The current issue of Time magazine has a piece (“From Chads to Riches”) on Al Gore and his forthcoming book, which contains this interesting nugget:
Gore has built his net worth from roughly $2 million in 2000, when he reluctantly entered the private sector, to some $300 million, according to the scorekeepers at Forbes. By their measure, he is now richer than the renowned supercapitalist Mitt Romney.
It’s apparently less objectionable for presidential candidates to earn millions of dollars if they do so reluctantly and after losing rather than avidly and before losing. Forbes arrived at what it calls a conservative estimate of the former vice president’s fortune following the sale of Gore’s Current TV to the Qatari-owned al Jazeera, a deal that reportedly earned him roughly $100 million. Even before that haul, Gore wasn’t doing too badly for himself, according to Forbes:
Along with cultivating Current, Gore, 64, joined the board of Apple in 2003 and served as a senior adviser on green issues to Google beginning in 2001, three years before the company went public. As of February, Gore, who is still an Apple director, held more than $35 million in stock and options in the Cupertino, Calif. technology firm. A spokesperson for Google did not disclose Gore’s compensation when he was with the company and said that the internet giant no longer maintains any formal financial relationship with the former vice president.
Beyond Gore’s involvement in the media business and with two of Silicon Valley’s most influential companies, a large portion of his net worth is derived from his involvement with financial services firms. A year after losing the election, Gore was named vice chairman of Metropolitan West Financial Inc., a now defunct Los Angeles-based money manager, which then had more than $50 billion in assets under management. He held that position briefly before going on to found global investment firm Generation Investment Management with former Goldman Sachs executive David Blood. . . .
Perhaps the most telling sign of Gore’s rise in personal wealth can be seen from his own $35 million investment in Capricorn Investment Group, an investment manager and private equity fund founded by billionaire and former eBay President Jeffrey Skoll. In 2008, Gore invested in the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm through an LP named after his hometown of Carthage, Tenn., according to public filings.
Time notes that, despite his massive wealth, Gore is still a down-home kind of guy:
Air Force One would have been nice, but Gore makes do with his “redneck yacht,” as he calls the solar- and biodiesel-powered houseboat he keeps on Center Hill Lake in Middle Tennessee, where he entertains his buddies over cold cans of PBR.
Maybe Mitt Romney could have helped his image by exchanging his jet skis for a redneck yacht.