Timothy Mellon

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Timothy Mellon
Born (1942-07-22) July 22, 1942 (age 81)
EducationYale University (BA)
Parent(s)Paul Mellon
Mary Conover
RelativesAndrew Mellon (grandfather)
Rachel Lambert Mellon (stepmother)

Timothy Mellon (born July 22, 1942) is an American businessman and was the chairman and majority owner of Pan Am Systems, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based[1] transportation holding company until 2022.[2] He is a grandson of Andrew Mellon and an heir to the Mellon banking fortune.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Mellon is the son of Paul Mellon and his first wife, Mary Conover Brown. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in city planning.[4] He is the grandson of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon.


He was the chief financier in the 1977 formation of Guilford Transportation Industries (GTI),[5] a holding company named for his native Guilford, Connecticut. In 1981, GTI purchased the Maine Central Railroad from U.S. Filter Corporation, adding the Boston & Maine and Delaware & Hudson railroads in 1983 and 1984, respectively, and in 1998 purchased the brand of bankrupt Pan American World Airways. The Pan Am name was subsequently succeeded by "Pan Am Clipper Connection," operated by subsidiary Boston-Maine Airways, which ceased operations in 2008 due to lack of financial fitness.[6] GTI was ultimately sold to the CSX Corporation.

Mellon stepped down as trustee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2002 after 21 years on its board.[7]

Mellon moved to Wyoming from Connecticut in 2005.[3]

In 1999, Mellon purchased the Goodspeed Airport in East Haddam, Connecticut for $2.33 million. He sold it to New England Airport Associates, LLC in November 2020 for $891,000.

Political donations[edit]

In 2010, Mellon donated $1.5 million to Arizona's defense fund to help cover the costs of legal challenges against Arizona SB 1070,[8] the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in the United States at the time of its passage.[9][3] It has received national and international attention and has spurred considerable controversy.[10][11]

In the 2018 election cycle, Mellon was a major political donor, especially to the Republican-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund.[12] According to OpenSecrets, in 2020 and 2022, he was the 6th and 5th most prolific donor in the US, spending $60 million and $47 million respectively to support Republican candidates and causes.[13]

Mellon's self-published autobiography describes his political views.[14][15] Mellon called social safety net programs "Slavery Redux," adding: "For delivering their votes in the Federal Elections, they are awarded with yet more and more freebies: food stamps, cell phones, WIC payments, Obamacare, and on, and on, and on. The largess is funded by the hardworking folks, fewer and fewer in number, who are too honest or too proud to allow themselves to sink into this morass." Mellon wrote that as of 1984 (Reagan's re-election campaign), "Something had obviously gone dreadfully wrong with the Great Society and the Liberal onslaught. Poor people had become no less poor. Black people, in spite of heroic efforts by the 'Establishment' to right the wrongs of the past, became even more belligerent and unwilling to pitch in to improve their own situations," and that "Drugs rose to the level of epidemic. Single parent families became more and more prevalent. The likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton pandered endlessly to fan the flames."[14]

In August 2021, Mellon donated $53.1 million in stock to the State of Texas to pay for construction of walls along the US–Mexico border.[16]

In August 2023, it was revealed that Mellon donated $5 million via a Super PAC to the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.[17]

On April 10, 2024, The New York Times reported that Mellon was the largest single donor to Kennedy's super PAC, giving $20 million over the past year and $15 million to Trump's super PAC MAGA Inc.[18]

Search for Amelia Earhart[edit]

Mellon donated over $1 million in 2012 to The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) as part of its efforts to locate Amelia Earhart's plane and remains. Mellon filed a racketeering lawsuit against TIGHAR in 2013, alleging that the non-profit organization engaged in deceit in soliciting his money to search for Amelia Earhart's missing plane.[19] Mellon claimed that the plane had already been found in 2010 before the donation was made.[20]

U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl granted TIGHAR's motion for summary judgment in 2014, after recognizing that even Mellon's own experts were unable to confirm Mellon's allegations regarding the 2010 photographs that Mellon claimed showed the presence of the plane. Judge Skavdahl concluded that: "Defendants represented to Plaintiff they were planning another expedition in their continued quest to find the wreckage of Amelia Earhart's airplane. Upon reading about Defendants' efforts, Plaintiff contacted Defendants and expressed his interest in supporting the expedition with a monetary contribution. That's exactly what the parties then did. No false representations were made. The lost had not been found ... or maybe it had. Regardless, no rational trier of fact could find Defendants falsely represented they had not found Earhart's plane by embarking on another expedition in hopes of finding conclusive evidence to prove it. No matter how convinced or sincere Plaintiff is in his subjective belief and opinion that Amelia Earhart's airplane was or should have been discovered prior to the making of his donation, that belief and opinion is insufficient to create a genuine dispute of material fact."[21]

Mellon appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which affirmed the district court's ruling, without holding oral argument. The Tenth Circuit concluded that the lack of actionable falsity precluded Mellon's claims.[22]


  1. ^ "Pan Am Systems, Inc. - Company profile from Hoover's". hoovers.com. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  2. ^ Panam.captain: The Intriguing Story of Tim Mellon (2015)
  3. ^ a b c Thrush, Glenn; Ruiz, Rebecca R.; Yourish, Karen (2020-08-16). "Trump's Policies Are a Boon to the Super Rich. So Where Are All the Seven-Figure Checks?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
  4. ^ Gillette, Christine, "Cambridge train yard made new[permanent dead link]," Portsmouth Herald, 30 July 1999
  5. ^ 175 Years Later, The Mellons Have Never Been Richer. How'd They Do It? Forbes (July 8, 2014)
  6. ^ DOT ready to pull Boston-Maine's license to fly, Seacoast Online, February 05, 2008
  7. ^ Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2002 after 21 years on its board.2002 President's Report Archived 2007-10-07 at the Wayback Machine, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  8. ^ Rough, Ginger (3 September 2010). "Ariz. immigration law's legal costs could top $1 million". USA Today. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  9. ^ Archibold, Randal C. (April 24, 2010). "U.S.'s Toughest Immigration Law Is Signed in Arizona". The New York Times. p. 1.
  10. ^ "Los Angeles approves Arizona business boycott". CNN. May 13, 2010.
  11. ^ Nowicki, Dan (July 25, 2010). "Arizona immigration law ripples through history, U.S. politics". The Arizona Republic.
  12. ^ Jones, Natalie (November 2, 2018). "Midterm big spenders: the top 20 political donors this election". The Guardian. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  13. ^ "2022 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups". OpenSecrets. Retrieved January 15, 2024.
  14. ^ a b Timothy Mellon, top donor to Trump super PAC, used racial stereotypes to describe African Americans in his autobiography Washington Post (June 18, 2020)
  15. ^ Timothy Mellon Releases Autobiography (Feb. 9, 2016)
  16. ^ Barragán, James; Astudillo, Carla (2021-10-06). "Texas has raised $54 million in private donations for its border wall plan. Almost all of it came from this one billionaire". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  17. ^ Yang, Mary (2023-08-02). "Robert F Kennedy Jr's campaign bankrolled by Republican mega-donor". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-08-02.
  18. ^ Swan, Jonathan; Haberman, Maggie; Goldmacher, Shane; Davis O'Brien, Rebecca (April 10, 2024). "Trump Allies Have a Plan to Hurt Biden's Chances: Elevate Outsider Candidates". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 10, 2024. Retrieved April 10, 2024.
  19. ^ Wyoming Man Denies Plot Against Amelia Earhart Plane Recovery Group, Casper Star Tribune (Aug. 11, 2013)
  20. ^ The Obsessed, Feuding Searchers Still Looking For Amelia Earhart, Atlas Obscura (Dec. 12, 2016)
  21. ^ Mellon v. International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, 33 F. Supp. 3d 1277 (D. Wyo. 2014)
  22. ^ Mellon v. International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, 612 Fed. Appx. 936 (10th Cir. 2015)