W. A. Moncrief Jr.
|Born||March 27, 1920|
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Texas (BS)|
|Known for||President of Moncrief Oil|
|Net worth||US $ 1.0 billion (Oct 2014)|
|Children||Seven (two deceased)|
William Alvin "Monty" Moncrief
William Alvin "Tex" Moncrief Jr. (born March 27, 1920) is an American businessman in the oil and gas sector, often described as a wildcatter. He is currently President of Moncrief Oil, and was a billionaire member of the 2006 Forbes 400, with an estimated net worth of US$1 billion.
William Alvin Moncrief, Jr. was born in Fort Worth, the second child of William Alvin "Monty" Moncrief (1895 – May 21, 1986) and Elizabeth Moncrief (died August 17, 1992 at age 94). In 1931, at the age of ten, Moncrief witnessed the opening of a gusher oil well at Gregg County, a joint venture between his father and John E. Farrell. He later described the experience:
It was just the greatest thing I ever saw. People were jumping around and hollering and hugging each other just like they'd won a football game. I decided on the spot that I wanted to become an oilman.
Moncrief graduated cum laude from Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana in 1937, before continuing his education at the University of Texas, where he graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering in 1942. Moncrief worked for Consolidated Vultee, and then as an engineer for Stanolind Oil. When the United States entered World War Two, Moncrief joined the United States Naval Reserve and served in the Pacific.
Moncrief returned from military service and joined Moncrief Oil, becoming a 50-50 partner with his father. Their father-son partnership was very successful, with Moncrief Oil discovering oil and gas in West Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Their first major post-War success occurred in Scurry County, where the Moncriefs drilled 28 successful wells, which together produced more than 1.2 billion barrels of oil. In 1972, Moncrief acquired one-third of the natural gas field Madden Deep in Wyoming, which proved very profitable.
On September 1, 1994, the offices of Moncrief Oil were raided by the IRS, who seized more than one million documents. Moncrief was accused of owing the United States government between $100 million and $300 million. Following a two-year investigation, Moncrief pleaded "no contest" to one count of criminal tax fraud; this charge alleged that he had "improperly deducted" $900,000 in business expenses from his company Montex Drilling on his 1990 personal federal tax return. This agreement, although signed and sent to the United States Department of Justice, was never officially filed. On January 4, 1996, Moncrief and Montex settled with the IRS by agreeing to pay $23 million "for deficiencies in income, excise and gift taxes for taxable periods from Jan. 1, 1989, through Aug. 31, 1994." In 1998, Moncrief gave testimony before the Senate Finance Committee regarding the IRS raid on his offices:
In my imagination, federal raids were always confined to Mafia bosses and drug lords. If you had told me that 64 IRS agents would storm my office, with sidearms holstered and boot heels trampling my civil rights and my business reputation, I wouldn't have believed you.
In 1995, Forbes estimated Moncrief's personal wealth at US$500 million. In 2006, his wealth was estimated at US$1 billion. In January 2006, Moncrief sank his first wells in the Barnett Shale natural gas field. In September 2009, Moncrief bought a ten percent stake in McMoRan Exploration Co's Davy Jones oil well off the Louisiana coast. Throughout his career, Moncrief has strictly adhered to rules originally held by his father, to operate only through sole proprietorships and never go public.
In 1998, Moncrief had four surviving sons from two marriages: William, Richard, Charlie and Tom. As of 2006, Moncrief was married for a third time with five surviving children. Two additional children have died young: son John Herbert was killed in a motorcycle accident, and daughter Monty Francine died from leukemia at age seven or eight. As of 2014, Moncrief was widowed.
Moncrief is said to have a very dominating leadership style. Based on the testimony of family members, and former employees and acquaintances, journalist P.A. Humphrey described Moncrief as "arrogant, controlling, opinionated, short-tempered, headstrong, [and] unyielding."
The Moncrief family, based for decades in Fort Worth, are known locally for their "civic pride and charitable generosity." Moncrief himself has long been a philanthropic supporter of The University of Texas, where he graduated and later served on the Board of Regents. He donated more than $27 million to the university. In 1997, the W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr.-V.F. "Doc" Neuhaus Athletic Center was named in his honour. Moncrief is also noted for his patronage of Texas Christian University. He has often supported conservative causes, and backed Ross Perot's 1992 Presidential bid. Moncrief was a founding member of the Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, and a close friend of professional golfer Ben Hogan. He is also related to Mike Moncrief, mayor of Fort Worth (2003-2011).
In 1996, Moncrief filed two charges of embezzlement against Mary Ellen Lloyd, a former file clerk at Moncrief Oil. In her defence, Lloyd claimed to have been Moncrief's mistress for sixteen years, beginning in 1979, a claim that Moncrief flatly denied under oath. On April 23, 1998, Lloyd was found "not guilty" of her embezzlement charges.
- "W. A. "Tex" Moncrief, Jr". The University of Texas System. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Forbes: The World's Billionaires - William Moncrief, Jr. October 2014
- "The 400 Richest Americans - #374 William Alvin Moncrief Jr", Forbes.com, 21 September 2006 [accessed 31 March 2014]
- Moncrief Oil International Pledges Gift That Could Total $500 Million for University", The University of Texas at Austin, official website, 30 September 2008 [accessed 31 March 2014]
- "The World's Billionaires: #1587 William Moncrief, Jr." - Forbes.com [accessed 31 March 2014]
- Carroll, J. (2010) "Texas Wildcatter Moncrief Hits Latest Gusher Beneath Old Fields" - Bloomberg.com, 20 January 2010 [accessed 31 March 2014]
- Humphrey, P.A. "News & Opinion: The Last Oil Baron", The Weekly Wire, 31 August 1998 [accessed 31 March 2014]
- "Our History", Moncrief Oil / Montex Drilling Co. official website [accessed 31 March 2014]
- Piller, D. (2006) "The Moncrief Fortune and Reputation Began in 1931 With an East Texas Gusher", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 23 January 2006 [accessed 31 March 2014]
- "William Moncrief", Forbes.com, 21 September 2006 [accessed 31 March 2014]
- Rozen, Miriam "Moncrief Family Values" - Dallas Observer, 15 June 1995 [accessed 28 May 2015]