Tag Archives: wealthy

Al Gore Now Rich as Mitt Romney?

Leveraging his aura as a technology seer and his political and climate work connections, Al Gore has remade himself into a wealthy businessman, amassing a fortune that may exceed $200 million, reports the Seattle Times.
That’s close to the $250 million net worth of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whom President Obama and Democrats targeted in ads and speeches as being out of touch with most Americans.
…The former senator, who spent most of his working life in Congress, had a net worth of about $1.7 million (in 1999) and assets that included pasture rents from a family farm and royalties from a zinc mine, remnants of his rural roots in Carthage, Tennessee. .
…Fourteen years later, he made an estimated $100 million in a single month. In January, the Current TV network, which he helped to start in 2004, was sold to Qatari-owned Al Jazeera Satellite Network for about $500 million. After debt, he grossed an estimated $70 million for his 20 percent stake, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Two weeks later, Gore exercised options, at $7.48 a share, on 59,000 shares of Apple Inc. stock that he’d been granted for serving on the Cupertino, California-based company’s board since 2003. On paper, it was about a $30 million payday based on the company’s share price on the day he claimed the options.
That’s a pretty good January for a guy who couldn’t yet call himself a multimillionaire when he briefly slipped from public life after his bitterly contested presidential election loss to George W. Bush in late 2000, based on 1999 and 2000 disclosure forms.
Gore isn’t finished exercising his Apple stock grants. Those 59,000 are part of 101,358 Apple options and shares of restricted stock Gore has amassed, according to company filings, giving his total holdings a gross value of more than $45.6 million today.

Alexander, Corker Leave Options Open on Raising Taxes; Others in TN GOP Just Say No

While other Middle Tennessee Republicans in Congress expressly oppose raising tax rates as part of any solution to the looming “fiscal cliff,” the state’s two GOP senators appear to be leaving negotiating room, reports The Tennessean
When asked specifically this week if they would rule out increasing tax rates for those making $250,000 and above — rather than just modifying deductions and exemptions — Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker stopped short of such a declaration.
“I am still waiting for the president to do his job, which is to recommend a specific plan to restrain entitlement spending so that Congress can go to work on fixing the debt and getting the economy moving again,” Alexander said in a statement, offering no further comment.
Corker kept his statement even shorter. “Until the discussion moves to entitlement reform, especially Medicare, it’s not a serious conversation,” he said.
…Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, has repeatedly said she would oppose an increase in rates, and her spokesman Mike Reynard re-emphasized that point Wednesday, saying too many small businesses, who frequently pay taxes on their firms through their individual returns, would be affected.
…Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, added: “Raising tax rates will hurt the economy and destroy jobs. This is the same position that President Obama held two years ago when he extended the current tax rates for all Americans.”
With more than 23 million Americans looking for work, Black said, “we should not be raising taxes on anyone. Washington has a spending problem not a revenue problem. A tax hike will perpetuate more deficit spending and destroy jobs.”
And Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Jasper, said: “Simply raising taxes on small businesses and job creators won’t solve our debt crisis and is the last thing we need to do in a struggling economy. I want to see a bold plan that addresses unsustainable entitlement spending, reforms our outdated tax code and prioritizes government spending.”
…Among other Republicans in the state, a spokesman for Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah, said there should be no discussion of revenue increases, either through increasing rates or modifying tax deductions and loopholes.
“Rep. Fleischmann has consistently maintained that it is a spending problem and not a revenue problem that is the source of our $16 trillion debt. In keeping with this position, he believes we need serious long term spending cuts before revenue is even put on the table,” aide Alek Vey.

‘Greenbelt’ Law Benefiting TN Millionaires, including Bredesen, Frist, Hyde

The News Sentinel and the Commercial Appeal, in a joint review of “Greenbelt Law” records, report some of the state’s wealthiest individuals are getting big tax breaks under a program designed to help farmers preserve their land for agriculture.
The 1976 Agricultural, Forest and Open Space Land Act, or “Greenbelt Law,” is subsidizing estates and hobby farms of business icons such as AutoZone founder J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, a Memphis multimillionaire, and some of the biggest names in country music, Wynonna Judd among them. Former University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer qualifies by baling hay on his $2.8 million, 47-acre Maryville estate.
Generous farm and forest tax breaks are in force for estate after estate along Nashville’s tony Chickering Road, though official paperwork at the Davidson County Assessor’s Office at times provides little evidence of how the properties qualify. Among the recipients: former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a wealthy health care entrepreneur; and billionaire Thomas Frist Jr., co-founder of Hospital Corp. of America.
Even Knoxville’s private Cherokee and Holston Hills country clubs have been sheltered under the “open space” provision of the law.
In some instances, the law is actually subsidizing the land speculation it was created to combat.
In 2009, for example, Shelby County’s Johnson cut 97 percent from the value of an East Memphis field for sale for commercial development and surrounded by a 127-room Hyatt Place Hotel, ServiceMaster offices and a strip shopping center. Annual taxes on the $2.99 million, 65-acre site owned by Forest Hill Associates loomed at more than $48,000 if taxed at fair market value, yet fell to less than $1,000. Now, an apartment complex is under construction there.
“We’ve done what’s right within the law,” said co-owner Charles Wurtzburger.
Maybe so, with many saving big on this huge break many others are carrying the tax load.