a series of unprecedented mergers and acquisitions that ensued, they formed Citigroup, then the largest financial services conglomerate in the world. Weill was the one who made the deals, but Dimon was the “whiz kid” who made the numbers work. Dimon left Citigroup in November 1998 due to an internal conflict with Weill.
Dimon moved on and became the CEO of Bank One. When JPMorgan Chase purchased Bank One in July 2004, Dimon became president and chief operating officer of the combined company. As mentioned, he now serves as chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
Dimon’s salary for 2020 remained the same as last year – $31.5 million. According to Fox Business, the move to keep Dimon's pay unchanged comes after a year of unprecedented economic and health challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes’ 2020 list of the world’s largest companies, JPMorgan is the largest and most powerful public company in the country, and third in the world behind ICBC and China Construction Bank (two Chinese banks). Its market value was estimated at nearly $291 billion.
A few weeks ago, JPMorgan Chase introduced a new grant available to first-time homebuyers in 6,700 communities that the U.S. Census has identified as majority Black and Latinx residents. “Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co., in a press release. “We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality, especially for Black and Latinx people. It’s long past time that society addresses racial inequities in a more tangible, meaningful way.”The new grant is part of the bank’s $30 billion commitment to help address wealth inequality – an initiative that they started last October following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
He is also on the Board of Directors of Harvard Business School and the Board of Trustees of New York University School of Medicine.
In July 2014, Dimon said he had been diagnosed with throat cancer. By 2016, it appeared the cancer was in remission and he had a good long-term prognosis. In March 2020, Dimon underwent "emergency heart surgery." The reason for the surgery was to repair an acute aortic dissection, a tear in the inner layer of the aorta, an artery that is the largest blood vessel in the body. According to JP Morgan, Dimon recovered well from surgery. In April 2020, it was announced that Dimon returned to work in a remote capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
8. PETER G. ANGELOS
$2.0 BILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)
LAW, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
University of Baltimore; Married, 2 children
Peter G. Angelos, now 91, 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 moved 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 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.
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. They also enjoyed some success in the mid-2010’s but have since been in a period of ‘rebuilding.’ In November of 2020, Forbes reported that the team is worth $1.4 billion.
Angelos and his wife, Georgia, have two sons, John and Louis. Louis is an attorney at the family law firm. John was recently approved by the Major League Baseball owners as the ‘control person’ for the Baltimore Orioles, according to the Baltimore Sun. The approval means that John will succeed his father as the franchise’s top executive, signaling an official transition from the Orioles’ longstanding leadership. Angelos began to cede control of the Orioles to his sons starting in 2017 due to his poor health. In February of this year it was announced that the Orioles have agreed to extend their lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority and to remain at Camden Yards through 2021. According to the Baltimore Sun, this commitment was characterized by both parties as a “placeholder” while they continued to negotiate a deal to keep the team at the stadium (and in Baltimore) for the long term. “The Baltimore Orioles have stated publicly that they remain committed to Baltimore and to Maryland,” said Thomas Kelso, chairman of the stadium authority, which is the landlord for the Orioles and Ravens on behalf of the state. John Angelos and other club executives have sought to assure Baltimore fans that the franchise is stable and intends to remain in the city. In 2019, John Angelos told a crowd of Baltimore business leaders that the team would stay in Baltimore “as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor.”
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 and most recently, ESPN that Peter Angelos was among the top donors among MLB owners to either party over the last election cycle.
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 donated $2.5 million to the MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore to open a lung disease center.
7. AMB. GEORGE L. ARGYROS
$2.1 BILLION (Forbes)
REAL ESTATE, SPORTS
Chapman University (Business & Economics); Married, 2 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 Andorra and was an owner of the professional baseball team, the Seattle Mariners – which he sold in 1989. But Argyros, now 84, 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 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.
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.
The Argyros family is part of an estimated $17-million campus renovation for theMariners 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 Argyroses have been one of the leading supporters of the Repertory since the 1970s. The family was also honored by the city of Costa Mesa, CA in May of 2019 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the community.
Most recently, Argyros donated $7.5 million to the Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach which will be directed towards the hospital’s nursing services. As per Forbes, they have also donated to political campaigns, including $100,000 to former President Donald Trump for the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee (October 15 to November 23, 2020).
Argyros is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. He and his wife, Julia, have two children and seven grandchildren. Their third child, George Argyros Jr., passed away in August of 2020 as a result of a heart attack. He was only 55 years old.
6. JOHN PAUL DeJORIA
$2.7 BILLION (Forbes)
HAIR CARE PRODUCTS, SPIRITS Married, 6 Children
John Paul Dejoria’s net worth has slipped about $400 million since last year – which is not surprising given the coronavirus pandemic – but he nevertheless remains in our top 10 Wealthiest Greeks in America.
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” – which has become his life’s motto.
DeJoria’s very first job, at age nine, was selling greeting cards door-to-door. He and his brother had newspaper 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 a loan of $700 and with DeJoria living in his car at the time. After two years of hand-to-mouth work, the company grossed $1 million. The John Paul Mitchell Systems hair products company, 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.
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. The original ultra-premium tequila was acquired by Bacardi Limited for $5.1 billion in 2018.
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. 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. Just a few months ago, ROKiT unveiled its first fully functioning WiFi City in Austin, TX. The company enables free WiFi and online streaming services to the residents of Community First! Village which provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. The ROKiT team announced that they are expanding their services to other countries throughout North, Central and South America, as well as Africa and Asia.
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 Austin, TX, 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.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, DeJoria has certainly kept busy. The John Paul Mitchell Systems produced hand sanitizer to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus which was donated to high-need groups who are facing shortages, such as Southern California first responders, Los Angeles police officers, and low-income families with young children. The company also enacted a relief program called the JPMS Salon Jumpstart Stimulus package (valued at $4 million) In an interview with Allure magazine, the JPMS vice chairman said, "The Stimulus is designed to provide must-have professional products and tools that will help salons get back up and running, allowing them to pocket added service revenue through color, blonding and professional treatments.”
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, as well as Peace Love and Happiness LTD which is “committed to contributing to a sustainable planet through investing in people, protecting animals and conserving the environment.”
Today, DeJoria is on lists of the world’s billionaires, and one of America’s richest living veterans. He and his third wife, the former Eloise Brady, are based in Austin, TX. Dejoria has six children, one of whom is professional drag-racer, Alexis DeJoria.
5. C. DEAN METROPOULOS
$2.7 BILLION (Forbes)
Babson College; Married, 2 Children
C. Dean Metropoulos, age 74, is Chairman and CEO of Metropoulos & Company, a boutique buyout and management firm. His increased net worth, in comparison to last year, has launched him into our top 5 wealthiest Greeks in America.
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 accumulated his fortune by purchasing and resurrecting food brands such as Hostess, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Chef Boyardee, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Pinnacle Foods, Bumble Bee Tuna, Vlasic Pickles, Cadbury, Aunt Jemima and Utz Snacks. He made his first American acquisition at the age of 32, when he acquired a cheese company in his wife Marianne’s native Vermont.
Metropoulos has made himself known in the private equity, investment banking, and financial communities, having spent nearly three decades creating, acquiring, restructuring, and growing over 80 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.
One of his famous deals was in July 2013 when 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. Since then, 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 the Gores Brothers supra) acquired Hostess via a spin-off, under a special-purpose acquisition company process – but Metropoulos remained chairman until the end of 2020. Today, the Hostess company is worth more than $2B.
More recently, in February of 2021, Nestle S.A. formally announced the sale of its North American Waters business to One Rock Capital and none other but Metropoulos in a $4.3 billion deal. The sale includes Poland Spring, Deer Park, Zephyrhills, Pure Life, and others.
Metropoulos’ sons, Evan, 40 and Daren, 38, 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 trustee of the National Hellenic Museum located in Chicago and a founding member and president of Faith Endowment, a New York based organization promoting the Greek Orthodox religion and Hellenic culture and interests.
4. JOHN A. CATSIMATIDIS
$2.8 BILLION (Forbes)
OIL, REAL ESTATE, SUPERMARKETS
New York University; Married, 2 Children
With a personal fortune estimated at $2.8 billion, John A. Catsimatidis remains very close to the top of our list again this year.
Since our last issue of the 50 Wealthiest Greek Americans, Catsimatidis has been extremely active in our community and beyond. In addition to helping establish the St. Andrew Ecumenical Patriarchal Fund, Catsimatidis is also preparing for a second mayoral run in New York as per the NY Post. (Catsimatidis also ran a self-funded campaign in 2013 in which he finished a strong second in the Republican primary.) Catsimatidis, now 72, said that “he will dig deeper into his checkbook this time and may cough up $100 million of his fortune to win the primary, then mount a serious challenge to whomever emerges the victor of the Democratic primary,” the Post reported.
When Catsimatidis was an infant, he and his family moved to an apartment in Harlem from the small Greek island of Nisyros. Catsimatidis 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 by the time he was 24, he owned ten stores and was 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 chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group, which is among the country’s largest privately held companies that has holdings in the energy, aviation, retail, and real estate sectors with 8,000 employees. With a major focus on energy, Catsimatidis’ fortune accelerated with rising oil prices. Catsimatidis also hosts a weekly talk radio show, the Cats Roundtable, during which he interviews people involved in politics.
Catsimatidis’ most recent projects include building mixed-use developments in Brooklyn's Fort Greene and Coney Island neighborhoods. He was planning on expanding his Ocean Drive twin tower rental apartment complex on Coney Island by adding three more larger towers, but anti-development activists are shooting down many of the proposals. However, he is about to break ground on a $300 million complex in St. Petersburg, FL which will include a 46-story condo tower.
Catsimatidis has helped raise millions for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Juvenile Diabetes research and is on the board of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund. Since 1988 he has funded scholarships at the NYU School of Business. Catsimatidis is married to Margo and is the father of two children, Andrea and John.
3. HASEOTES FAMILY
$3.9 BILLION (BizJournal)
Jumping five spots since last year, the Haseotes family has come a long way from their one-cow, one-calf Rhode Island farm.
Their story starts with Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes who 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 their (now famous) 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 after realizing that there were few convenience food stores with daily dawn-to-midnight service 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.
Today, Cumberland farms has almost 600 stores in 8 states and employs over 6,000 people. 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. Lily Haseotes Bentas, daughter of Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes, served as chairman of the board of directors and her nephew, Ari, succeeded her as CEO in June 2014.
In 2019, EG Group, a United Kingdom-based company, officially bought Cumberland Farms. 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.”
Two members of the Haseotes family made large real estate investments over the past year: Byron G. Haseotes Jr. (grandson of Vasilios), paid $11.12 million through a land trust for a new built waterfront spec home in Boca Raton; and Vasilios S. Haseotes II (another grandson of Vasilios) bought an equestrian estate for $8.2 million in Wellington, FL.
Another member of the Haseotes family, Demetrios, started Midland Farms in 2002, now a large New York-based fluid dairy processor. He moved to Pulaski County in Kentucky in 2012 after purchasing the former Somerset Refinery (now Continental Refining Company (CRC)), and investing over $40 million in updating and improving the facility’s crude oil refining capabilities. A few months ago Demetrios announced that CRC would not resume refining crude oil but said that he is exploring plans to invest an additional $25 million to acquire, relocate, and install a soybean crushing biodiesel refining and blending facility at the current CRC oil refinery. According to the Commonwealth Journal, in October of 2020, Demetrios also announced that he and three other people were looking to start a four-year university (from scratch) in Somerset, KY.
2. JIM DAVIS & FAMILY
$5.7 BILLION (Forbes)
Middlebury College (Biology/Chemistry); Married, 2 Children
The net worth of James S. ‘Jim’ Davis, the owner and Chairman of New Balance (NB), has dropped by $2 billion in one year according to Forbes, but Davis still manages to top The National Herald’s 50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans once again.
Davis, now 77, is the Massachusetts-born son of Greek immigrants. He got his start working for his father's restaurants as a ‘lumper’ carrying trays. Davis graduated from Middlebury College, where he played football, with a degree in biology/chemistry thinking that he'd work in medicine, until one of his professors suggested his talent might be in sales. After college, he combined his knowledge (medicine) and his skills (sales) and started selling equipment having to do with biology and chemistry.
In 1971, Davis decided it was time for him to buy a small company for himself. The first one he contemplated was New Balance but decided to pass on the offer because of his lack of footwear knowledge. However, a year later, the company was still for sale, so he decided to buy the then 6-employee Boston firm. 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 to a 4,000-employee global corporation, 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. It is scheduled to open in the summer of 2021, and will focus on manufacturing development, automation, research, and 3-D manufacturing. The Methuen facility is expected to create 60 jobs. Unfortunately, New Balance plans to close its factory in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood in the next few weeks, eliminating 63 jobs.
Earlier this year, at the start of the pandemic, the company furloughed some of its retail, factory, and office workforce in response to COVID-19. Joe Preston, New Balance president and CEO, said senior-level associates saw salary reductions, and he saw a 50 percent salary cut.
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 complex is said to be opening to the public in the fall of 2021.
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.
1. THE GORES (GEORGIOUS) BROTHERS
$8.3 BILLION (Forbes)
EQUITY INVESTMENT, SPORTS, TECHNOLOGY, LEVERAGED BUYOUTS, ENTERTAINMENT
The Gores brothers have dominated our 50 Wealthiest list over the past few years – with all three of them making the top 40 in recent history. With a combined net worth of over $8 billion, we decided to merge this brother trifecta for a more holistic view of their family and its success.
The Gores brothers were born in Nazareth, Israel to a Greek father and a Lebanese mother. It took the family, which included six children, five years to get visas to enter the United States. Eventually, the family finally made it to America and settled in Genesee, MI. The three sons, who were originally named Elias (Alec), Samir (Sam) and Tewfic (Tom) Georgious, were promptly given new American names by their aunt, who picked them up from the airport.
In an interview with Forbes in 2016, Alec said, "my father was willing to give up literally everything he had [in Israel] and pack his bags and bring us here … He did it for the kids, to make sure we have a better future." Their father, Charlie, emphasized hard work and an appreciation for the opportunities the United States presented. "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. You've got to work hard, and you can do anything you want in this country,’" Alec recalled in the same Forbes interview.
The Gores brothers began their professional careers stocking shelves at their father’s small grocery store in Flint, MI and bagging groceries at their uncle’s store (for 25 cents an hour) after arriving in America.
Today, Tom oversees more than 25 companies with some $23 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.
In 2011, Tom and Platinum became owners of the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons. In August, 2016, he purchased Platinum’s stake and became sole owner. Tom also bankrolled a new $90 million headquarters and training center for the team which opened in September 2019.
Tom also owns the controversial Securus Technologies, one of the industry leaders in providing telecommunications to incarcerated individuals. The company has been criticized for its exorbitant rates for phone calls – and the burden of that cost is held by the families, who are struggling even more to keep in contact with their friends and loved ones during the pandemic. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Tom said Platinum Equity purchased Securus because the firm viewed the company as a "sound investment." Now, he says he doesn't think private companies should run the prison telecom industry. Gores has said he has a responsibility to bring change to an industry that needs it. While some activists remain skeptical, Gores’ actions have garnered cautious praise from some prison reform advocates and from the National Basketball Players Association.
In 2016, Tom launched FlintNow to address the water crisis in his hometown of Flint, MI. During this past holiday season, Tom distributed thousands of toys to 200 families in Flint at the Salvation Army in a drive thru system. Bikes, Kindle tablets, and games were passed out to those needing a little helping hand this year, as so many have fallen on tough financial times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tom, his wife, Holly, and their three children live in Beverly Hills, CA, but also maintain a home in Birmingham, MI.
Alec heads the Beverly Hills-based private equity firm The Gores Group. 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," Alec 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 Metropoulos, also featured in this edition, to take the food snack giant Hostess public but has since sold the majority of his stake. Alec 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). It is alleged that his first wife, Lisa, had an affair with his brother, Tom, which led to their divorce.
Sam founded the entertainment talent Agency Paradigm in 1992 and has become one of the top agents in Hollywood. Paradigm first became a player in the music industry by purchasing Monterey Peninsula Artists (Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Aerosmith, Toby Keith) in 2004 and Little Big Man (Coldplay, The Fray) in 2006. Other noteworthy names in Paradigm’s repertoire include: Kacey Musgraves, Shawn Mendes, Tiesto, Imagine Dragons, Janet Jackson, Zoe Kravitz, Halsey, Diplo, Gucci Mane, Antonio Banderas, Neil Patrick Harris, Kenny Chesney, Ed Sheeran, The Black Eyed Peas – as well as teen phenom Billie Eilish. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Sam laid off a large portion of Paradigm's staff, drawing criticism from media and employees. Gores was accused of being misleading after firing more than double the amount of employees originally reported and cutting insurance for laid off employees, which Gores later extended until June 2020.
Sam has donated to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. He is also an active participant in Conservation International and Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish Arab Education in Israel which builds schools in Israel for both Jewish and Arab children. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Recording Academy. He also serves as a Trustee at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is on the board of Geffen Playhouse.
A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.
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