Tom Knox

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Tom Knox
Tom Knox.jpg
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Linda
Children Two sons
Residence Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia
Occupation Businessman

Tom Knox is an American businessman and politician. Knox became a millionaire through businesses in software, banking and health insurance. A Democrat, Knox ran for Mayor of Philadelphia in 2007.

Business career[edit]

A high school dropout. who later earned a GED in the United States Navy,[1] Knox was a successful entrepreneur who built an insurance advisory firm and sold it for nearly six million dollars in 1986. In the late 1980s he began buying and turning around underperforming companies.

Among his targets was Crusader Savings which he later sold to Royal Bank of Pennsylvania for seventeen million dollars. Knox was credited with significantly increasing the bank's income, though has been criticized for his methods. The bank's income increased through the use of payday loans which charge high interest rates and are under fire from a number of states. The Office of Thrift Supervision, one of the country's bank regulators, later expressed concerns over several of the bank's businesses, including the payday lending business.[2]

In 1999, Knox acquired Fidelity Insurance Group, a Maryland health insurance firm which he sold to UnitedHealth Group in 2004[3] for a gain of over twenty million dollars.[citation needed] After the acquisition, Knox became the CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania, a UHG subsidiary. He resigned his position in 2006 in order to run for mayor.[4]

In April 2013, Knox sued Table 31, a steakhouse at the Comcast Center, in part because the restaurant discontinued his meal discount. Knox, an investor in the restaurant, said that the discounted meals were part of the original partnership agreement.[5]

Political career[edit]

Knox briefly interrupted his business career to serve as Deputy Mayor for Management and Productivity under then-Mayor Ed Rendell. He served for one and a half years, accepting only one dollar a year in salary.[6] Rendell credited Knox with helping to save the city seven million dollars on better leases for office space. Knox was also involved in negotiating lower health care costs for city employees.[7] Knox has been a major contributor and fund-raiser for various local politicians.[8]

In December 2006, Knox announced his campaign for mayor and lent five million dollars to his campaign. In response to criticism that he was trying to buy City Hall, Knox replied that he was trying to "buy City Hall back for the people of Philadelphia".[9] He pledged to spend up to fifteen million dollars of his own money in the race.[10] Thanks to his cash advantage, Knox was one of the first candidates to go on the air with television commercials.[11] The early advertising, which attacked city corruption and high business taxes, proved to be significant in raising Knox's poll numbers from 1% to 25%, and placed him in first place for the first time in March 2007.[12]

Knox's business practices came under increasing criticism during the campaign. The Philadelphia Daily News reported that his insurance company was fined $125,000 in Maryland for a number of violations including hiring a compliance officer who had a felony record for embezzlement.[3] In addition, other candidates have attacked his lack of experience in government and the payday loan practices of his bank.[13] Several 527 groups were created[14] with funding from union sources and from supporters of candidate Rep. Bob Brady.[15] However, local television stations refused to run the ads, requesting more documentation of the charges against Knox.[14] The new '527' money did prompt Knox to put another $3 million of his own money into the race to counter the ads, which raised his personal total to $8 million.[16] Knox finished second in the Democratic primary with 25% of the vote, losing to Michael Nutter.

In August 2008, Knox announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania's 2010 gubernatorial election;[17] he dropped out of the race in January 2010, giving his support to Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato.[18][19] Knox was considered a potential candidate for governor in 2014,[20] or for mayor of Philadelphia in 2015,[21] but decided against both,[22] signaling a possible end to his political aspirations.


Knox was raised in public housing in the East Falls neighborhood of the city. He currently lives in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.[23] Knox purchased three units in the high-rise condo Residences at Two Liberty Place with plans to convert them into a single 5,500-square-foot (510 m2) unit on the 46th floor.[24] He is married to Linda Knox,[25] and together they have two sons.[25]


  1. ^ "A man who can make numbers sing: He's convinced he can transplant his business acumen to City Hall". The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 26, 2007. 
  2. ^ Jones, Ayana (April 16, 2007). "Knox uses his business sense". The Philadelphia Tribune. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Davies, Dave (April 25, 2007). "Md. Regulators Fined Knox Firm". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved December 20, 2008. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Pa. arm of UnitedHealthcare names CEO". American City Business Journals. April 25, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ Fiorillo, Victor (April 26, 2013). "Tom Knox Sues Table 31". Philadelphia Magazine. Metrocorp. Retrieved April 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ Mosby, Benae; Jenna Oskowitz (February 20, 2007). "Philadelphia mayoral Candidate Profiles". The Temple News. Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Gelbart, Marcia; Thomas Fitzgerald (February 1, 2008). "Money talks – on Knox's behalf". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Vote for Mayor". SurveyUSA. March 13, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Schrimpf, Mike (January 2008). "Case Study: Philadelphia's (Predictable) Unintended Consequences" (PDF). Center for Competitive Politics. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Hirschhorn, Dan (August 27, 2008). "Knox definitely in for 2010 governor's race". Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  18. ^ Associated Press (January 24, 2010). "Knox Drops Out Of Pa. Governor's Race". CBS Broadcasting. Retrieved January 24, 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^
  20. ^ Cernetich, Kelly (August 6, 2012). "Tom Knox For Governor?". PoliticsPA. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Huber, Robert (May 2007). "The Real Tom Knox". Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  24. ^ Hill, Miriam (August 16, 2008). "Phila. high-rise ruckus sign of the times". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 25, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  25. ^ a b Durso Jr, Fred (April 27, 2006). "The race is on". South Philly Review. Archived from the original on May 22, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2008.