Robert Rowling

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Robert B. Rowling (born 1953)[1] is the founder of TRT Holdings, the holding company of Omni Hotels and Gold's Gym.[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, Rowling has an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Southern Methodist University.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1972, Rowling began working for Tana Oil and Gas, which was owned by his father, Reese Rowling, and William Colson.[2] In 1989 Texaco acquired Tana for $476 million, thereby providing money that was used to form TRT Holdings. Five years later, TRT Holdings sold Corpus Christi National Bank for $131 million. TRT Holdings would later purchase Omni Hotels for $500 million and Gold's Gym for $180 million. In August 2010, Rowling made the winning bid to acquire the bankrupt Amelia Island Plantation Resort for $67.1 Million.

Rowling served as a regent to the University of Texas System until February 6, 2009 when he resigned over a controversy regarding bonuses paid to the UTIMCO investment staff. Governor Rick Perry and Texas state senators had sought to go back on compensation agreements with the staff. Unwilling to break the contracts and disgusted by their grandstanding, Rowling quit during a Texas Senate Finance Committee meeting and followed it up a day later with a formal letter of resignation [3]

As of March 2012, he is worth US$4.8 billion.[2] He is the 66th richest person in the United States.[4] He is married, with two children.[2] He lives in Dallas, Texas.[2]

Political activities[edit]

He is a conservative Republican and a major donor to the party.[5] He is also one of four billionaire backers of the conservative political action group American Crossroads.[6][7][8] According to an article published in Forbes, four San Francisco Gold's Gym franchises split off from the brand after Rowling made a $2 million donation to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC, sparking protest from gay rights advocates.[9] He gave more than $2 million as a private donation completely independent from his company, TRT Holdings. TRT Holdings has also given an additional $2.5 million from the company treasury this election cycle, according to public filings.[10] He commented to Fox News, explaining that his donation to American Crossroads had nothing to do with social policies that could spark crossfire. "I've never heard one discussion of a social issue. This is all about fiscal sanity." [11]

References[edit]