Rob Walton: Zero for the Family Foundation but Millions for Vintage Sports Cars

Share Button

Although his net worth stands at $34.2 Billion,[i] long-time Walmart chairman Rob Walton has not made a single personal contribution to the Walton Family Foundation, according to a new report by The Walmart1Percent.[ii] The report is based on an analysis of 23 years’ worth of the Foundation’s tax returns.

Rob Walton, the eldest surviving child of the late Walmart founder Sam Walton, sits on the board of the Foundation, along with his siblings and a number of their children.[iii][iv] But he doesn’t seem all that invested in the Foundation.

Some of Rob Walton’s Cars (Source: Who’s Minding the Store)

Some of Rob Walton’s Cars (Source: Who’s Minding the Store)[xv]

The Waltons have responded to rising criticism of Walmart, in part, by highlighting their charitable activities, carried out through the private, tax-exempt foundation they control.[v]

While Mr. Walton has not personally contributed to the Walton Family Foundation, he has spent tens of millions of dollars collecting vintage sports cars.

Rob Walton’s car collection[vi] reportedly includes a Ferrari 250 GTO (which sell for $35 to $52 Million),[vii] a 1965 Shelby Cobra (valued at $820 Thousand),[viii] a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM (valued at $14.6 Million),[ix] a 1960 Maserati T60,[x] a 1958 Scarab MKI,[xi] a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB (valued at up to $4.1 Million),[xii] a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (purchased by Rob for $12.1 Million;[xiii] one recently sold for $39.8 Million).[xiv]

Rob Walton's 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Source: Sports Car Digest)

Rob Walton’s 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa (Source: Sports Car Digest)

Endless Greed: Rob Walton Tries (and Fails) to Avoid Import Taxes on a $12.1 Million Dollar Car

Rob Walton bought one of his many cars, this 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa[xvi]  in 2009, for $12.1 million, then the world record price for a car sold at auction.[xvii] Walton’s lawyer tried to get U.S. Customs to allow the car to be imported to the U.S. duty-free, as a special type of collector’s item. Unfortunately for Mr. Walton, the U.S. government was not impressed by the lawyer’s argument, and issued a ruling stating that the Ferrari was to be imported as a regular old motor vehicle, subject to an import tariff of 2.5%,[xviii]  nearly $303,000 – or about one hours’ worth of the Walmart dividends that he and his siblings will collect this year.[xix]

 Notes

[i] “The World’s Billionair4es,” Forbes (Retrieved March 15, 2014). http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/#tab:overall

[ii] “The Phony Philanthropy of the Walmart Heirs: How the Richest Family in America Uses Their Famiyl Foundation to Mislead Americans and Increase Their Wealth,” Walmart1Percent.Org (June 2014). http://walmart1percent.org/phonyphilanthropy

[iii] Walton Family Foundation, Inc., IRS Form 990 (2012)

[iv] “The Phony Philanthropy of the Walmart Heirs: How the Richest Family in America Uses Their Family Foundation to Mislead Americans and Increase Their Wealth,” Walmart1Percent.Org (June 2014). http://walmart1percent.org/phonyphilanthropy

[v] For example, see: The Walton Family Foundation, “Our Legacy; Our Story” (November 19, 2012). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEXwY9FbjgE; See also: http://AliceWalton.Org, which is devoted to extolling the good works of the youngest Walton sibling (note that the domain AliceWalton.org is registered to Walmart, see http://www.whois.com/whois/alicewalton.org)

[vi] “Rob Walton’s pricey vintage cars in action,” Walmart1Percent.Org (September 5, 2012). http://walmart1percent.org/2012/09/05/rob-waltons-pricey-vintage-cars-in-action/

[vii] Scott Reyburn, “Ferrari GTO Becomes Most Expensive Car at $52 Million,” Bloomberg (October 3, 2013). http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-02/ferrari-gto-becomes-most-expensive-car-at-52-million.html;

[viii] “Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2012 – Shelby Cobra Race,” Sports Car Digest (August 21, 2012). http://www.sportscardigest.com/monterey-motorsports-reunion-2012-shelby-cobra-race/?nggpage=3; 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 R&P Price Guide Report, Hagerty (retrieved May 23, 2014). http://www.hagerty.com/valuationtools/HVT/VehicleSearch/Report?vc=1342790

[ix] 1964 Ferrari 250 LM Price Guide Report, Hagerty (Retrieved May 23, 2014). http://www.hagerty.com/valuationtools/HVT/VehicleSearch/Report?vc=891133

[x] “Rob Walton – 1960 Maserati Type 61 ‘Birdcage’ (1),” Tamsoldracecarsite.Net (retrieved May 23, 2014). http://www.tamsoldracecarsite.net/Maserati61Birdcage.html

[xi] “Group 4 Winner Rob Walton driving his 1958 Scarab MKI,” Sports Car Digest (June 5, 2009). http://www.sportscardigest.com/wine-country-classic-results-and-photo-gallery/16-scarab-c2a92009-dennis-gray/

[xii] Rob Walton racing his 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB (Photo): Walmart1Percent.Org (retreieved May 23, 2014). http://walmart1percent.org/files/2012/09/1961-ferrari.png; “1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Sells for $4.1 Million,” RM Classic Car Auction (Retrieved May2 3, 2014). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBhHnngIyfo

[xiii] Noel McKeegan, “1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa fetches world record $12.1 million at auction,” Gizmag (May 17, 2009). http://www.gizmag.com/1957-ferrari-250-testa-rossa-fetches-world-record-121-million-at-auction/11727/

[xiv] Brandon Turkus, “1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sells for record $39.8 million,” AutoBlog (February 4, 2014).  http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/04/1957-ferrari-250-testa-rossa-record-39-million/

[xv]Rob Walton’s Car Collection,” Who’s Minding the Store (June 3, 2013). http://whosmindingthestore.org/2013/06/03/rob-waltons-car-collection/#sthash.P4FuFSVR.dpuf

[xvi] “Colorado Grand 2010 – Report and Photo Gallery,” Sports Car Digest (September 20, 2010). http://www.sportscardigest.com/colorado-grand-2010-report-and-photo-gallery/2/; The story of the Testa Rossa originally appeared at: http://richpeopleofwalmart.tumblr.com/

[xvii] Noel McKeegan, “1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa fetches world record $12.1 million at auction,” Gizmag (May 17, 2009). http://www.gizmag.com/1957-ferrari-250-testa-rossa-fetches-world-record-121-million-at-auction/11727/

[xviii] U.S. Customs and Border Protection, NO65799 (July 20, 2009). http://rulings.cbp.gov/index.asp?ru=n065799&qu=testa+rossa&vw=detail

[xix] This calculation is based on Walton share ownership reported on Walmart’s 2014 Proxy Statement (SEC Form DEF 14A, available from: http://stock.walmart.com/annual-reports) and Walmart’s declared FY 2015 dividend of $1.92 per share (see Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., “Walmart raises annual dividend to $1.92 per share, representing the 41st consecutive year of dividend increases,”  http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/02/20/walmart-raises-annual-dividend-to-192-per-share-representing-the-41st-consecutive-year-of-dividend-increases). This estimate includes dividends paid to Rob, Jim, Alice and Christy individually, and through their interest in the family holding company, Walton Enterprises, LLC.

Fact Check: Did Alice Walton Really Build Crystal Bridges Museum?

Share Button

Note: The information in this post is based largely on a report released today by The Walmart1Percent.[i]

Myth: Alice Walton is a generous philanthropist who built the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art.

Fact: Alice Walton did not make a single personal contribution to the Walton Family Foundation (which did make contributions to the museum) during the 23 years reviewed by The Walmart1Percent.[ii]
Fact: Alice has contributed less than two days’ worth of her Walmart dividends to the Museum.[iv]
Fact: Alice’s personal financial contributions to Crystal Bridges come to about $2.6 million, which amounts to just .16% of all contributions to the Museum through 2012.[iii]

Alice, the youngest Walton sibling, is a lover of horses and art, and she is widely credited with leading the decade-long effort to build the stunning, billion-dollar Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which opened in Bentonville, Arkansas in 2011.

Source: The New Yorker

Source: The New Yorker

The fact that Crystal Bridges purportedly represents a realization of Alice’s personal vision has led many observers to call it “her” museum; and it is generally assumed that Alice sunk a lot of money into the project.

A 2011 New York Times story on Ms. Walton’s effort may have contributed to this impression:

“Ms. Walton, who has been an art collector most of her life, turned to buying art specifically for the museum in 2005, resulting in a spending spree that has made her a recognized force in the art market. She has been one of those mysterious anonymous buyers at auctions and at galleries who often pay top dollar and has spent many tens of millions of dollars…” on major American artworks.[v]

Alice’s own website does not make any effort to challenge the picture of generosity painted by such stories. AliceWalton.Org reports extensively on the accolades Alice has received, including an honorary degree bestowed by the University of Arkansas in recognition of her “many charitable acts, including the founding of Crystal Bridges.”[vi]

Our analysis of the museum’s annual tax returns (IRS Form 990-PF) indicates that a reality check is in order: Alice Walton may have picked out a lot of the artwork for the museum (with assistance from top-flight experts), but she did not pay for much of it, or much of anything else.[vii]

The Walton Family Foundation – has been responsible for about 83 percent of all contributions to Crystal Bridges so far – that’s $1.3 billion as of 2012, including $137 million worth of art that was likely selected by Alice. But Alice did not make a single personal contribution to the Walton Family Foundation during the 23 years we analyzed. And Alice’s personal financial contributions to Crystal Bridges have been modest – about $2.6 Million (and most of that did not come until 2012). That’s a lot of money to most of us, but it’s less than two days’ worth of Walmart dividends for Alice[viii] and about .16% of all contributions to the museum through 2012.[ix]

But that’s not all.

A 2010 article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that members of the Walton family and associates who help to manage the Waltons’ business affairs were investors in Bentonville-area development projects expected to benefit from the economic impact of Crystal Bridges.[x]

And then there’s the tax break that Crystal Bridges wrangled from the state of Arkansas under questionable pretenses.[xi] The Waltons used their enormous political power in Arkansas to secure tax subsidies for Crystal Bridges through a 2005 state law exempting the museum from state sales and use taxes.

The legislation was clearly intended to apply exclusively to the Waltons’ Crystal Bridges museum. In order to qualify for the tax breaks, a museum had to open by January 1, 2013, had to cost more than $30 million to build, and house more than $100 million worth of art. This was clearly a bill custom written for Crystal Bridges.[xii] Arkansas happened to be facing substantial budget shortfalls during the time the tax break was debated.[xiii]  Proponents said it was necessary in order to ensure that the Walton family didn’t choose to locate Crystal Bridges elsewhere.[xiv]

Since the bill was enacted, however, Alice Walton has made it clear that she never considered locating anywhere but Arkansas, In fact, she laughs at the idea.” [xv]

Meanwhile, estimates of the revenue lost to the state have run as high as $15 million.[xvi]  Actual losses could be even higher, given that construction and art acquisition costs both increased significantly.

At $1.3 billion, the Walton Family Foundation’s contributions to Crystal Bridges represent a very large portion of its total charitable contributions. Whatever one thinks about the societal value of the museum (and there has been some acrimonious public debate about the virtues of the project)[xvii] $1.3 billion seems like a very large chunk of the foundation’s resources going to fulfill the personal dream of family member Alice Walton.[xviii]

 

Arkansas journalist reveals that Alice bids on artwork while on horseback

Source: 360West

Source: 360West

But Walton revealed during the Oct. 24 media tour of the museum that she doesn’t attend the auctions and hasn’t ever bid in person at one.

“I never have,” she declared.

Because the major auctions in New York tend to coincide with her cutting-horse world championships — she lives on a Texas ranch and competes in riding competitions — she has been known to phone in bids while sitting astride a saddle.

“I’m not really given a lot of choice if I want to compete,” she said with a throaty laugh.

Source: “Walton Inflames East With Collection,” Arkansas Online (November 5, 2011). http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/nov/05/walton-inflames-east-collection/?print

Photo:  Gail Bennison, “Alice,” 360 West (January 2013). http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=140344&p=48

 

Notes

[i] “The Phony Philanthropy of the Walmart Heirs: How the Richest Family in America Uses Their Family Foundation to Mislead Americans and Increase Their Wealth,” Walmart1Percent.Org (June 2014). http://walmart1percent.org/phonyphilanthropy

[ii] Ibid

[iii] See Endnote 1

[iv] See Endnote 1

[v] Carol Vogel, “A Billionaire’s Eye for Art Shapes Her Singular Museum,” The New York Times, (June 16, 2011). http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/17/arts/design/alice-walton-on-her-crystal-bridges-museum-of-american-art.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

[vi] “Alice Walton, Chairman of the Board,  Crystal Bridges – Museum of American Art” (Retrieved May 23, 2014).  http://alicewalton.org/

[vii] The museum is operated by a private, non-profit foundation (Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Inc.), of which Alice Walton is chairman. The findings presented here are based on an analysis of the foundation’s annual tax returns (IRS Form 990-PF) for the years 2004 through 2012.

[viii] Based on our estimate of Alice’s share of the Walmart dividends paid to Rob, Jim, Alice and Christy individually, and through their interest in the family holding company, Walton Enterprises, LLC. Our calculation is based on Walton family share ownership reported on Walmart’s 2014 Proxy Statement (SEC Form DEF 14A) available from: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/104169/000130817914000196/lwmt2014_def14a.htm; and Walmart’s declared FY 2015 dividend of $1.92 per share. For the dividend declaration, see: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., “Walmart raises annual dividend to $1.92 per share, representing the 41st consecutive year of dividend increases” (February 20, 2014).  http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/02/20/walmart-raises-annual-dividend-to-192-per-share-representing-the-41st-consecutive-year-of-dividend-increases.

[ix] Based on our analysis of the museum’s annual tax returns (IRS Form 990-PF).

[x] Evie Blad, “Museum-tied hotel has Walton stamp Crystal Bridges draws few outsiders,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (June 13, 2010) via Lexis Nexis

[xi] Evie Blad, “Taxes lost on museum unclear; Crystal Bridges exemptions will pay off, officials say,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (March 8, 2010).

[xii] Ben Davis, “Seeing Through Crystal Bridges: An Analysis of the New Yorker’s Profile of Walmart Heiress and Museum Patron Alice Walton,” Blouin ArtInfo (June 23, 2011). http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/278836/seeing-through-crystal-bridges-an-analysis-of-the-new-yorkers

[xiii] Phil Oliff, Chris Mai, and Vincent Palacios, “States Continue to Feel Recession’s Impact,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (June 27, 2012). http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=711

[xiv]  Taxes lost on museum unclear Crystal Bridges exemptions will pay off, officials. Evie Blad.  Arkansas-Democrat Gazette  March 8, 2010

[xv] http://www.inarkansas.com/article/soiree/26863/crystal-bridges-museum-for-alice-walton-its-about-love8212of-art-history-country-and-family

[xvi] Taxes lost on museum unclear Crystal Bridges exemptions will pay off, officials. Evie Blad.  Arkansas-Democrat Gazette  March 8, 2010

[xvii] Lee Rosenbaum, “At the New York Public Library, It’s Sell First, Raise Money Later ,” The Wall Street Journal (November 1, 2005). http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB113079900058884594?mod=weekend_leisure_banner_left&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB113079900058884594.html%3Fmod%3Dweekend_leisure_banner_left ; Rebecca Solnit, “Alice Walton’s Fig Leaf,” The Nation (March 6, 2006). http://www.thenation.com/article/alice-waltons-fig-leaf#; Lee Ronsenbaum, “New Yorker Corker: ‘Crystal Bridges Has Earned the Respect of the Museum Establishment,’” CultureGrrl (June 21, 2011). http://www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl/2011/06/crystal_bridges_has_earned_the.html; Lee Rosenbaum, “Reading the Fine Print: What’s Wrong with the Fisk/Crystal Bridges Agreement? CORRECTED,” CultureGrrl (August 16, 2012). http://www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl/2012/08/whats_wrong_with_the_agreement.html

[xviii] It is worth noting that Alice Walton is the chairman of the Museum board, which is composed in its majority of Waltons and individuals who work for them or for Walmart, including: Alice’s nephew Thomas L. Walton, Richard D. Chapman (the chief financial officer of Walton Enterprises, see http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=184272534&ticker=FSLR&previousCapId=66357134&previousTitle=Greener%20Capital), Buddy Philpot (Executive Director of the Walton Family Foundation, according to the Foundation’s 2012 tax return), and Doug McMillon (Walmart CEO). Source: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, IRS Form 990-PF (2004-2012).

Report: The Phony Philanthropy of the Walmart Heirs

Share Button

Report: The Phony Philanthropy of the Walmart Heirs (June 2014)

The Waltons – America’s richest family – have contributed almost none of their own wealth to the Walton Family Foundation and use the Foundation to avoid an estimated $3 billion in estate taxes, according to a report released today by  The Walmart1Percent. Based on an analysis of 23 annual tax returns filed by the Walton Family Foundation, the report shows that, if the Foundation is their primary vehicle for giving, the Waltons give much less generously than their billionaire peers and ordinary Americans.

Download the full report (PDF)

Or  the executive summary (PDF)

Key Findings:

  • Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart’s board of directors, has not made a single contribution to the Foundation.
  • Alice Walton, has not given a single dollar to the Foundation.
  • Jim Walton made one personal contribution of $3 million to the Walton Family Foundation, more than 15 years ago.
  • The total contributions of Rob, Jim, Alice, and Christy Walton, and their family holding company to the Walton Family Foundation amount to $58.49 million, equivalent to:
    • 0.04% of their net worth;
    • Less than one week’s worth of the Walmart dividends they will receive this year.
    • Less than the estimated value of Rob Walton’s collection of vintage sports cars.

Related:

Rob Walton: Zero for the Family Foundation; Tens of Millions for Vintage Sports Cars (June 3, 2014)

Fact Check: Did Alice Walton Really build Crystal Bridges Museum? (June 3, 2014)

The Waltons – Charity Begins at Home (Sept. 13, 2013)

 

Report: Walmart and Waltons Get $7.8B/Year in Tax Breaks, Subsidies

Share Button

This blog was originally published by Making Change at Walmart.

A new report this week from Americans for Tax Fairness catalogs the incredible scale at which Walmart relies on the rest of us to pick up the tab for the company’s low wages and paltry benefits. It won’t be news to regular readers of this blog that taxpayers subsidize Walmart, but the total is really unbelievable The top-line conclusion of the report – Walmart and the Walton family benefit from more than $7.8 billion dollars in annual subsidies and tax breaks. Overall, the report estimated that our public schools could hire an additional 105,000 teachers with the $7.8 billion in annual subsidies and tax breaks received by Walmart and the Waltons. In addition, the Walton family uses specialized tax trusts to avoid estate taxes. The report estimates that the family has dodged upwards of $3 billion in taxes through these trusts. The report summarizes some of the subsidies and tax breaks covered this way:

  • Walmart receives an estimated $6.2 billion annually in mostly federal taxpayer subsidies. The reason: Walmart pays its employees so little that many of them rely on food stamps, healthcare and other taxpayer-funded programs.
  • Walmart avoids an estimated $1 billion in federal taxes each year. The reason: Walmart uses tax breaks and loopholes, including a strategy known as accelerated depreciation that allows it to write off capital investments considerably faster than the assets actually wear out.
  • The Waltons avoid an estimated $607 million in federal taxes on their Walmart dividends. The reason: income from investments is taxed at a much lower tax rate than income from salaries and wages.

There are increasing calls to end taxpayer support for poverty-wage employers around the nation.  No company and no family better exemplifies the need for change than Walmart, with $16 billion in profit last year and the Waltons, with more wealth than 42% of Americans combined. We support calls from taxpayer advocates and others around the nation to close needless loopholes that benefit billion-dollar companies and the super-wealthy, at the expense of average Americans.  Walmart associates shouldn’t have to rely on public assistance to get by, and taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for Walmart’s low wages.  We’re pleased that Americans for Tax Fairness and others are helping the public to understand more about this boondoggle.

Supreme Court opens the flood gates to even more Walton money in politics

Share Button

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down certain limits on individuals’ federal campaign contributions, with a ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. The Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the cap on the aggregate amount that an individual can give directly to candidates for federal office, federal political action committees, and federal party committees.

The McCutcheon decision opens the door to dramatically increased federal election spending by wealthy, politically-motivated donors like the Waltons. A report from Demos and U.S. PIRG found that without an individual limit on campaign spending, more than $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from a small segment of elite donors is likely to come in through the 2020 election cycle.

With some of the deepest pockets in America, members of the Walton family have brushed up against the individual aggregate limit year after year. And the Waltons’ political priorities are well-documented. Their contributions further a personal, ideological agenda that is anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-minimum wage, and pro-gun.

Individual Walton federal contributions by year

2012

2010

2008

Individual aggregate limit

$117,000

$115,500

$108,200

Jim Walton

$112,000

$114,900

$107,300

Lynne Walton

$105,800

$111,500

$107,100

Alice Walton

$78,300

$93,900

$104,900


Analysis of data from
FEC.gov and Open Secrets

Already, a small group of donors has major influence on the political process. The Sunlight Foundation reports, “More than a quarter of the nearly $6 billion in contributions from identifiable sources in the last campaign cycle came from just 31,385 individuals, a number equal to one ten-thousandth of the U.S. population…the 1% of the 1%.” In 2012, no member of the House or Senate won election without help from this group. And this small group includes some familiar names: Alice, Christy, Jim, Lynne, Rob, Tillie, and Sam R. Walton are all part of this 1% of 1%.

Federal law had set caps on the total amount individuals could contribute to all candidates as well as the total amount that individuals could give to PACs and parties. For the 2011-2012 election cycle, the caps were $46,200 to all candidates and $70,800 to all PACs and parties, which added up to an aggregate limit of $117,000, more than twice the annual income of the average American household. Without those limits, extremely wealthy donors like the Waltons will be able to spend upwards of $3.5 million every election cycle—not including super PAC contributions!—to influence the democratic process.

In 2012, over half of the contributions from Jim Walton and his wife Lynne went to two Republican committees: the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($30,800 apiece, the 2012 maximum contribution to party a committee) and the National Republican Congressional Committee ($30,400 each). Without an aggregate limit on individual contributions, the Waltons could hypothetically write many more $30,000+ checks to other national party committees in the current cycle. They’ve already gotten started: in March 2013, Jim and Lynne each wrote $30,800 checks to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. At $123,200, Jim and Lynne Walton have given more money to the Republican party this cycle than Charles and David Koch.

How Long Did it Take the Waltons to Make Your Salary?

Share Button
Wealth-Calculator

Enter your salary below and then click “do the math” to see how long it took the Waltons to make your annual salary last year.



It took the Waltons minutes and seconds to make your annual salary.


Another year, another $33 Billion for the Waltons

Share Button

Once again, the Walton family figures prominently on the Forbes annual list of the world’s billionaires, which the magazine released online Monday. The Waltons, who inherited their controlling interest in Walmart, are the richest family in the United States.

We did some simple calculations with the Forbes data and came up with a few eye-popping Walton  statistics:

  • Combined net worth of the six Waltons on the list: $148.8 billion
  • One-year increase in the Waltons’ net worth: $33.1 billion
  • Daily increase in the Waltons’ net worth since Feb. 14, 2013: $90.9 Million
Rob and Melani Walton in a $12.1 million 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Walmart Chairman Rob Walton takes his 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa for a spin. When Rob purchased this beauty in 2009 he paid a record $12.1 Million (and then tried to avoid paying import taxes).

And here are the Forbes rankings and net worth figures for the six Waltons, individually:

  • Christy Walton: #9 with $36.7 billion
    Christy Walton is the richest woman in the world
  • Jim Walton: #10 with $34.7 billion
    Jim is the CEO of Arvest Bank and a member of the Walmart board of directors
  • Alice Walton: #13 with $34.3 billion
  • Rob Walton: #14 with $34.2 billion
    Rob is the long-serving chairman of the Walmart board of directors
  • Ann Walton Kroenke: #305 with $4.8 billion
  • Nancy Walton Laurie: #367 with $4.1 billion

It should be noted that the Waltons’ enormous wealth has generated intense public debate in recent years. Critics point out that the Waltons continue to benefit from Walmart stock buybacks and to collect billions of dollars annually in dividends, while the company’s low wages force many employees to rely on taxpayer-funded safety net programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.

Click here to see the Walton entries for yourself at Forbes.

Sources:

Forbes 2014 Billionaires List (data as of Feb 12, 2014). Retrieved March 3, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2014/03/03/inside-the-2014-forbes-billionaires-list-facts-and-figures/

Forbes 2013 Billionaires List (data as of February 14, 2013). Retrieved March 3, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2013/03/06/full-list-u-s-billionaires-of-2013/

The Waltons could buy Congress 32 times

Share Button

Slate reports that more than half of 534 current members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics (CPR) (see here also).

That might explain why the federal minimum wage is stuck at $7.25 per hour – too many of our legislators just don’t understand what it means to by scrape by on poverty-level wages in today’s Walmart economy.

Members of Congress are doing a lot better, on average, than your typical American family. But how does our nation’s legislative branch stack up against the closest thing we have to an aristocracy – the Walton Family, majority owners of Walmart?

Using CPR data we estimate the average net worth of a member of Congress at $7.2 million. This year, the Waltons will take home $8.5 million in Walmart dividends every day – that’s $1.3 million more (every day!) than the average net worth of a member of the richest Congress in U.S. history.

What if we look at Congress as a whole?  Based on the same CPR data, we estimate the total net worth of the Congress at $4.5 billion. The Waltons, with their $144.7 billion fortune, are 32 times richer than the entire Congress.

Congress shouldn’t feel too bad, though. After all, the Waltons’ billions make them as wealthy as 42 percent of American households – combined.

Updated January 14, 2014

  • Included link to CPR blog post
  • Specified that the CPR study shows that more than half of 534 current members of Congress are millionaires (there are 535 members of Congress)

Meet the 6 Walton Heirs at the top of the Walmart Empire

Share Button

Check out our new infographic on the Walton heirs who control Walmart. Please share widely!

An infographic describing the Wealth of the 6 Walton heirs who are the majority owners of Walmart.

Richest family in the U.S. now 25% richer

Share Button

Today, Forbes released its annual list of the 400 richest Americans. Not only can the Waltons still count themselves as the richest family in America, but their net worth rose 25% in the last six months. The six Waltons on the list—Christy, Alice, Jim, Rob, Ann, and Nancy—are worth a combined $144.7 billion, up $29 billion from the last Forbes tally in March. It’s as if the richest Waltons found a long-lost, equally affluent sibling.

#6: Christy Walton, $35.4b
#7: Jim Walton, $33.8b
#8: Alice Walton, $33.5b
#9: Rob Walton, $33.3b
#95: Ann Walton Kroenke, $4.7b
#110: Nancy Walton Laurie, $4b

Income inequality is continuing to set records, and the Waltons are emblematic of this trend. Just last week it was reported that the top 1% of U.S. earners took home 19.3% of household income last year. This is the highest proportion in a century; we have officially surpassed Great Depression-era levels of income concentration at the top. For the other 99% of Americans, household income went up a whopping 1% in 2012.

Walton wealth 2013The bulk of the Waltons’ wealth comes from their shares in Walmart. Siblings Rob, Jim, and Alice share ownership of just over half of Walmart stock. Dividends on those shares line the Waltons’ pockets every year. This fiscal year, Rob, Jim, and Alice (and the various entities that they control) will receive an estimated $3.1 billion in Walmart dividends.

Just don’t expect the Waltons to share that wealth. According to a recent Bloomberg story, the Waltons are America’s biggest users of a particular type of charitable trust that actually allows the donor to pass money on to heirs after an extended period of time, without having to pay the much-debated estate tax. An accountant interviewed by Bloomberg estimated that just one of the Waltons’ twenty-one charitable trusts would result in $2.2 billion for Walton heirs. Closing the two types of loopholes the Waltons appear to use would return more than $20 billion to taxpayers over the next decade.

Walmart workers, on the other hand, are part of a growing chorus of low-wage workers speaking out for respect and better jobs. On September 5, Walmart associates and their supporters gathered in fifteen cities across the country, calling on Walmart to reinstate illegally fired and disciplined workers, publicly commit to improve jobs, and end the company’s aggressive violations of workers’ rights. According to the most recent data available, the six Waltons on the Forbes list have the same wealth as the bottom 42% of American families combined. Walmart associates, in comparison, have been risking arrest in their fight for $25,000 a year for full time work.

Walmart associates make an average of about $8.81 an hour, despite the company’s misleading claims to the contrary. Under Walmart’s definition of full-time work, this amounts to only about $15,500 annually. Meanwhile, the Waltons’ wealth is up 25% in just six months. Basically, in less than 10 seconds, the Waltons made what the average Walmart associate makes in a year. Think something’s wrong with that picture? Sign our petition here and look out for exciting opportunities to join in Walmart associates’ biggest actions yet this Black Friday.

Legal Disclaimer: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees. Judges have preliminarily enjoined non-Associates who are part of the UFCW International or OUR Walmart from entering Walmart property in Arkansas (read the order here), Florida (read the order here), Texas (read the order here) and Maryland (read the order here). A California judge has enjoined non-associate agents of the UFCW and OUR Walmart from engaging in certain activities inside CA Walmart stores. Click here for a copy of the order.