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Friday, Sep 30, 2022
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No. 10 , John J. Moores



Estimated net worth: $800 million

The owner of the San Diego Padres, John J. Moores, 64, grew up poor in Corpus Christie, Texas. According to a 2004 Los Angeles Times article, he shared a room in a converted garage with his two brothers, and helped buy a car for his stepfather with money earned from a paper route. He was a programmer at IBM, leaving Texas A & M; University to do so.

Later he earned economics and law degrees at the University of Houston, while still working full time at IBM, and later Shell Oil Co. A software code writer, in 1980, with $1,000, he formed BMC Software Inc. in Houston to market his work, which condensed data flow into computers. In 1992, he sold his shares in the company and walked away with $400 million.

He invested in Peregrine Systems Inc., a San Diego software company and bought the San Diego Padres in 1994. Conflicting reports say he paid either $85 million or $95 million for the team. Peregrine went public in 1997, and Moores became its chairman. He sold off his shares, reportedly earning more than $600 million. In 2002, the company had to restate its past financial results because of accounting errors. The company filed bankruptcy and the managers were indicted. Moores resigned as chairman in 2003 as part of the company’s Chapter 11 reorganization. Moores emerged from Peregrine’s woes unscathed, claiming he didn’t know of the problems and had relied on audits from the accounting firm.

The Padres, meanwhile, were rated in 2004 as worth $329 million, the 13th richest among the 30 Major League Baseball teams. The team has since moved into the Petco Park.

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Moores’ personal hero and friend is Jimmy Carter, whom he replaced as chairman at the Carter Center at Emory University in 2005. He was elected to the UC Board of Regents in 1999.

He started making charitable donations in the late 1980s, with $50 million donated to the University of Houston for a music school and sports programs, and another $25 million to the River Blindness Foundation, a distribution program for the drug used to combat the disease in the Third World. He’s given the Scripps Research Institute $4 million to fight the parasitic worms that cause blindness and other diseases globally. He and his wife, Rebecca, have also donated $21 million to UC San Diego and more than $20 million to San Diego State University. Moores has estimated that he has donated $250 million to various groups during the past 15 years.

, Mark Larson

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