The 2002 Rich List focuses on the 10 wealthiest people in Middle Tennessee. Their combined net worth is, according to Nashville Post estimates, $6.4 billion. That equals more than two-thirds the money collected annually from Tennessee taxpayers.
The past year wasn’t an especially enriching one for the city’s wealthy. Fortunately for three of our richest and for the local economy, the health care industry continued its strong performance in the midst of listlessness in much of the rest of the economy. And one member of the Top Ten, Gordon Inman, saw his net worth soar on the back of Franklin Financial Corp.’s rocketing share price. For people like Inman, much of whose wealth is tied up in publicly traded stocks and real estate, it’s not too difficult to gain a reasonable approximation of net worth using publicly available documents. Generally though, ferreting out the information to estimate a private citizen’s net worth isn’t an easy task.
In fact, determining an estimate for each individual is its own investigative reporting assignment. And that takes time—a lot of time if the objective is to provide a well-researched list of the top 50 or 60 local residents.
For the 2002 Rich List, the Post has focused in on Nashville’s 10 wealthiest residents. This closer look reveals some things people already know: everyone is still rich. It reveals some things people might not fully appreciate: Martha’s money is Nashville’s culture. And it provides a rare glimpse of an intensely private foray into homebuilding by Thomas Frist Jr.
While relative fortunes may wax and wane, the core wealth formed by the estates, business empires and dynasties of those on this year’s list are likely to remain whole. But fortunes are changing—even the large ones—and given the extent to which these fortunes shape the lives of those of us unlikely to ever be on such a list, they merit close scrutiny.
Martha Rivers Ingram and family
Chairman of Ingram Industries, which includes Ingram Book, Ingram Barge, Ingram Marine and Ingram Insurance (Permanent General non-standard auto insurer). Largest shareholder of Ingram Micro, California-based software distributor, though share price remains stuck near the low end of its $10 to $54 historic price range. Director of Weyerhauser and AmSouth, retiring from Baxter International board in May. Shares in those companies worth $22 million. Chairman of the board of Vanderbilt University. Estimated net worth of $2.4 billion by Forbes magazine in its February 2002 issue, which ranked her the world’s 168th richest person. Since then has donated or pledged at least $160 million to nonprofits. Ingram Micro shares have risen slightly in price in the meantime. Assets of son David Ingram, owner of video and music distributor Ingram Entertainment and newly acquired Memphis beer distributor, not included. Ingram investment unit managed by son-in-law Richard Patton, overseeing stakes in numerous companies, including 12.3% position in The Krystal Co. of Chattanooga. A native of Charleston, S.C., and graduate of Vassar, was married to the late Bronson Ingram. Spends much of her time on philanthropic pursuits, especially arts and education.
For more on Martha Ingram, see companion story, “An “Enrich” List Charter Member.”
Thomas Frist Jr. and family
Patriarch of the Frist family. Co-founded Hospital Corporation of America with his late father and Jack Massey, who earlier made a fortune with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Retired this year after leading major restructuring effort through Medicare billing fraud investigation. Still controls 17.2 million shares, or 3.5%, of the company’s stock worth roughly $865 million. A former IBM board member of 11 years, Frist numbered 293 on Forbes magazine’s listing of the 400 Richest People in the World in 2002. Forbes pegged his worth at roughly $1.5 billion. With wife Patricia, owns more than 60 acres and three homes in Belle Meade worth roughly $23 million. Additional properties include a $2.4 million home at Center Hill Lake and a 5,000-square-foot condo in Beaver Creek, Colo., valued at $2.9 million. Owns personal plane. Gave $25 million for Frist Center for the Visual Arts and another $5 million to Nashville Zoo. Daughter Trisha and husband Chuck Elcan are putting up part of the $40 million needed for planned Ensworth high school. Both of Frist’s brothers, U.S. Sen. Bill Frist and Robert Frist Sr., are physicians. Nephew Robert Frist Jr. helms HealthStream, an Internet health care company, where he holds 5.3 million shares worth $7.7 million.
For more detail on the Frist home, see companion story, “The House that Frist Built.”
Cal Turner Jr. and family
Chief Executive of Dollar General since ’77 and chairman since ’89. At 62, has helped grow the Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based retail chain to more than 5,700 stores. Earned $1.6 million in salary and bonus from Dollar General in 2001. Exercises sole or shared control over roughly 48.5 million shares, or 14.6%, of Dollar General stock valued at about $836 million. Same number of shares were valued at $1.1 billion in April 2001, before accounting irregularities forced company to restate earnings. Cal has sole ownership of about 5.9 million shares, while brother Steve owns 2.3 million shares. Pair serves as co-trustees of Turner Children Trust’s 31.6 million shares. Family has controlling interest in Farmers National Bank, based in Scottsville, Ky. Steve serves as chairman and CEO of bank’s parent company, FNB Financial Corp., and pursues commercial real estate projects and other investments as a founder and senior partner of Marketstreet Management and Marketstreet Equities companies. Family has substantial real estate holdings in Allen County, Ky., Dollar General’s former headquarters. In Nashville, Cal and wife Margaret own several Brentwood properties worth about $9.8 million. A family partnership involving Cal paid more than $2.7 million in ’98 to acquire an additional 210 acres in Williamson County. On board at Vanderbilt Medical Center and a newly named Fisk University trustee, Cal recently donated $5 million to Martin Methodist College. Also a big Easter Seals supporter.
Monroe Carell Jr. and family
Parking lot czar. Built modern behemoth, Central Parking Corp., through aggressive marketing and some strategic acquisitions. Company encompasses more than 1.5 million parking spots worldwide, making it the largest publicly traded owner-operator of parking lots in the world. Controls more than 40% of Central Parking shares, worth more than $350 million, including shares held in his children’s trust. Net worth well down from four years ago, when Central Parking stock was priced above $50. Stock recently traded at $22. Daughter Julie Stadler owns another $46 million of stock outside the trust. Owns, along with his children, several downtown parcels of land on Second and Third avenues that he leases to Central Parking to operate—at an annual rent of $350,000. A trustee of Vanderbilt University and board member of the Urban Land Institute. Spearheaded the fundraising effort—and primed the money pump with $20 million himself—for the new facility at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, which bears his name. Also instrumental in the formation of the new John Paul II Catholic High School in Hendersonville.
Chairman of venture capital firm Clayton Associates. Firm is located in a $12.3 million Franklin office campus in which McWhorter is a major investor. Began as a pharmacist in 1955, but accumulated his wealth at HCA, where he started out as a hospital administrator and eventually was named CEO in 1985. Led the spinout of HealthTrust Inc. in 1987 and came back as chairman of the merged companies. Stepped down from the board in 2000. Chairman and founder of assisted living center company LifeTrust America, which is funded through Clayton Associates. Oak Hill home worth roughly $2.3 million. Owns a 2,882-acre hunting plantation in rural Warrenton, Ga., roughly 90 miles east of Atlanta, that’s on the market for $8.5 million. Come Away Plantation includes six lakes, farm equipment, automobiles, an 1860s plantation home, cottages, a tennis court, corporate retreat and conference areas. Also an investor in upscale Naples, Fla., condominium development, where he bought a unit for $1 million in Montenero at Pelican Bay resort. Benefactor of the McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Samford University in Birmingham through a 1996 gift worth more than $10 million.
Chief executive and owner of conglomerate The Danner Company, based on International Plaza near Nashville International Airport. Company holdings include Danner-Eller Golf Properties, owner of Hermitage Golf Course, Stonebridge Golf Course (Memphis), and a course in Greenville, S.C.; Fifth Quarter Restaurants; several car dealerships, including stakes in Neill-Sandler Toyota, Buick, Pontiac, GMC Truck, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, and Toyota dealerships in Murfreesboro, Knoxville and Alcoa; and, according to Hoover’s Inc., stakes in salmon farms and eucalyptus tree farms in South America. Generated wealth through large stake in Shoney’s Inc., a business he entered in 1959 in Madison and expanded into Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, Mike Rose Foods, Captain D’s, Pargos and Shoney’s Inns. Withdrew $140 million of capital from Shoney’s in 1988, after building chain to more than 1,300 stores. Remaining 4.2 million Shoney’s shares traded for $1.5 million in cash this year after chain was acquired by Lone Star U.S. Acquisitions and U.S. Restaurant Properties.
Founder of Franklin Financial Corp. Controls more than 4.5 million shares of stock worth $111 million. Owns seven of nine buildings on the Franklin town square valued at $5.4 million. Recently moved into new 22,609-square-foot home on 47.5 acres of Alvin Beaman’s former farm on Hidden River Lane in Franklin, next to Alan Jackson. House appraised at $6.8 million before construction was complete. Friends say house is worth $15 million, including antique furnishings. Another home on Sturbridge Drive and three condominiums in Naples, Fla., which he buys and sells as a hobby. Purchased a Pelican Bay condo in Montenero for $1 million; now selling for $1.8 million. Two other just-completed condos valued at $6.5 million total. Owns at least eight cars, minimum value $530,000: a 2000 Ferrari, 2001 Porsche, 2002 Mercedes Sedan, 2003 Mercedes convertible, a 2001 Lexus 470, 2002 and 1992 Ford pickups. Says all his money tied up in Franklin Financial or real estate. Well more than $100 million in real estate, “and I don’t owe anybody anything,” he says. Through Inman & Richey Co., built and owns the Bank of America building in Maryland Farms valued at $3.9 million. Owns 8.33% stake in Renaissance Hotel and Towers in downtown Nashville. Developed and sold Brentwood Place Shopping Center, now valued at $24.6 million. Developed Williamson County Shopping Center. Owns and leases most real estate Franklin National Bank utilizes.
For more details, see companion story, “Money in the Bank.”
Alyne Queener Massey
Widow of serial entrepreneur Jack Massey, who died in 1989. Native of Columbia, Tenn., where she and sister Elizabeth Queener own the family’s 230-acre farm that has been in the Queener family for six generations. Owns the former “Brooke House” at the corner of Tyne and Belle Meade Boulevards, currently on the market for more than $7 million, a house on Chickering Road appraised at $2.6 million, and a home on South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, Fla. Husband made first money with Massey Surgical Supply and drugstores, using $2 million of proceeds from those businesses to acquire a 60% stake in Kentucky Fried Chicken in early 1960s. KFC sold to Heublein for $285 million in 1971, netting Jack Massey roughly $100 million the same year he and Alyne Queener were married. Hospital Corporation of America co-founded in 1968 by Jack Massey, who two years later acquired control of Maryland Farm property and launched development of the office park. Still later, created Winners Corp. and partnered with Thomas Frist Sr. to develop what is now Loews Vanderbilt Plaza hotel. Alyne Massey’s finances managed by Frank Bumstead.
Charles N. Martin Jr.
Hospital management entrepreneur whose biggest fortune so far stems from OrNda HealthCorp. Converted stock and option stake in company into more than $65 million on its sale to Tenet Healthcare. Previously was president of HealthTrust, an executive vice president with Hospital Corporation of America and a director of General Care Corp. Applied part of OrNda proceeds to launch Vanguard Health Systems in 1997 with backing from Morgan Stanley Capital Partners. Vanguard’s annual revenue run-rate now approaching $1 billion and operating cash flow nearing $100 million. Martin’s 9.2% stake could be worth $75 million to $95 million in an initial public offering, which is likely within the year. Stakes in numerous other companies, including HealthStream and Symbion, a surgery center company that has filed IPO plans and in which Martin has a 7.2% ownership interest. An investor/director of San Antonio-based Kinetic Concepts, whose systems prevent and treat complications of immobility resulting from disease, surgery or obesity, and treat chronic wounds. Paid $2 million in 1993 for Belle Meade Boulevard home. Owns a Falcon 20-F, 10-passenger jet.
Brownlee O. Currey Jr.
Bulk of Currey’s wealth stems from the sizeable stake in American Express he received with its 1967 acquisition of Equitable Securities, a company co-founded by his father some 40 years earlier. At 73, Currey’s investment portfolio is still weighted with American Express stock, though he has donated or sold chunks over the years to support many philanthropic endeavors (Montgomery Bell Academy’s Currey Gymnasium, Vanderbilt’s Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Tennis Center, and most recently, the Currey Ingram Academy in Williamson County). Lucrative business dealings include the purchase of the Nashville Banner newspaper from Gannett Co. in 1979. Sold it back to them in 1998, reportedly clearing $25 million. Also a longtime board member of Thomas Nelson Inc., in which he holds a $2.3 million stake. High level tennis player, serves as a trustee of the U.S. Equestrian Team when not watching over his investments or planning his next major charitable gift. Owns the River Circle Farm in Williamson County, so named because the 300-plus-acre property wraps around the Harpeth River. Along with wife Agneta, owns three other homes in Manhattan, Southhampton and the Wellington area of West Palm Beach. The latter two properties have a combined market value of $5 million. Has a son and two daughters: Christian Brownlee Currey, Stephanie Currey Ingram (married to Ingram heir John Ingram) and Frances Currey Briggs.