Three San Antonio residents made Forbes’ recent 2022 World’s Billionaires list, an annual and unfinished venture to map the richest people on the planet. And since last year, the trio has experienced unexpected surprises worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Forbes calculates the list by primarily using stock prices and exchange rates to determine individuals’ net worth in a single day in March, but it also takes into account the value of some real estate, art and more. Is. The list is only an estimate, and the magazine warns that it is always incomplete.
Three on the 2022 list are San Antonio billionaire Christopher “Kit” Goldsbury, the local investor behind Pearl who made his fortune by selling Pace Foods to the Campbell Soup Company; James Leininger, owner of a medical device company who has made a major impact on the state’s conservative politics; and Red McCombs, former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, whose car dealership inspired him to become a civic and business leader in San Antonio.
This year’s list does not include three other San Antonians who have previously been on the list. He is the President and CEO of HEB, Charles Butt; Rodney Lewis, an oil and natural gas magnate; and Graham Weston, the youngest of the bunch most famous for launching Rackspace and reshaping downtown as a developer. Here’s a roundup of some of the city’s richest citizens, and where they landed (or didn’t) on this year’s Forbes list.
Christopher ‘Kit’ Goldsbury (No. 1,645)
According to Forbes’ calculations, Goldsbury saw a $100 million increase in his fortune over the previous year. His net worth was estimated at $1.8 billion.
The former salsa magnate’s most widely recognized mark on San Antonio is Pearl, which was developed with the support of his private equity firm Silver Ventures. The firm has been involved in high-end hotels such as the Westin Riverwalk and Hotel Contessa, and it also invests in mid-market food companies.
But Goldsbury’s road to wealth began with a marriage. Two years after marrying the daughter of the founder of Pace Foods, he joined the company and became its chairman nearly a decade later. The company was sold to Campbell Soup in 1994 for $1.12 billion.
Goldsbury had by that time separated from his wife, Linda Pace, a collector who founded ArtPace of San Antonio, and died in 2007. Goldsbury is also the head of the Goldsbury Foundation, and has been a major donor to a conservative group called the Tea Party Patriots.
James Leininger (tie for No. 1,729)
The title of second richest person in San Antonio is shared by Leininger and BJ “Red” McCombs.
According to Forbes, Leininger, also known as “Doctor Jim,” saw his fortune rise by $200 million in 2021, to a total of $1.7 billion now.
Leininger made his fortune as the founder of medical device company Kinetic Concepts, which focuses on wound care. The company was bought by private equity firm Apex Partners in 2012 for $6.3 billion, when Leininger was the largest shareholder. He also invests through a venture firm called Medcare Investment Fund, which manages $1 billion in assets.
Leininger has sought a moderate pull on the state government through the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank founded in 1989. The Foundation has placed emphasis on public school vouchers, criminal justice reform and encouragement of free enterprise and fossil fuel production. He has also donated lakhs to political candidates of the state.
Leininger also has a small stake in the San Antonio Spurs.
Red McCombs (tied for No. 1,729)
In terms of net worth, McCombs has almost exactly followed Leininger’s trajectory over the years. According to Forbes, in 2021, his wealth increased by $200 million, taking his total to $1.7 billion.
Billy Joe McCombs, who got his nickname from the color of his hair, was the son of a mechanic in West Texas. He moved to San Antonio in 1958 to start a car dealership that would one day become Red McComb Automotive Group. McCombs was one of the original owners of the Spurs franchise, helping bring the team to San Antonio in 1973.
He was also the co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, which is known today as iHeartMedia, which owns the largest radio station group in the United States both by number of stations and by revenue. The company was acquired in 2008 by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners in a leveraged buyout for $26.7 billion.
McCombs has held leadership positions at Southwestern University and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and has a stint at the University of Texas at Austin’s Business School. He once held a major stake in a controversial military contractor formerly known as Blackwater.
He does philanthropy through the McCombs Foundation. In 2005, a $30 million donation from McCombs and his wife to MD Anderson created the Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer.
Charles Butt (without rank)
The grandson of the HE-B founder hasn’t made the Forbes list since 2015, but that’s not because he’s not a billionaire. In 2016 the magazine began cutting down individuals whose families share their fortunes like butts.
In 2020, Forbes calculated the family’s net worth at $17.8 billion, making the Butts the 15th wealthiest family in the country. Charles Butt took over as the company’s CEO and chairman in 1971. He owns it along with his sister and two nephews. The company estimates that the magazine employs approximately 140,000 individuals and generates annual revenue of $32.8 billion.
Founded in 1905, HEB is the largest private company in Texas.
He gives philanthropic grants through the Charles Butt Foundation, which has a focus on public education.
Rodney Lewis (without designation)
Lewis founded Lewis Energy Group, of which he is CEO. He had an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion before he dropped the Forbes ranking in 2019.
Lewis grew up in Laredo and bought his first oil well in 1982 for $13,000. In the following decades he acquired 500,000 acres in the Eagle Ford Shale, making his company one of the largest gas producers in Texas.
He is considered the largest owner of World War II fighter jets. They also have the world’s largest single-mast yacht, which cannot go under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with a 292-foot-high mast.
Over the years Lewis and his wife have done philanthropy through the Rod and Kim Lewis Foundation, such as providing equipment for the Lewis Energy Academic Center at Laredo Community College.
Graham Weston (unranked)
Rackspace founder and downtown developer Graham Weston made an appearance on the Forbes list in 2013, when his net worth was estimated at $1.3 billion, before it collapsed. His current net worth is unclear, but court filings relating to the divorce proceedings last year state that Weston has more than $1 billion in assets and income.
The bulk of the San Antonio native’s original fortune came from Rackspace, which he founded as a web-hosting service. He left in 2006, 10 years before it was bought by private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $4.3 billion. He also co-founded GeekDome, a downtown tech startup incubator. Since leaving Rackspace, Weston has emerged as a major downtown developer. His firm Weston Urban’s projects in recent years have included the development of the Frost Tower and the renovation of the Rand Building.
In addition to his business deals, Weston co-founded the non-profit Community Labs to ramp up COVID-19 testing in the city. He also does philanthropy through his 80/20 Foundation.
Charles Butt, The Charles Butt Foundation, Red McCombs Automotive and the 80/20 Foundation are financial proponents of the San Antonio report. For a complete list of business members, click here.