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Home / Articles / News / Features /  Where's the Money?
09.09.09-cover-l

Where's the Money?

SFR  hunts for Santa Fe’s wealthiest

September 8, 2009, 12:00 am

Money is a slippery thing, especially now.

It’s been generations since the value of a dollar was in such doubt, with the US government planning to run a deficit over the next decade of $9,000,000,000,000—that’s a record $9 trillion—enough to buy every adult Santa Fean a new F-22 fighter jet or a large stake in a uranium mine.

The feds may already have committed three times that much to bail out private financial institutions deemed “too big to fail.”

The Great Recession has thrown at least 3,300 Santa Feans out of work since last August. At that rate, one student in every Santa Fe classroom has a parent who has lost a job. The wealthy have felt the contraction, too: Yesterday’s billionaires are today’s...hundred millionaires.

That extra cushion isn’t the only difference between the rich and the rest. Wealth also gets harder to measure as it grows. Counting layoffs is one thing. Tracking the performance of complex, constantly changing private investment portfolios, combined with the fluctuating value of land and property, is another.

Truth is, any time you see a “richest” list, whether it’s in Forbes or Fortune or the defunct Crosswinds weekly—which published a New Mexico’s-richest list in 1996—the methodology behind it is at best educated guesswork. Even the government doesn’t know who’s wealthiest. If there’s anything people lie about as often as sex, it’s money.

So SFR doesn’t present this list as anything but our best effort to figure out who’s got the money in Santa Fe. Our process wasn’t entirely scientific. But several professional fundraisers told us our method was more exhaustive, if less personal, than their own means of sniffing out deep pockets. To report this story, SFR scoured Santa Fe County property records, nonprofit tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service, philanthropic donor lists, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, private aircraft registrations with the Federal Aviation Administration, political campaign donors through the Federal Election Commission, court records including divorces and lawsuits, press accounts of luxury homes and art collectors, and straight-up town gossip.

There’s a point, here. Many names on this list are global players whose business decisions can change the course of nations. At the local level, they fund arts and civic organizations—like the Lensic Performing Arts Center and SITE Santa Fe—that make Santa Fe a better place to live, and an arts and culture scene with cachet around the world.

But there’s another side to the strange economic mix that is Santa Fe. Not counting slavery, this is a time of unprecedented wealth inequality. Even at Santa Fe’s vaunted “living wage,” a person would have to save every penny for 125 years to even put the traditional 20 percent down payment on financier Jeffrey Epstein’s Santa Fe ranch.

Santa Fe Community Foundation President Billie Blair says her organization confronts, on a daily basis, “the disparity of people who wonder where there next meal is coming from and people of high net worth.” For years, Blair used to take wealthy donors to field trips on the Southside, to elementary day camps, low-income housing developments and taquerias.

“We think it’s important for people whom Santa Fe’s been good to, who may be from somewhere else, to understand our community. We are all one community,” Blair says.

With that, we present this incomplete list of Santa Fe’s rich and not-always famous.

KEY TO SYMBOLS

 $ = Loaded
 $$ = Master of the universe
 $$$  = Richer than God

E/C = East Coast roots
W/C = West Coast roots
TEX = Texas roots
EEE = More local than not

David R Albin
 $$ish
TEX
In the 1980s, Albin worked in the oil and gas division of monster investment bank Goldman Sachs. Today Albin, 50, is a director of several energy companies, including NGP Capital Resources, and has a $2 million home in Las Campanas with his wife, Pamela. Albin also owns a 2006 Cessna Citation business jet.

John H Biggs
 $$$
E/C
Biggs, the former chairman, president and CEO of one of the nation’s largest financial services companies, TIAA-CREF, must be on any list of Santa Fe’s wealthiest. The company’s six-story, glass-domed Southern Service Center in Charlotte, NC bears his name. Biggs also was a director of aerospace giants Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas and, in the years preceding the Great Recession, of JPMorgan Chase bank. Biggs, 73, has a $2 million home in Las Campanas and serves on the board of the Santa Fe Opera.

Christopher Doss Casey
 $$ish
E/C
Casey, 43, came to our attention because he owns and pilots a small plane that’s registered in Santa Fe. In 2007, Casey became a managing partner at AIG Global Real Estate, a subsidiary of the finance and insurance giant. Subsequent to the economic crash, AIG has received a total of $182.5 billion in federal aid, according to the Government Accountability Office. In March, President Barack Obama singled out AIG for scorn regarding large bonus pay, saying, “This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed.” Casey’s wife Marian, who serves on SITE’s board of directors, donated $750 to Obama’s campaign last year. They own a $1 million home on Camino del Monte Sol, though Casey’s LinkedIn profile lists his home as greater New York City.

Paul De Domenico
 $$$
Home base unknown
There are two Paul De Domenicos in Santa Fe; the son is 47, the father 75. Their family invented Rice-A-Roni. They also bought and sold Ghiradelli Chocolates. The elder Paul and Anita De Domenico’s Santa Fe home was the
Aug. 19 “estate of the day” on luxist.com. The site described it as “12,000 square feet of luxury designed with Anasazi and Pueblo influences,” featuring “floors of imported tile, stone, and cherry wood…[and] fine details such as custom iron and glass work, hand crafted, hand adzed custom built doors, fine millwork, and nine uniquely designed fireplaces.” The asking price is $8.2 million. According to a 2007 New York Times article, the De Domenicos also hoped to sell a property they purchased in Fiji some 40 years ago at the urging of their friend, actor Raymond Burr; the Times called it “a network of lush valleys and hills, with its own waterfall, running streams, sunset views and about six kilometers, or four miles, of beach.”

Ronald N Dubin
 $$ish
E/C
Former Santa Fe Opera board of directors member Dubin founded the investment firm Dubin Clark & Company, based in tony Greenwich, Conn. He also was a director of CompUSA. Despite the blue-blood cred, Dubin has a foothold here. A former caretaker of his Santa Fe estate—whose duties are to care for “the art collection, manage vendors, maintain budgets and supervise staff”—described it as “three residences on 8.5 acres,” according to The Santa Fe New Mexican. Dubin’s daughter, a People magazine staff writer, was married at Loretto Chapel in 2001.

Stephen L Feinberg
 $$$
EEE
Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Feinberg to the State Investment Council this year. His leadership of global warehouse giant ProLogis suggests a 21st century free marketeer, but he’s got a bookish side, as a former St. John’s College board chair and director of Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishing. He shares a $1.8 million home on Brownell Howland Road with Susan Foote.

Tom Ford
 $ish
EEE
Local-boy-made-good Ford used the profits from his fashion line (and from his days as a Gucci designer) to build a large mansion on a hometown hilltop. New York Magazine called it a “rugged adobe pleasure dome” in a 2006 story about the controversy the home caused; many locals use harsher words. Curious? Santa Fe Review Editor George Johnson has a 24/7 webcam trained on the Ford mansion (and on the Davises’ property; see “Some usual suspects”).

Peter Frank
 $$$
W/C
Richardson appointed Frank, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers senior partner who lives in Tesuque, to the State Investment Council this year.

Eddie Gilbert
 $$$
EEE
In a 1999 article about Gilbert’s new Santa Fe-based property company, BGK Equities, Forbes described him as a “two-time securities convict who once fled to Brazil to escape lenders” worth more than $100 million, with a “3-acre Santa Fe estate [where] 10-foot electric gates open onto a broad, crushed-stone dooryard. Two Dobermans and a rottweiler jog out to encircle visitors.” The property doesn’t appear to be in his name; neither is BGK’s 2006 sport aircraft. BGK donated $50,000 to Richardson’s 2002 run for governor. Gilbert is 86.

Vernon “Bud” O Hamilton
 $$$
EEE
Hamilton, 67, was for decades a senior executive at one of the world’s biggest corporations, Procter & Gamble; in 2005, he joined the board of Domino’s Pizza. He shares a $6.5 million home on Old Sunset Trail with his wife, Valerie, who serves on the board of the Cancer Institute Foundation. He is on the board of the Lensic and the School for Advanced Research.

Michael L Klein
 $$
TEX
Oilman Klein owns a $6.7 million home in Tesuque with wife Jeanne; together, they’re on this summer’s ARTnews list of top collectors worldwide. Klein serves on SITE’s board.

Robert B Knutson
 $$$
OTHER
Knutson and wife Miryam own a $6 million home on Circle Drive. He retired in 2006 from Education Management Corporation, the company that owns the Art Institute franchise of schools. That year, investors including Goldman Sachs paid $3.4 billion for the company Knutson had led since 1969.

Patrick Lannan
 $$ish
EEE
Patrick Lannan Jr., 70, heads the foundation his financier father founded in 1960. With $222 million in assets, it is Santa Fe’s biggest by far. (The McCune and Thaw foundations come in at $144 million and $52 million, respectively.) Next to that nonprofit fortune, Lannan’s $729,000 home on Camino Militar looks relatively modest.

Diana T MacArthur
 $$
EEE
MacArthur, 76, founded and still heads Dynamac, a government contractor with lucrative deals, including a $120 million support contract at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. She’s also a past president of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation and a director of Foreign Traders on Galisteo Street. MacArthur donated $7,900 and $10,000 to Richardson’s two gubernatorial runs. Her Tesuque Ridge home was assessed at $4 million last year.

Anne & John Marion
 $$
TEX
The couple made ARTnews’ top collectors’ list and serve on the board of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Their money comes from the Texas-based Burnett Oil and ranch empire.

Nedra Matteucci
 $$
EEE
This First State Bancorp director also has a successful eponymous gallery.

William A Miller
 $$ish
EEE
Miller owns Santa Fe County’s ninth-most valuable home, an $8.6 million residence in Tesuque. He heads Miller Strategic Consulting, a locally based venture capital firm, and serves on the boards of Hitachi Medical Systems, the biometrics company Lumidigm and SITE Santa Fe. In June, Richardson named him a “major contributor to the arts.”

William H Miller III
 $$$
E/C
Not to be confused with the other Bill Miller (see William A Miller). William H, board chair of the Santa Fe Institute, is often mentioned in company with investment stars like Warren Buffett; in fact, Miller is reportedly pals with Buffett, the world’s richest man. Miller famously beat the stock market for 15 years running with his Baltimore-based mutual fund, the Legg Mason Value Trust. But last year, after Miller’s bad bets led to a collapse in Legg Mason’s value, both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ran columns reassessing his legendary status. It’s unclear whether he owns property here. According to a Bloomberg News profile, Miller, 59, lives in the Maryland suburbs and “travels to Santa Fe four times a year”—but he’s around enough to make this list.

Sonny Otero
 $ish
EEE
A big-time state contractor, homebuilder, landowner and Richardson campaign donor, Otero has one of the few Hispanic names on our list.

Wayne A Reaud
 $$$
TEX
Reaud owns the only Gulfstream IV, a 19-passenger business jet that costs roughly $20 million, registered in Santa Fe County. A member of the “Texas Tobacco Five” lawyers, Reaud split $3.3 billion in fees for helping that state win an even bigger settlement against Big Tobacco. Now a director at Huntsman chemicals corporation, Reaud is “known throughout the legal community as a champion of working men and women”—at least according to his bio by the Beaumont Foundation, for which he serves as a board member. An active Democrat, Reaud gave $25,000 to Richardson’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign. His mansion on Tano Norte is worth $1.6 million.

Louisa Stude Sarofim
 $$$
TEX
Sarofim, who has a farm in Tesuque, has funded exhibitions at SITE and made the ARTnews top collectors’ list. Also on that list was her ex, Egyptian-born super-investor Fayez Sarofim (aka “The Sphinx”), who gave her $250 million in a 1989 divorce settlement that Forbes called the largest in Texas history. Forbes says Sarofim, 72, is the “adopted daughter of Herman Brown, the cofounder of the construction colossus Brown & Root,” which was a subsidiary of the military contractor Halliburton until 2007. Sarofim’s daughter Allison reportedly played a centaur in the first Chronicles of Narnia film.

Simon H Stertzer
 $$
W/C
A Stanford University professor and acclaimed heart surgeon with at least one patent to his name, Stertzer owns a $6.1 million home in Tesuque; a Cessna aircraft also is registered at his address. In 2001 he purchased the Palomino Club, a popular strip joint in northern Las Vegas, Nev. According to a June 2009 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Stertzer named Luis Hidalgo Jr., a friend, to manage the club…Hidalgo Jr. drove a Pantera auto and frequently carried a handgun and wads of cash.” Hidalgo Jr. and his son, Luis Hidalgo III, were sentenced to life in prison this year for the 2005 murder of a doorman. Stertzer sold the club. In 2007, Santa Fe City Council minutes record Stertzer’s donation of mobile trailers to the city police department.

T Peter Townsend
 $$$
TEX
Townsend is a former ExxonMobil vice president with a $1.7 million home in Las Campanas; wife Joanna is on the National Council of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Albert S Waxman
 $$
EEE
Waxman, 68, founded Psilos Group Managers, a venture capital fund that specializes in health care technologies. He donates big to Democratic politicians and the Center for Contemporary Arts. He also owns Santa Fe’s 16th most valuable home, a $6.6 million residence on Circle Drive. In 2006, he and wife Margarita sued their high-end decorators after getting billed for items they’d rejected. Among other things, the Waxmans complained that “the [outdoor furniture] fabric and fringe delivered were never approved [and] the fabric color did not match the pillows,” and there were “color samples of the [family room] rug that did not match the family room sofa.” When they sued, the Waxmans had already forked over $506,000 in advance payments to the decorators; that’s 12 times their annual property tax bill.

J Tylee Wilson
 $$$
Home base unknown
The former RJR Nabisco board chairman and his wife have a $1.5 million home here. According to the Robb Report, “the definitive authority on connoisseurship for ultra-affluent consumers,” it features a “baronial reception hall [with] a 15-foot-high ceiling and numerous nichos (niches) that showcase Wilson’s collections of Indian pottery, weavings, and beading. The doors throughout the dwelling are equipped with hardware as hefty and as elaborately detailed as that on medieval town gates.”

Bill & Nancy Zeckendorf
 $$ish
E/C
The late William Zeckendorf Sr. was a big real estate developer in New York City. Bill Jr. continues in that business, developing condos, office and luxury property in NYC, the Hamptons and Palm Beach, among other places. He and wife Nancy are major donors to the Lensic; they have a $2.6 million home on Calle De Agua.

CELEBRITIES: You may have heard of them

Jane Fonda

 $$ish
The famous actress divorced billionaire CNN founder Ted Turner in 2001. She lives at Forked Lightning Ranch in San Miguel County.

Gene Hackman
 $$ish
The actor’s ranch is technically in Mora County, but his wife is a partner in a Santa Fe shop.

Ali MacGraw
 $$ish
The Academy-award nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress (Love Story) has lived in Santa Fe since 1994, and is well-known for her approachability and generosity to numerous Santa Fe causes, including animals and the arts.

Cormac McCarthy
 $ish
The author has had good luck with Hollywood adaptations and Oprah recommendations; his $1.1 million home is off Bishops Lodge Road.

Randy Travis
 $$
The country music star and his wife Elizabeth own the third most-valuable home in Santa Fe, assessed at $12.3 million.

WE DIDN’T FORGET: Some usual suspects

Paul Allen
 $$$
W/C
The Microsoft co-founder owns the $12.8 million Sol y Sombra house, formerly a Georgia O’Keeffe estate.

Richard L Bloch
 $$ish
W/C
The 80-year-old former real estate developer and owner of Santa Fe’s Pinon Farm was buddies with former Pres. Bill Clinton. Back in 1985, he sued a local contractor over the 14,000-square-foot indoor horse-riding arena he’d built on his property; the contractor’s estimate was $321,000, but it ended up costing twice as much.

Jeffrey Branch
 $
EEE
Local son/property developer Jeff Branch, who also serves as a board member for the Santa Fe Community Foundation, is well known for his transformation of Santa Fe’s Southside. Branch’s projects include the San Isidro Plazas 1 and 2, as well as the housing developments Cielo Azul and Colores del Sol.

Lawrence J Burke
 $$
EEE
Ad sales may be down and writers may be grumbling about late pay, but the Outside magazine magnate still owns Santa Fe’s seventh most valuable property, a sprawling $9 million ranch north of town on Silver Meadow Road.

Andrew & Sydney Davis
 $$ish
EEE
Their new mansion is so big, according to The Santa Fe New Mexican, the county assessor can’t even figure out how to put a value on it. The Davises make their money managing other people’s, through their mutual funds; it’s a successful family business going back a couple of generations to New York.

Jeffrey E Epstein
 $$$
E/C
This disgraced billionaire (allegations of pedophilia) lives in New York City and Florida, but still owns the most valuable residential property in Santa Fe, as figured by the Santa Fe County assessor: the $18 million Zorro Ranch, which shares a name with his company, Zorro Trust. (The ranch was originally assessed at $33.3 million, but Epstein’s lawyers sued the county in 2001 and successfully shaved $84,000 a year from his property tax bill.)
 
Alexis Girard
 $ish
EEE
Girard is president of her family business, Greer Enterprises, the real estate company developing a condo/retail project at the Lensic.

Larry Goldstone
 $$
EEE
The CEO of defunct Thornburg Mortgage still earns $188,000 a month, even though his company is bankrupt, according to court documents.

Robin Martin
 $$ish
EEE
Times may be tough for the newspaper industry, but The Santa Fe New Mexican owner still has the family ranch. Martin’s father, the late Robert McKinney, made Crosswinds’ list.

Paul Peppard
 $
EEE
Dentist Peppard, 75, owns the Cottonwood Village mobile home park, assessed as the eighth most valuable property in Santa Fe.

Gerald Peters
 $$
EEE
“Mr. Peters is a very rich man,” an employee of his property company, Southwest Asset Management, allegedly told a Plaza Mercado tenant who complained about mold, according to a 2008 lawsuit. The tenant took it as a threat; as factual statement, it happened to be true. In 1996, Crosswinds pegged Peters for a $25 million man; intervening years saw a real estate boom followed by an ongoing bust. He remains property flush, but that’s not necessarily helpful when tenants go bust. Nevertheless, his dining spots are among Santa Fe’s most popular, including Blue Corn Café, La Casa Sena and Rio Chama.

William D Sanders
 $$ish
TEX
Crosswinds put the real estate tycoon’s net worth at $200 million in 1996. According to Real Estate Portfolio magazine, he started Santa Fe-based Security Capital Group in 1990 with $108 million and sold it 12 years later for 50 times that much. He still lists Santa Fe as his address when donating to politicians.

Joe Schepps
 $
EEE
The Sanbusco Market Center owner is a Lensic board member; his father founded Schepps Brewing Company in Texas, which, when it was sold in 1997, was that state’s second largest wine and liquor distributor. Assessed at nearly $16
million, Sanbusco is the 15th most valuable commercial property in Santa Fe, behind La Fonda.

H Garrett Thornburg Jr.
 $$$
EEE
Through his eponymous investment and mortgage companies, Thornburg became one of Santa Fe’s richest people. In the past two years, Thornburg lost a lot of money—but he’s probably still far beyond the $36 million net worth Crosswinds estimated in 1996. He still owns part of the company jet. His Thornburg Charitable Foundation has assets of $23 million (and pays $100,000 a year to Executive Director Suzanne Barker Kalangis, wife of Thornburg Mortgage Director Ike Kalangis). The National Dance Institute, founded by Thornburg’s wife, Catherine Oppenheimer, has assets of $22 million.

This week's cover story made use of numerous public documents and SFR writer Corey Pein created numerous spread sheets throughout the course of reporting this story. We then used the public database site, Socrata, to create five searchable online databases of this information.

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