1. MALOOF FAMILY, Albuquerque and elsewhere

Casinos, alcoholic beverages, trucking, banking, inheritance

$450 million collectively


     From its first venture -- a general store in Las Vegas, NM, that opened in 1892 -- the Maloof family got rich during its century in New Mexico partly by dealing in the things that people enjoy. They own Albuquerque's Coors beer distributorship, a trucking business used primarily to haul the beer from Colorado, and Quality Import, a wine, beer and liquor distributorship and bottling company. They formerly ran basketball's Houston Rockets and this summer just missed in a $120 million bid to purchase the San Antonio Spurs. They own the Fiesta Casino Hotel in Las Vegas -- Nevada, not New Mexico. They have been in and out of the hotel business.

     Then there's banking. In 1993 the Maloofs received an estimated $160 million in stock from Salt Lake City-based First Security Corp. -- you know, the outfit whose First Security Bank gives you 110 percent -- for selling the family's nearly 80 percent interest in the parent company of the First National Bank in Albuquerque. The family had astutely purchased the institution in the mid-1970s at a bargain price. Since then, First Security's stock price has risen more than 70%--another $100 million in less than three years for the Maloofs if they held.

     The matriarch of this close-knit family is Colleen Maloof, 63, chairwoman of Maloof Companies. She is the wife of the late George Sr., who with brothers Michael, 64, and Philip, 66, built the family dynasty. George Sr. died in 1980 of a heart attack. His brothers are still active in the operation. (It was Michael's daughter, Ohio professor Judy Maloof, who went on ``60 Minutes’’ a few years ago with two other women to detail the sexual misconduct of then Santa Fe Catholic Archbishop Robert Sanchez. The action helped prompt his resignation.)

     Colleen's son Joseph, 40, also of Albuquerque, is the company's president and chief executive officer, overseeing the operation of all the Maloofs' holdings. (He sits on the First Security Board and personally owns a $20 million stake, far more than any other outside director.) Another son, Phil, 28, is a company vice president while also serving as a state senator from Albuquerque's West Side.

     Although we credit the entire Maloof fortune to New Mexico, several other Maloof children live out of state. They include George Jr., 31, of that other Las Vegas, executive vice president of Maloof Companies and president of the hotel operation; Gavin, 39, also of Vegas, another vice chairman (and a one-time Cosmopolitan magazine bachelor of the month) and Adrienne, 32, who lives in Los Angeles and is secretary and treasurer of Maloof Companies.

     We called Colleen Maloof asking for comment on our valuation. ``I don't get into that sort of thing,'' she said. ``I don't want to tell the whole world.''


2. YATES FAMILY, Artesia, Alto, Mayhill and elsewhere

Oil and gas

$350 million collectively


     In 1921 Martin Yates Jr. got New Mexico’s first state-issued oil-and-gas lease, working that part of the Permian Basin sticking into southeastern New Mexico. A gusher --supposedly on a site picked by his wife -- allowed his operation to prosper. The Great Depression diminished activities, although family lore says martin weathered that period by selling both a half-interest in a refinery and rights to potash deposits he had discovered. His four sons—Harvey, S.P. (for St. Clair Peyton), Martin III and John—eventually joined the oil business, first under the Yates Brothers partnership banner and then, after Martin Jr.’s death in the early 1950s, by operating their own businesses.

   And that is the secret of the continuing Yates fortune. Most rich families convey wealth to younger generations through trust funds and other devices that require no brains—or effort—on the part of the heirs. In the Yates clan, you form your own firm, get out there, take a lot of risks—and maybe even lose your shirt. ``I don’t think there are any trust funds of any size here,’’ says one family member. Thus it was that Harvey, the oldest son, now 86 of Alto, embarked upon a disastrous foray into mining in the 1960s that almost wiped him out. He started all over and successfully rebounded back into oil and gas.

   The Yates empire, in fact, more resembles a collection of individual fiefdoms brimming with different and entangling alliances. Individual Yates companies often compete against one another for energy leases. Yates Petroleum, the best known of the entities, is owned by S.P., 81 of Artesia; John, 66, of Mayhill; and the heirs of Martin III, who died about five years ago. Yates drilling, which, despite its name, is primarily an operating company, is owned by S.P. HEYCO is Harvey’s business. MYCO is owned by Martin’s heirs.

     The third generation is much in the act, too. Cibola Energy Co., in Albuquerque, is controlled by Harvey’s son, Harvey Jr. Earlier this year the extremely tiny company (assets $2.4 million) went private after 14 years as a public company—the only one in the Yates firmament. ABQ Petroleum is the vehicle of another grandson, John Yates.

     Despite the business competition, family relations are described as extremely cordial and cooperative. The main synergy of the Yates name seems to be the understanding that family members can pick the brains of relatives in another branch for their accumulated experience and wisdom.  

     Last year, Forbes estimated the family fortune at $600 million, but family members protest it’s not nearly that high.  Using conservative valuation yardsticks minerals in the ground, we peg the stash at a shade of a little more than half that.




$250 million


     Since 1988 Aldrich has been publisher and owner of the weekly Santa Fe Reporter. The sometimes-spunky paper has hardly proved to be a cash cow, but Aldrich doesn't have any economic worries. She is a great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller, the tycoon who at the turn of the century created Standard Oil and invented what being super rich is all about. Aldrich is the sister of U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, himself routinely described as one of the richest individuals in Congress's upper house.

     The stock market's nice ride over the past few years has propelled Aldrich, 57, near the top of our list. As near as we can figure, she's a one-fourth beneficiary in a group of Rockefeller family trusts apparently worth more than $1 billion.

     Aldrich herself has an eclectic journalism background, having worked for such diverse outlets as the Long Island newspaper Newsday, the China Daily in Beijing, the Village Voice in New York and the Washington Monthly. She was a writer on the Santa Fe Reporter from 1978 to 1981, so she's on her second time around in the Land of Enchantment.

     New Mexico seems to have a tradition of low-key publishers (see Thompson Lang below). ``I want to acknowledge your call,'' she told us, ``but I have no comment.''



Real-estate promoter, investor

$200 million


     About six years ago Sanders ``retired'' to Santa Fe a few years ago from Chicago, where he headed LaSalle Partners, a prominent real estate consulting and advisory firm that aided institutional investors. Apparently, he also wanted to really cash in on all the terrific expertise he had developed. His timing was good. A lot of big-time real estate investors took heavy losses during the 1980s. But since Sanders was primarily advising, not investing, he was not one of the big victims. When property prices hit bottom nationally, he was ready to pounce.

     His Lincoln Street organization, Security Capital Group, began operating REITs -- real estate investment trusts. These are financial vehicles that own and operate real estate, raising money from individual investors. Publicly traded REIT shares are like company stock.

     Sanders’ strategy: buying property at distressed prices -- far, far less than replacement cost -- and reaping the benefits as recovering business cycles dramatically increased their values. He started with apartment complexes under the Property Trust of America banner and has moved into non-residential investments. His two biggest REITs, both trading on the New York Stock Exchange, are Security Capital Pacific Trust (formerly Property Trust of America) and Security Capital Industrial Trust. The latter has been described as the country's largest owner of industrial properties. Sanders' organization also handles private money for institutional and large private investors. The Washington Post has called Sanders a ``high profile real estate investor.''

     Recent proxy statements for his public REITs contain some eye-popping numbers. Sanders ``beneficially owned'' 39,621,603 Industrial Trust shares -- worth $718 million at a recent per-share market price of $18.13 -- and 27,665,275 Pacific Trust shares -- a $602 million holding based on a recent price of $21.75. That's more than $1.3 billion right there. Sanders obviously splits a significant chunk of that value with others--perhaps institutional investors who have helped bankroll the company--and there also appear to be some modest borrowings for which the shares are collateral.

     But there undoubtedly is a lot of other value coursing through Sanders' operation that we don't know much about. These include Security Capital Atlantic Inc., a private REIT, and Security Capital US Realty, which invests in American real estate from a base in Luxembourg. In addition, none of these numbers include the nearly $50 million that the two public REITs alone paid Sanders' parent unit last year for management services, fees and even rent. Moreover, Sanders certainly has some significant outside personal investments.

     Several Wall Street analysts who follow REITs say it is clear to them that sanders, who is in his mid-50s, is very, very wealthy and that a $500 million net worth would not surprise them. But we’re conservative folks, so we went with a lower valuation. Still, we called Security Capital Group’s spokesman, Bob Fippinger, and tossed out a $500 million estimate. ``It sounds steep to me,’’ he said. ``but I just don’t know.’’


5. ANDREW L. TURNER, Albuquerque

CEO, Sun Healthcare Group

$125 million


     Striking out on his own are two of the three smartest things ever done by Turner. In 1986 he left nursing home leader Hillhaven Corp. of Tacoma, WA, with Neal L. Elliott (see below) to form what is now Horizon/CMS Healthcare (smart thing #1). The pair moved to Albuquerque in 1987. In 1990 Turner left his post as Horizon/CMS's operations vice president, formed Sun Healthcare and purchased seven money-losing nursing homes from Horizon (smart thing #2). He turned them around in short order. Now thanks to acquisitions and adroit anticipation of national health-care trends and policies, Sun has more than 160 facilities in several countries and revenues topping $1 billion.

     The No. 3 smartest thing Turner did is sell off a big chunk of his personal holdings -- something above $35 million -- since Sun Healthcare went public in 1993. Nevertheless, he and his family still retain nearly 6.5 million shares, recently worth $87 million. That -- plus a total of more than $10 million in compensation and payments since 1993 -- makes Turner New Mexico's richest public-company chief executive officer.

     He's certainly done better than many of his shareholders, who, thanks to a money-losing 1995, have seen Sun's stock price plunge from a peak of $28.13 in early 1995 to a recent $13.88.

     A slick, outspoken, charismatic man who got his start in the nursing home industry by managing a single church-owned facility in Ohio, Turner, 49, is not one to be ignored. He has poured millions into a showy corporate headquarters off I-25 in Albuquerque featuring sculptures and a running track.

     After being told of his spot on this list, Turner's spokesperson, Phyllis Goodman, turned down our request for an interview with him about his wealth. "I don't think he wants to talk about that," she says, expressing surprise that anyone would be interested in such matters.

The 25 Richest People in New Mexico


   1. Maloof family, $450 million.

   2. Yates family, $350 million.

   3. Hope Rockefeller Aldrich, $250 million.

   4. William D. Sanders, $200 million.

   5. Andrew L. Turner, $125 million. 

Home Page   |   Nos. 6 to 10   |   Nos. 11 to 15   |   Nos. 16 to 20   |   Nos. 21 to 25   |   Runners-up   |  

From CROSSWINDS, New Mexico’s largest alternative newspaper

October 1996