The Billionaire's InboxAmerica's titans of industry and political influence, in their own words.  

Welcome back to The Billionaire’s Inbox, a series in which we get to hear from the other half, in its own words. Today we’re looking at how the influential Ricketts family—patriarch Joe Ricketts, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Republican National Committee finance chairman Todd Ricketts, Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, and Democratic fundraiser and activist Laura Ricketts—think about their wealth, and how they deal with the pressures that come with being among the richest and most influential families in America.

Joe Ricketts appears irregularly in Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of the 400 wealthiest Americans; since 2010, he has been listed three time. This appears to be by design: emails between Joe Ricketts and his representatives suggest a yearly negotiation with the magazine over which assets of his technically “count.” (“I don’t think I ever want to be on that list,” Joe writes. “However, I do want to make as much money as possible.”) In his preference toward public obscurity, and the political attitudes that favor conservative causes, small government, and low taxes, Ricketts is much like the other members of America’s most prosperous class, who collectively hold 40 percent of the nation’s wealth: A recent study out of Northwestern found that the richest Americans tend to donate heavily to the conservative causes that advance their own interests, while remaining careful to keep many of their true positions out of the press.

As adults, the Ricketts children have each parlayed their family inheritances and connections into powerful positions across the spectrum of American life.

Before entering politics, Pete Ricketts worked with his father as an executive at TD Ameritrade; during his first (failed) run for office, he spent more money on his campaign than in any Senate race in Nebraskan history, contributing more than $14 million out-of-pocket. In his subsequent campaigns, he has routinely outspent his opponents by a wide margin, a practice he continued after being elected to office in 2015. As governor, he dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a pro-death penalty referendum, even after the legislature repealed the death penalty in defiance of his veto—a strategy even some Nebraska Republicans considered extremely suspect.

The Ricketts Family poses at Wrigley field
Photo: AP

Tom Ricketts, the founder of investment firm Incapital and the president of the Ricketts’ “family business,” the Chicago Cubs, also joined the TD Ameritrade board of directors later in life.

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Todd Ricketts worked for both his brother’s firm and his father’s company; he owns a pizza shop and a bike store, though his true calling appears to be conservative fiscal policy. In the early 2010s, he acted as the CEO of Ending Spending, a non-profit started by his father to advocate for small government, as well as managing most of the Ricketts’ spending on Republican causes. A prolific fundraiser during the 2016 presidential elections, he was nominated to be President Trump’s deputy commerce secretary in 2016, but was unable to disentangle his business interests to the satisfaction of the Office of Government Ethics. This year, he was named the finance chair of the Republican National Committee.

Laura Ricketts, a corporate lawyer and “a big-deal Democrat in a family of big-deal Republicans,” was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013 for her philanthropic enterprises and her work with Lambda Legal. An Illinois super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and a top fundraiser for Obama’s campaigns, she also chairs LPAC, a super-PAC supporting lesbian women’s interests.

According to the Ricketts family’s own account, Joe didn’t allow his children to join the family business until they turned 30, a rule intended to keep them from growing up soft; still, each Ricketts has come to exert an outsize influence on the lives of less affluent Americans using the family name, and the wealth that comes with it.

“I’m a lifelong entrepreneur. I’m proud of the businesses I’ve built, and the businesses my family has built,” Joe Ricketts wrote in a statement to Splinter.

Families like this run our country behind closed doors, and it appears that this one is heavily invested in maintaining its hold on the country’s political and economic life: In regular family meetings, the Ricketts discuss how to consolidate and develop their financial and political power, often with the help of expensive guest lecturers and a cottage industry of dynasty-building consultants. They discuss how best to further their “strategic plan”—a literal spreadsheet—and breed another generation just as rich and savvy as their own.

And as they do this, they meditate on their own leverage: The ultra-wealthy are “a basic foundation in the framework of a successful society,” writes Joe Ricketts. “These people are a necessary part to make societies function appropriately.”

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From: Joe Ricketts

To: Family members

Date: July 24, 2009

Subject: FW: August Family Meeting binder (draft)

Folks,

Attached is the presentation document for the family meeting august 6 & 7.

J. Joe Ricketts

Excerpt from “Ricketts Family Meeting” presentation document, “Statement by Joe Ricketts for Offline Discussion”:

The following statements probably should be researched to discover definition and facts so that the Ricketts Family knows where they fit and how important they are to society.

• The wealthy and ultrawealthy are usually new people. Good examples are Gates and Buffet.

• Very few wealthy can keep their wealth for more than two to four generations.

• The wealthy are the source of one of the critical ingredients for the financial/ economic well‐being of society: capital. Without capital, there are no jobs.

• The wealthy are also the greatest source of another important aspect of society: charities and charitable foundations.

• Therefore, the wealthy people are a basic foundation in the framework of a successful society. These people are a necessary part to make societies function appropriately.

I think the next statements should also be studied to know and understand how our society is operating. A government’s strength depends on its ability to have financial/economic well‐being—its ability to tax. It would make sense that to increase tax the government should increase wealth. So, there probably is a fine line where our government improves society by helping to increase wealth and where the government provides destruction to society by imposing too much tax or regulation.

• The current world recession is a result of (probably unwitting) actions taken by the United States government.

• The current actions taken by the United States government will cause longer‐term financial and economic problems. Perhaps we should study this.


From: Pete Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: December 3, 2012

Subject: Pete’s gift list

Dad,

Here are some ideas of books to get me. I am giving you a variety of them so you can pick but also for my own purposes of books I may get in the future. All are availble at online at Peter Harrington

Anderson, Aenaes, A Journal of the Forces...., 1802, stock code 70550 approx $2800

Bruce, James, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile. 1805 stock code 32514 approx $3200

Harris, John Of a Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, 1705 stock code 50690 approx $14,000

Rogers, Woodes, A Cruising Voyage Round the World. 1718, stock code 71631 approx $5200

Sherley, Sir Anthony, His Travels into Persia...,1613 stock code 78035 approx $28,000

Or something related to Captain James Cook’s voyages like:

A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. 1784 stock code 46872 approx $8000

A New, Authentic and Complete Account of Voyages Round the World, 1790. Code 46870 approx $6000

A Voyage Towards the South Pole, adn Round the World, 1777 code 75594 approx $7200

If this was more than you were looking to spend please let me know and I will send you some other ideas.


From: Joe Ricketts

To: [Ricketts right-hand man and general counsel] Alfred Levitt

Date: September 16, 2013

Subject: i think i’ll purchase a residence in Calgary instead of renting

FYI. I think I’ll get a Town House, Condo or whatever it may be called, in a residential community. Probably start looking before long.

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From: Joe Ricketts

To: [genealogist and distant family member] B.S.

Subject: Your letter of 2/15/13

[portion redacted to protect details regarding specific distant family members]

It is nice to know that we could become a DAR or SAR.

I’m very interested in the Ricketts lineage and have employed a genealogist and a DNA specialist. I think you know the genealogist, [redacted] (who I’ve copied on this note)

We think our Ricketts lineage is Welch but we can’t find a connection to the Old Country.

If and or when we are ever done with this research I plan on putting it on the web.


From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: September 26, 2008

Subject: November meeting in NYC

Everyone,

I spoke with Lee [Hauser, a “business family foundation” strategist and psychologist specializing in wealth and wealth transfer] yesterday about our November meeting and we thought that because we continue to move forward on the Cubs project it would be a good idea to spend some time focused on family enterprise governance. This would entail coming up a with a set of rules and/or guidelines as to how family enterprises are to be managed in general, and that would apply to all business pursuit, even beyond the Cubs. Lee indicated that this would be captured in a “Family Constitution” that would outline specifics of how the family would be organized, how enterprises would be managed, how disputes would be resolved, etc.

Lee’s point is that with or without Cubs ownership we are all going to have to work together to manage the family assets at some point.

Also, I expressed that we had wanted to set aside a time for Tom, Pete, Laura, dad and I to meet Lee to discuss topics specific to the Cubs transactions.

At this point I would like to solicit any other agenda items that they feel should be added.

After I receive everyone’s comments I will put together a detailed agenda. If you have no additions please let me know so I don’t have to bother you again.

Finally, dad is planning to have dinner at the apartment on Friday night so if everyone can make arrangements to be there by 5pm it would be appreciated. And I think everyone should plan on staying until at least lunch on Sunday. I am open to ideas for Saturday night.

Todd M. Ricketts

how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?

From: Joe Ricketts

To: Family members

Date: September 26, 2008

Subject: RE: November meeting in NYC

I would like to fly everyone there on my plane. I’ll make the arrangements so that we’ll arrive in NY by 5 PM and then be at the house about 6 PM. Friday evening we’ll have cocktails and dinner.

Perhaps Lee can stay at the Mandarin Oriental and join us for after dinner drinks. We’ll make it an early evening so that we can be at our work after breakfast at 9 AM on Saturday.

For Saturday evening I would like to suggest – although there are many things to do in NY, we don’t have to be in a hurry to do them now, so maybe we make it a family night, play some cards, watch a movie or whatever you may want to do.

We’ll have a leisurely brunch on Sunday and then have my plane take us back leaving about the middle of the day.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. I’ll have the travel itinerary put together in a week or so.

Love, Dad/Joe

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From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts and family

Date: September 26, 2008

Subject: RE: November meeting in NYC

I gave Pete a game called Diplomacy we could play Saturday night.

Todd


From: Pete Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: November 13, 2013

Subject: FW: Palin in NE

Dad,

Do you have an interest in writing a check for Sarah Palin’s pack? [sic]

Pete


From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts and family

Date: November 11, 2008

Subject: weekend meeting recap

Everyone,

I wanted to send a quick reap of the weekend to make sure we are all on the same page.

On Saturday we made decisions on the first of many questions working towards having a family constitution. We defined what constitutes family and determined who would be on a family council.

We defined the following as:

Core Family Members

Bloodline children born into marital families

Adopted children 10 or under

Core Spouses

Spouses of core family members while married

Extended Family

Step-children

Children adopted over the age of 10

Beyond this we agreed that we recognized same sex relationships as long they have the highest level of recognition within the sate the couple resides and they agree to sign some sort of family document that is to be written stating their intentions to have a permanent relationship.

On the topic of the Family Council we agreed to have the council be made up of two members from each family and Joe and Marlene. Responsibilities of the Council would be “Initial dispute resolution” and to “clarify the constitution”. We also agreed that to maintain a council position members must agree to abide by an as of yet to be determined “code of conduct”.

At that point we concluded the official meeting.

[redacted details on the next several family meetings, and their locations]


From: [wealth psychologist] Lee Hauser

To: Joe Ricketts

Subject: RE: (no subject)

Dear Joe

I am sending you out a packet which will include a copy of the strategic planning information, the family constitution, a shared asset agreement overview and information about strategic planning for foundations. Additionally you will have a copy of what has been completed as part of the planning process to date and a list of important policies still to be developed for the future organization of the family. Realize that the work we are doing now will lay a foundation for your grandchildren’s generation where instead of dealing with your four capable children and their respective spouses, we do not know what the composition of the next generations will look like but there will be many more individuals involved.

One of the important issues which was identified in your mission/vision statement was sensitivity to the differences which occur in any multigenerational family and embracing diversity and that is why we are doing the Myers Briggs at this meeting. The interpretation of the results and what that means to this particular family will easily be a half day session.

Additionally I would suggest that you select additional policies from the list that I have sent you to be addressed at this meeting. I would suggest that the establishment of a Code of Conduct might be very useful as well as a discussion of how you might document the family history and/or the documentation of policies for employment within any family enterprise. But you might feel that another policy has greater priority at this time. For a future family meeting the subject of conflict resolution should be explored but this is a very meaty subject in itself and deserves an entire meeting devoted to this issue as it will always be coming up in one form or another.

[further details about scheduling a call with family members and additional sessions redacted]


Excerpt from Ricketts Family Constitution, May 2010

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From: Joe Ricketts

To: [Brown University political theorist and Free Market Fairness author] John Tomasi

Date: October 5, 2011

Subject: Guest lecture

Dear Dr. Tomasi,

I met you at the last Koch conference although I doubt that you remember as you were meeting a lot of people at that time. My son Peter and I talked to you at the same time.

I’m 70 and we have four married children and twelve grandkids. Our oldest grandchild will be making a decision about college soon. My wife and I along with our kids and their spouses are having a family meet for a day to discuss colleges for our grandkids; what colleges are attractive, what is the goal, how to get in , etc. We would certainly enjoy having you visit us and give a similar talk that you gave to us at the Koch conference.

I would be happy to pay all expenses and fees and we may be able to make it a one day trip. Our meeting will be in Omaha on Tuesday October 25th.

I certainly do hope you can make as this would be an important part of our day.

Best Wishes


From: Joe Ricketts

To: Family

Date: September 26, 2011

Subject: (no subject)

Attached is a recent newspaper article about selecting a college. As you can see there is a lot of discussion about costs and this is usually a big driver in the selection. (Please review the article before the next family meeting)

However, in our case this is not an issue as these educations are already paid for. This changes our considerations completely and leaves us with two objectives I believe:

1.) go to college to get a job, get a good interview, etc.

2.) go to college to get a good education to enhance the quality of life

I don’t believe that #1 is a consideration as our grandkids will be able to a job interview where ever they want regardless of the school they go to. (this assumes that we can make use of family connections which I’m comfortable we can do).

This can be a topic of discussion at the family meeting

J. Joe Ricketts


From: Joe Ricketts

To: [grandson] Q.R.

Date: September 26, 2011

Subject: FW: Wall Street Journal Article

Q.,

This is a follow up of our conversation of the other day about colleges.

You may find interesting the attached article from Monday’s WSJ Opinion section.

I’ve been reading that over the last 100 years or so our colleges and universities have been staffed/stuffed with Liberal/Progressive professors and administrators. You need to be aware of this so you can evaluate the effects. This article by Ruth Wisse points out this issue/problem quite well.

As you submit your application you may want to ask the university how many Democrats the school has as professors and how many Republicans the school has a professors. This question may, by itself, eliminate you as an applicant and I think this possibility is appalling.

Historically the national surveys continue to show that our population prefer limited/smaller government and free enterprise by ¾ to ¼ that prefer otherwise. However, again, the left/progressive movement has populated or taken over the universities, Hollywood and main-stream media (which I call the radical left media) so that it may appear that the liberal/progressive positions are main-stream when they are not.

Let me know if you may have any questions.

Love, Grandpa Ricketts



From: Tom Ricketts

To: Family

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Date: December 1, 2010

Subject: fishing trip discretion

Everyone,

On a more serious note..

As a trusted advisor just pointed out to me, the media would probably enjoy giving me and other members of the family a lot of grief for going on such a high end fishing trip (they certainly had fun with the Africa trip).

Particularly given the timing of some of our public discussions, the less that the Chicago media knows of our trip the better.

So I would ask that everyone please be discrete with the timing and details of the fishing trip.

Tom


From: Laura Ricketts

To: Pete Ricketts, Joe Ricketts, Todd Ricketts

Date: January 23, 2009

Subject: Media Coverage

OMG. Just saw Tribune front page at the Newseum in DC. The heading is “Meet the Cubs’ $900 Million Man” with a big photo of Tom next to it. Which is disappointing.

I definitely think we should request that various friends, specifically [redacted], not speak to the press for now.

From: Pete Ricketts

To: Joe, Laura, Tom, Todd

Date: January 23, 2009

Subject: RE: Media Coverage

Folks,

I appreciate the concern to make sure the PR stays on message but I would also like to remind you that, based upon my experience for 14 months during my campaign and all my time at AMTD , the press says any damn thing they feel like if it will get them audience.

Pete

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Selection from the Ricketts Family Constitution, April 2010:

Extra-family Expectations & Responsibilities - Conduct outside of family?

Media

-Media requests must go through the Cubs public relations. Avoid all media contacts where possible if not through the Cubs (i.e. ambush interviews.)

-Can talk to the media about other topics besides baseball

-Stick to talking points if trapped in an unschedule interviews:

*Bring a World Series to Chicago

*Save Wrigley Field

*Be a good neighbor

*We are excited to be the owners

*Never talk about players or Jim Hendry


From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Peter Ricketts, Laura Ricketts

Date: January 23, 2013

Subject: mayor emmanuel

Mr Mayor, would you like for the Cubs to stay in the city of Chicago… “No”

“When I first started this discussion, the Cubs wanted 200 million in taxpayer dollars. I said, `No.’ Then, they said we’d like 150 million taxpayer dollars and I said, `No.’ Then, they asked if they could have 100 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and I said ‘No.’ Then, they asked about 55 million dollars in taxpayer subsidies. I said ‘No’. The good news is after 15 months, they’ve heard the word, `No,’ “ Emanuel said.

I think we should contemplate moving, or at least recognize that we are maybe not the right organization to own the Cubs.

From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Peter Ricketts, Laura Ricketts

Date: January 23, 2013

Subject: RE: mayor emmanuel

I just hate the thought of Tom having to grovel to this guy to put money into a building we already own.

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From: Joe Ricketts

To: Tom Ricketts, Peter Ricketts, Laura Ricketts

Yes Todd, it makes me sad, it hurts my feelings to see Tom treated this way. He is way superior to the Mayor in every way.

I have been brought up to deplore the type of value system adopted by the Mayor of Chicago. This is stating it mildly.


From: Todd Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: May 22, 2013

Subject: this is a must read for every American

[Link to a Wall Street Journal opinion column, “The Debt Problem Hasn’t Vanished.]

From: Joe Ricketts

To: Todd Ricketts

Date: May 22, 2013

Subject: RE: This is a must read for every American

I understand this and know that we’ll have a big price to pay starting sometime before the next ten years.

That is why I seeking Canadian citizenship. Governments do not always provide effective economic management and this one certainly doesn’t. I can’t come to age 81 or 91 and know that my grandkids will not have the same opportunities that I’ve had. By moving citizenship, assets and business operations to other countries we may improve our Ricketts Family economic choices. More on this sometime later. Love, Dad


From: Joe Ricketts

To: Alfred Levitt

Date: February 26, 2012

Subject: Free and Economically free countries

As we did think, these countries are listed on the Heritage Foundation’s web site. The top four are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

I need to know the makeup of these determinations of Heritage, the status of free speech in each of these countries, the tax issues, and how easy it is to immigrate. I really need to know all of the issues of moving to each of these four countries. Perhaps one of the consultants would be the Heritage itself. Thx, Joe


From: Joe Ricketts

To: [tax professional] S.T.

Date: May 17, 2010

Subject: serve warm Bison

Steve,

I think I would like to serve warm bison at the mediation just like it was a sales call. Would that be OK?

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From: Steve Thorne

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: May 17, 2010

Subject: RE: serve warm Bison

Joe, whatever you think is best for the meal is fine with me. It is quite possible that neither the IRS agents or the mediators have ever had bison, so it occurred to me that a subtle way to make the point that you are in the business would be to have a bison meal brought in. Nothing else seems to have worked so far and as they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.


From: Alfred Levitt

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: July 26, 2009

Subject: Private Trust Company Update

Joe –

I was thinking something like this for the family meeting update on the Private Trust Company:

Ricketts Private Trust Company Update (3Q09)

1. What are we doing again?

a. Rather than to have individual trustees, we are forming a private trust company that will serve as trustee for the two Dynasty Trusts and the Education Trust.

b. The Ricketts PTC will be governed by a board comprised of the family plus one outside independent director, who will likely be Dave Larson in the first instance. Board succession will be according to family lines, with each line always being entitled to representation.

c. The Ricketts PTC is planned to be a Wyoming unregulated trust company unless we later determine that it is better to convert to a regulated trust company.

2. Why are we doing this again?

a. The Ricketts PTC will provide an intergenerational vehicle for our family to codify goals and values. For example, we’ve discussed using one or both of the Dynasty Trusts as a “Family Bank.” The Ricketts PTC would provide the structure to actualize the Family Bank concept – the Private Trust Company’s Board would pass a resolution providing that the Investment Committee allocate a portion of the Dynasty Trust(s) assets to intra-family loans according to a predetermined set of lending criteria.

b. Additionally, the PTC provides greater liability protection for individuals who now would be serving as Directors rather than as Trustees.

[ ... ]

4. What about the concern that the SEC would regulate the PTC once it served more than 15 beneficiaries?

a. Before we exceed the 15 beneficiary threshold that would normally trigger the SEC registration requirement, we intend to seek an exemption from SEC registration, a process that can take several years to complete. The exemption would be based on the fact that the Ricketts PTC would never hold its services out to the public.

b. In the absence of obtaining that exemption, once we exceeded 15 beneficiaries, we would have to elect whether to become a regulated PTC – i.e., be subject to bank regulator oversight – or remain an unregulated PTC – i.e., to be subject to SEC oversight. Alfred is working with McDermott on this issue.

c. A very recent, potentially important complication arises from two bills that are currently pending in the United States House of Representatives. Those bills could eliminate the registration exemption for trust companies serving 15 or fewer beneficiaries. Thus, if these bills were to pass, we would need to address sooner the question of whether to convert to a regulated trust company over which the bank regulators have oversight or remain an unregulated trust company over which the SEC has oversight. For now, McDermott advises that we should continue to plan on the unregulated company as the process to convert is not too difficult.

From: Joe Ricketts

To: Alfred Levitt

Date: July 26, 2009

Subject: RE: Private Trust Company Update

This report assumes that we are going to go ahead with the Private Trust. As you know, I have been reticent to go ahead ever since I discovered that it would need to be regulated. Your last comments about the two bills before Congress make the decision easy. I’m quite sure that I will not go ahead with the PTC so stop current expenses with McDermott.

I’m going to give this report that you have to my family along with my position. thx


Excerpt From: May 2010 Ricketts Family Meeting Agenda

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-Joe to introduce Opportunity Education to the grandkids in preparation for Africa

-Jim Cundiff to advise family on Dynasty Trust distributions, withdrawals and terminations.

-Family Office Exchange input regarding Dynasty Trust funding family health insurance and family office.


From: Joe Ricketts

Subject: Family meeting, Saturday morning

Date: February 11, 2009

To: J. Peter Ricketts

Peter,

I would like to have the first hour, from 8 – 9 Am to have a consultant come and talk to us about the economy. It appears as though we are in a depression so where is the bottom, how long will it last and what if the government stimulus doesn’t work properly. I think our family needs to develop the relationships that will allow us to have the best information about what the economy is doing and this may be a start. OK?

J. Joe Ricketts

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From: Alfred Levitt

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: February 11, 2009

Subject: Mukesh-Fees

Joe –

I spoke with [managing director of global financial services firm LECG] Mukesh [Bajaj] about how much it would cost for him to come and speak to the family. Mukesh had already been thinking about the potential for him to come and make quarterly financial presentations to the family – we had asked him to think about that issue when we saw him last.

In order for his reports to be incisive and meaningful – i.e., beyond what the family could get from reading the Wall Street Journal – he assumed a certain amount of preparation by him and support from the LECG resources. He then discounted this heavily to reflect the fact that this is not a traditional engagement – no Fortunate 100 company as the client – and the relationship I have with him.

He has proposed a fixed fee of $25K a quarter to prepare and present this report. I told him that I had no idea whether this was in the range of what you had been thinking but would check. Assuming the $25K doesn’t give you sticker shock, I suggest you have him come to two family meetings and then assess whether you feel there is good value being created.


From: Alfred Levitt

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: August 21, 2013

Subject: Communications | Forbes

I spoke with Forbes for our annual discussion about whether you should be included on the Forbes 400 list. As in past years, I’ve argued to them that it would be misleading to aggregate your wealth with Marlene’s, or the Dynasty Trusts. I think they accept that position. I also helped them to contextualize your 2013 stock sales, which they asked about. So we’ll see, but I think you may not be included on the list this year, although the run-up in AMTD stock makes it a tougher argument as the value of your 37M shares is substantial!

When we’re ready to be more proactive on press about Opportunity Education, Forbes may be an interested outlet.

From: Alfred Levitt

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: September 18, 2013

Subject: Forbes 400

You may have seen that on Monday Forbes released its list of the 400 richest Americans. It’s here if you’re curious.

You are not on the list again this year.

Should a day come when you wish to be back on the list, just let me know as I think I could make a case that would get you back there. Until that day, we will keep you below this radar.

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From: Joe Ricketts

To: Alfred

Date: September 18, 2013

RE: Forbes list

Thanks ever so much. I don’t think I ever want to be on that list. However, I do want to make as much money as possible. thx, Joe


From: Pete Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts

Date: January 11, 2013

Subject: FW: A Conspiracy So Immense

Dad,

Here are a couple of articles on the vast left wing conspiracy.

Pete

[Attached are articles from Mother Jones and the Free Beacon.]

A previous version of this story falsely stated that Forbes runs an annual list of America’s wealthiest families. We have corrected it to reflect Joe Ricketts’ position on the magazine’s list of richest individuals.