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

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.