|Born||John Joseph Ricketts
July 16, 1941
Nebraska City, Nebraska, U.S.
|Residence||Bondurant, Wyoming, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Creighton University|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Chicago Cubs Owner|
|Known for||Founder, TD Ameritrade|
|Net worth||$1 billion|
|Spouse(s)||Marlene Margaret Ricketts (née Volkmer) (1963–present)|
|Children||Laura Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Todd Ricketts, Tom Ricketts|
John Joseph "Joe" Ricketts (born July 16, 1941) is an American businessman. He is the founder, former CEO and former chairman of TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online discount brokerages in the world, based in Omaha, Nebraska. Since 2008, Ricketts has pursued a variety of entrepreneurial ventures including DNAinfo.com, High Plains Bison, The Lodge at Jackson Fork, and The American Film Company. Ricketts also engages in philanthropy through Opportunity Education Foundation, The Cloisters on the Platte Foundation, The Ricketts Art Foundation, The Ricketts Conservation Foundation, and Ending Spending, Inc.
John Joseph Ricketts was born and raised in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the son of Florence M. (Erhart) and Donavon Platte Ricketts. He obtained a bachelor's degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska in 1968. Ricketts is married to Marlene Margaret (Volkmer), with whom he has four children, Thomas, Pete, Laura, and Todd, who were raised Roman Catholic. In 2009, Ricketts ranked #371, according to Forbes magazine, of the 400 wealthiest Americans, with a net worth of $1 billion. He currently resides in Little Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
In 1975, John Joseph Ricketts and a few partners formed First Omaha Securities, a retail securities brokerage firm that through mergers and acquisitions grew into TD Ameritrade. Ricketts retired from the TD Ameritrade board in October 2011 to concentrate on entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
High Plains Bison
In 2004, John Joseph Ricketts founded High Plains Bison, a retailer of natural bison meat. In addition to online and offline sales channels, High Plains Bison is the official bison vendor at Chicago's Wrigley Field. Some of the bison are raised on a Wyoming ranch owned by Ricketts. A four-bedroom lodge named The Lodge at Jackson Fort Ranch is located on the same property.
The American Film Company
In 2008, John Joseph Ricketts founded The American Film Company, which produces feature films about true stories from American history. The Conspirator is a 2010 historical drama film directed by Robert Redford. It served as the debut film of The American Film Company.
Chicago Cubs baseball team
In October 2009, the Ricketts family acquired a 95 percent controlling interest in Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, as well as 20% of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. The Ricketts family represents the eighth ownership group in the 133-year history of the team. While Ricketts is not directly involved in the team's operations, his son, Tom Ricketts, is Cubs chairman and his three other children (Pete, Laura and Todd) are on the board of directors. In November 2010, the Cubs announced a plan to seek $200 million in state-backed bonds for renovations to Wrigley Field.
In 2010, Ricketts led a campaign against earmarks and what he perceived to be wasteful federal spending. Ricketts founded an independent organization called Taxpayers Against Earmarks that classified every Member of Congress as either a spending "hero" or "hooligan."
Along with Taxpayers for Common Sense and WashingtonWatch.com, Taxpayers Against Earmarks developed a database of earmarks requested by members of Congress. The group successfully pressed for a moratorium on earmarks in 2010. Taxpayers Against Earmarks changed its name to Ending Spending in 2011, as part of a broadening of the group's focus.
Ricketts established and funded The Ending Spending Fund, a political action committee, in 2010. The Ending Spending Fund spent over $1 million sponsoring independent advertisements in several Congressional races. The goal of the advertising expenditure was to highlight incumbents’ earmark-related policies. The Ending Spending Fund spent the largest amount of its money on the United States Senate election in Nevada, 2010 in an unsuccessful effort to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Although not required by law, Ricketts willingly disclosed his identity due to his belief in transparency.
Ricketts served on the board of trustees of the American Enterprise Institute from 1999 to 2007. His son, Pete Ricketts, is a member of the Republican National Committee and was elected governor of Nebraska in 2014. His daughter, Laura Ricketts, is a gay rights activist and prominent bundler for Barack Obama. Another son, Todd Ricketts, was named CEO of Ending Spending in 2013.
On May 17, 2012, The New York Times published a story by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg reporting that The Ending Spending Action fund had been presented with a 54-page proposal entitled, "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: the Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good." According to the Times, the proposal, written by a vendor seeking to be hired by Ending Spending, suggested a $10-million ad campaign to "attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away" and called for "running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright." The report came to light when an unidentified person, who was not connected to the proposal, leaked it to The New York Times. The president of the Ending Spending Action Fund said that the pitch was a "nonstarter" and issued the following statement repudiating the proposal: "Not only was this plan merely a proposal—one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors—but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take."
As of mid-2014, the Ending Spending SuperPac had supported only Republicans.
In the 2016 presidential election, Ricketts donated at least one million dollars in support of Donald Trump. Ricketts also raised funds for the Future45 Super Pac and the 45Committee, a pro-Trump 501(c)4 organization that is not required to disclose its donors. During the Republican primaries, Ricketts had contributed to Our Principles PAC, a Super PAC dedicated to opposing Trump. Ricketts explained his changed position citing economic grounds, stating that Hillary Clinton "represents four more years of the Obama-Clinton economic policies that continue to cripple the middle class.”
John Joseph Ricketts established the Opportunity Education Foundation, which underwrites the costs of training teachers and students in the Third World. The foundation supports an educational initiative through Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, which trains teachers in East and West Africa.
On September 26, 2013, Louisiana College president Joe W. Aguillard presented Ricketts and his brother, Jim, with two of three Trustees' Distinguished Service Awards at the annual Founder's Day chapel. "The little help that we give is really absorbed and used a great deal. ... Let me thank you, Louisiana College, for having such an impact on the educational system in the Third World," said Joe Ricketts. Jim Ricketts, the president and CEO of the foundation and the former vice-president of TD Ameritrade, said, "We're serving the poor in ways that have never been done before. ..."
- Forbes, Sept 2009
- Smith, Bryan (June 24, 2013). "The Ricketts Family Owns the Chicago Cubs: Who Are These People?". Chicago Magazine.
- LLC, Marquis Who's Who (1 July 1985). "Who's Who in Finance and Industry, 1985-1986". Marquis Who's Who, Inc. – via Google Books.
- "Yahoo Finance: AMTD". Yahoo Finance.
- Pompeo, Joe (July 31, 2012). "Inside billionaire Joe Ricketts' dreams of media empire". Retrieved 2012-07-31.
- Lach, Eric (May 18, 2012). "Who Is Joe Ricketts?". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
- Nohr, Emily; Hammel, Paul (January 12, 2015). "Joe Ricketts envisions Sarpy County religious retreat open to all". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
- "Ricketts Art Foundation, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, and the Museum of Mountain Man Launch Online Catalogue of Alfred Jacob Miller's Western Paintings". PR Newswire. 2015-11-12. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- Koshmr, Mike (2013-10-04). "Rancher-philanthropist steps in to study loons". Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- Sullivan, Sean (2014-04-10). "Meet the super PAC both Republicans and Democrats should fear". Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "Obituary: Florence M. (Erhart) Ricketts, 95, of Omaha".
- Highbeam, May 1999
- "Lesbian makes history as Cubs owner". Windy City Times. 2009-11-01.
- Doebele, Justin (July 5, 1999). "The Next Charles Schwab?". Forbes.
- McCrank, John (September 16, 2016). "UPDATE 2-Ricketts retires from TD Ameritrade board". Reuters.
- Vettel, Phil (May 6, 2010). "Wrigley has 'em buffaloed". Chicago Tribune.
- "Lodge at Jackson Fork Ranch - Greater Yellowstone Geotourism Mapguide".
- Dyk, Deirdre Van (June 15, 2009). "Cowboy Up! Rugged Western Trips for Office Drones". Time.
- Malanowski, Jamie (April 8, 2011). "TD Ameritrade's Founder Produces Historical Film". The New York Times.
- Kaufman, Anthony (September 12, 2010). "Toronto Film Festival: Robert Redford on 'The Conspirator'". Wall Street Journal.
- Cieply, Michael (September 15, 2010). "Redford's Film Is Picked Up in Toronto". ArtsBeat.
- Flamm, Matthew (December 5, 2010). "Billionaire puts wager on really local online news". Crain's New York Business.
- Gillette, Felix (May 19, 2010). "Three Birds, a Billionaire and the Hyper-Local Future of News". Observer.
- "Ricketts Family Assumes Control of Chicago Cubs". cubs.mlb.com. Chicago Cubs. October 30, 2009.
- "Ricketts: No Plan B if state won't back Wrigley bonds". Chicago Breaking Business. November 15, 2010.
- "Where Irish American Eric O'Keefe treads, incumbent politicians tremble". irishcentral.com. Irish Central LLC. April 12, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
- Politico, Sept 2010
- Politico, Nov 2010
- NYTimes The Caucus, Sept 2010
- Manu Raju, Study: 39,294 earmarks sought, Politico (December 6, 2010).
- Jennifer Reingold, Joe Ricketts: The new billionaire political activist, Fortune (September 21, 2012).
- Rachel Finkel, Ending Spending Action Fund, FactCheck.org (April 1, 2014).
- Omaha.com, Nov 2010
- Gibson, Jake, "New TV ad by 'The Ending Spending Fund' Targets Reid over Earmarks", Foxnews.com, October 28, 2010.
- Terkel, Amanda (2010-10-22). "The One-Person Funded Super PAC: How Wealthy Donors Can Skirt Campaign Finance Restrictions". Huffington Post.
- "article - AEI".
- Saletan, William (17 May 2012). "The Wrath of Cons, A proposed super-PAC assault on Obama exposes the right's rage". Slate.
- Blake, Aaron, and Sandhya Somashekhar, "Joe Ricketts, a wealthy donor, getting attention in presidential contest", Washington Post, May 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
- Sullivan, Sean (10 April 2014). "Meet the super PAC both Republicans and Democrats should fear". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
- Mak, Tim (2012-05-18). "Ricketts' aide: Jeremiah Wright plan was DOA". Politico. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
- Zeleny, Jeff; Jim Rutenberg (2012-05-17). "G.O.P. 'Super PAC' Weighs Hard-Line Attack on Obama". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
- Burns, Alexander (2012-05-17). "Ricketts flack says Wright attack plan has been rejected". Politico. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Overby, Peter (September 1, 2014). "A Political Family, Funding And Running On Both Sides Of The Aisle". NPR. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Gold, Matea (20 September 2016). "After opposing Trump in the primaries, Joe Ricketts will give at least $1 million to support him". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
- Vogel, Kenneth (28 September 2016). "Secret money to boost Trump". Politico. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
- Politico, Sept 2016
- "Lee Guidry, Louisiana College honors 3 for distinguished service, September 26, 2013". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Retrieved September 27, 2013.