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Thursday, Feb 9, 2023
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‘Horrid Bets’ Put Dent in Fortune

Last week we reported on the misfortunes of local philanthropist Ernest Rady in the wake of the economic meltdown Well, Forbes.com reports that professional money manager and self-made billionaire Charles Brandes, who ranked No. 1 on the Business Journal’s 2007 list of the Wealthiest San Diegans, is also taking a beating in the markets. His net worth, once estimated as high as $2.6 billion, has dwindled to less than $1.8 billion, after making what the magazine calls “horrid bets” on such stocks as Washington Mutual and Countrywide Financial, among others. Assets under Brandes’ management, which once topped $120 billion, are down to $86 billion, as investors flee his funds in droves. In every cloud, there is a bit of silver lining. Irwin Jacobs, co-founder and chairman of Qualcomm and who ranked No. 3 on the list, finds his fortune on the upswing. Last December, his net worth was estimated at $1.7 billion. But since shares of Qualcomm have been outperforming the market lately, thanks to a steady flow of licensing fees, his net worth has jumped to $1.9 billion, according to Forbes. We’ll publish an update of our Wealthiest list Dec. 8 Meanwhile, the Nov. 10 issue of Fortune magazine has a feature on Neal Blue, the man behind the success of defense contractor General Atomics and its Predator drone, made here in San Diego County. What the Fortune piece doesn’t reveal, according to longtime PR man Tom Gable, is that Blue was behind efforts to advance DARPANet, the military predecessor to the Internet, and helped nurture CERF.net, the mother of today’s modern-day Internet service providers. Now you know the rest of the story, at least part of it Junior Achievement of San Diego and Imperial Counties is scheduled to honor Peter C. Farrell, chairman and CEO, ResMed; Tina S. Nova, president and CEO at Genoptix; and Conrad Prebys, owner of Progress Management, one of the area’s largest residential property managers, at its annual Business Hall of Fame Awards on Nov. 7. By the way, Prebys ranks No. 17 on that list of the area’s wealthiest, and appears to be doing fine, given the strong rental market for apartments Public relations consultant and radio talk show veteran Gayle Lynn Falkenthal flew to San Francisco last week to meet with Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.com, the popular Web site launched in San Francisco during the dot.com boom. Scheduled to join Falkenthal was Andrea Stone, executive officer of Rescue Task Force, which assembles backpacks jammed with personal effects and given to wounded service personnel recovering at military hospitals. Falkenthal met Newmark recently, and happened to tell him about the agency, and he wanted to know more about it. The backpacks replace items left behind when the wounded are quickly airlifted from the battlefield for medical treatment. The agency also helps with relief efforts when disaster strikes, such as Hurricane Ike.


SDBJ Editor Tom York joins talk show master Mark Larson Thursday mornings at AM 1700 to talk about business.

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