Philip F. Anschutz

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Philip F. Anschutz is the billionaire co-founder of Qwest Communications[1], among the largest land-owners in Colorado, a major player in the oil, railroad, and media markets, and according to Forbes, he is the 33rd wealthiest man in America. He also has large and plentiful investments in sports teams (such as several soccer teams[2], the LA Lakers and the LA Kings), stadiums and newspapers (San Francisco Examiner and the SF Independent).[3]

Anschutz Empire

As of March 2005, the "Anschutz Empire" included:[4]

Bio

"Philip F. Anschutz was born in Russell, Kansas, in 1939 (some sources say it was Grand Bend). His father, Fred Anschutz, was a renowned oilfield wildcatter who made and lost several fortunes." [7]

Republican donations, conservative causes

"Anschutz is an active Republican donor," Annys Shin wrote November 21, 2004, in the Washington Post. "Since 1996, he, his companies and members of his family have given more than $500,000 in campaign contributions to GOP candidates and committees."[8]

"In 1987, Anschutz's family foundation gave Focus on the Family founder James Dobson an award for his 'contributions to the American Family."[9]

Movies

Anschutz "has entered Hollywood, financing almost a dozen projects in the last few years with his Anschutz Film Group, the recently dismantled Crusader Entertainment, and the newly formed Walden Media [2]. His productions of family friendly themes are aimed at being a counter-force to Hollywood's ever increasing attraction towards sex and violence."[10]

"Says Angelo Pizzo, director of the 1980s Hoosiers, of Anschutz on the set of World Cup film, 'Phil wouldn't stop. Tell them, this is about pride. [?] He wasn't just making this movie to entertain people. He desperately wanted it to teach young people about how to deal with life.'"[11]

"Besides the World Cup film, Anschutz has bankrolled the remake of Around the World in 80 Days, which has been picked up by the Walt Disney Company and is scheduled for a summer 2005 release on as many as 3,000 screens. And lo! Arnold Schwarzenegger will make a cameo as a Turkish prince."[12]

"Other projects include movies based on classroom books and a partnership with Disney to turn C.S. Lewis' Narnia series into a string of movies. He spent millions developing Children on Their Birthdays, a Truman Capote short story that stalled on release. For his religious film, Joshua, US Sentator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is contributing his self-written song, Everyday Heroes."[13]

In December 2005, Bill Berkowitz wrote for Media Transparency the following about the film Chronicles of Narnia: "'Walden and Disney claim that they have sent out 'Narnia' materials to every elementary and middle school in America. That includes posters, educational guides and more than 90,000 copies of the novel,' all of which will serve Anschutz's conservative Christian agenda."[14]

Movie theaters

"His controlling ownership of Regal Entertainment Group has allowed him to place advertisements boosting faith in America before films. Some suspect this costs him little out of pocket expense as he owns the screens and can put up whatever he likes."[15]

In September 2001, Anschutz took control of Edwards Theaters Circuit and a majority stake in United Artists Theater Group of Englewood.[16]

The Foundation for a Better Life

Anschutz and family members are the finance and board of directors for the non-profit The Foundation For a Better Life, a feel-good, family-values based organization bent on pushing happy, happy messages to the American populace such as, "My fondest memory of my Dad occurred one summer day out in the middle of a mountain lake..." and so on.[17]

The foundation "does not seek nor accept contributions or donations of any kind and is privately funded." Anschutz does not does not reveal his role as the private funder of this organization.[18]

Anschutz's foundation is spending millions every year posting morally-uplifting billboards around the country featuring American favorites like Kermit the Frog (Eats flies. Dates a pig. Hollywood star), the Ogre from Shrek (Believe in yourself), and Christopher Reeves aka SuperMan (Strength). Lesser knowns include heroes like Alex and her lemonade stand (Inspiration) and a blind mountain climber (Vision).[19]

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Another closely related group, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation bills itself as the U.S. delegate to the World Kindness Movement which is creating a global network of "kindness and compassion".[20]

Some have noticed a stylistic similarity between free Mormon Bible adds on television in the 1980s and Anschutz's messages. The president of the foundation, Gary Dixon, is a Brigham Young University alumnus. [3]

Print Journalism

In spring 2009, Anschutz bought the conservative Weekly Standard and the conservative Washington Examiner (for $1 million) despite reports that these have "little hope of making any money."[21]

Lawsuits

Anschutz was sued by New York Attorney General Elliot L. Spitzer in 2002 for making $1.5 billion in "unjust revenue". The two reached upon an agreement where Anschutz admitted no wrongdoing but paid $4.4 million to law schools and charities. In return, Spitzer dropped the lawsuit.[22]

Resources and articles

References

  1. "The Greedy Bunch #1. Qwest Communications, 2002 FORTUNE 500 Rank: 102, Fortune.com, December 28, 2002.
  2. "Boston fans rally around Garber for MLS Cup finals. Show of support for new commissioner, renewed beginning, and two great teams," Virtual Soccer Magazine, November 21, 1999.
  3. Paul Elias, "Billionaire investor Anschutz buys San Francisco Examiner," Associated Press (San Francisco Chronicle), February 19, 2004.
  4. orcutt, "Anschutz Empire," The Daily Kos, March 2, 2005.
  5. "Weekly Standard acquired by Washington Examiner parent company." Washington Examiner, June 17, 2009.
  6. Trustees, American Museum of Natural History, accessed April 19, 2010.
  7. The Anschutz Company, International Directory of Company Histories, accessed September 8, 2008.
  8. Annys Shin, "A Low Profile and a Large Footprint. Anschutz Makes Mark on Area With Soccer, Newspapers," Washington Post, November 21, 2004.
  9. Annys Shin, "A Low Profile and a Large Footprint. Anschutz Makes Mark on Area With Soccer, Newspapers," Washington Post, November 21, 2004.
  10. Unsourced.
  11. Unsourced.
  12. Unsourced.
  13. George Anders, "The reel life of Phil Anschutz. Qwest co-founder bankrolls wholesome film fare with mixed results," Wall Street Journal (posted by Rocky Mountain News and re-posted at DickStaub.com), April 23, 2004.
  14. Bill Berkowitz, "The movie, the media, and the conservative politics of Philip Anschutz. 'Greediest executive in America' teams up with Walt Disney Pictures for film about Christ's 'resurrection'," Media Transparency, December 2, 2005.
  15. Unsourced.
  16. "Denver entrepreneur Phil Anschutz to take over Regal Cinemas Inc.," Atlanta Business Chronicle, September 6, 2001.
  17. The Foundation for a Better Life website.
  18. About, The Foundation for a Better Life.
  19. Billboards, The Foundation for a Better Life.
  20. About, Acts of Kindness.org.
  21. [1]
  22. Annys Shin, A Low Profile and a Large Footprint Anschutz Makes Mark on Area With Soccer, Newspapers", Washington Post, November 21, 2004; Page A01.

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