George Argyros

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George Argyros
George L Argyros.jpg
Born George Leon Argyros
1937 (age 76–77)
Detroit, Michigan
Nationality United States
Occupation Ambassador, real estate investor, and the former owner of the Seattle Mariners
Net worth Increase US$ 1.7 billion (August 2014)[1]
Spouse(s) Julia Argyros
Children three

George Leon Argyros (born 1937 in Detroit, Michigan) is the former United States Ambassador to Spain. He is also a successful real estate investor, and was the owner of Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners from 1981 to 1989.

Early and personal life[edit]

George Argyros was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Pasadena, California. Argyros is a second-generation American citizen; his grandparents emigrated from Greece. Argyros graduated from Chapman University in 1959 with a major in Business and Economics. He later served on the board of trustees of that university, including chairman of the board from 1976 to 2001.

He is the Chairman and CEO of the board of trustees of California Institute of Technology,[2] and also a board-member for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

He and his wife of 40 years, Julia, have three grown children and seven grandchildren.[3]

Business[edit]

Argyros made his fortune in real estate investments. He originally started his business career running a grocery store and moved on to buying and selling real estate to gas stations. He also was involved in buying and selling property in Southern California. From 1981 to 1989 he was the owner of the Seattle Mariners baseball team. He has been on the board of directors of many corporations.

Argyros recently has done business through the real estate company Arnel & Affiliates (DBA "Arnel Property Management Company"), which manages apartments and invests in commercial property. Arnel & Affiliates does business primarily in Southern California. Through his business practices Argyros has achieved a net worth around $1 billion.[4]

In 2001 Arnel and Argyros were named in a civil complaint alleging Arnel Management "systematically withheld tenants' security deposits".[5] Soon after its filing, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas terminated the district attorney's investigation and removed Argyros' name from the case, saying "I felt we had a strong case against the company and it would weaken the case [to include Argyros]." This decision was attacked after it was discovered that Argyros had contributed $30,000 to Rackauckas's campaign. Argyros was confirmed as ambassador to Spain shortly after this case settled.[6]

Politics[edit]

Argyros served as a member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the U.S. Trade Ambassador, resigning that position in 1990, when President Bush appointed him to the board of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FreddieMac). He completed his term on the FreddieMac Board in March 1993.[3]

In 2001 Argyros was appointed Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. He was sworn in on November 21, 2001.[3] Many viewed the appointment as a political reward for his fund raising efforts for the Republican Party.[6]

Baseball[edit]

In 1981, Argyros bought the Seattle Mariners. The team had struggled from inception in 1977 as an expansion team. He ran the team on a shoestring budget and made noises about moving the team elsewhere. Argyros sold the team to Jeff Smulyan in 1989.[7] Argyros had openly tried to purchase the San Diego Padres in 1987 and to sell the Mariners, but a final deal was never consummated with Padres owner Joan Kroc.

Philanthropy[edit]

In October 2013, George and Julia Argyros announced two $1 million donations benefiting the arts in Julia's hometown of Adrian, Michigan. One was to help kick off a $3.5 million capital campaign for the Croswell Opera House and another was to benefit a fine arts education endowment through the Adrian Schools Educational Foundation.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Forbes: The World's Billionaires - George Argyros August 2014
  2. ^ "Trustee List". Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Former Ambassador George L. Argyros". madrid.usembassy.gov. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  4. ^ "George Argyros". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  5. ^ Parsons, Dana (July 29, 2001). "Did D.A. Give Argyros a Break in Tenant Case?". L.A. Times. 
  6. ^ a b Granelli, James S.; Scott Martelle (October 8, 2001). "The Region; Argyros Moves Closer to OK for Spain Post; Inquiry: Senate hearing on developer's appointment as ambassador is expected soon now that a state probe into his apartment firm has been settled". L.A. Times. 
  7. ^ Zumsteg, Derek. Baseball in Seattle. Baseball Prospectus, 2002-03-28.
  8. ^ The Daily Telegram Two $1 million gifts boost Croswell, Adrian Schools Educational Foundation Arts Endowment
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Edward L. Romero
U.S. Ambassador to Spain
2001–2004
Also accredited to Andorra.
Succeeded by
Eduardo Aguirre