Category Archive 'Larry Ellison'

18 Oct 2012

Team Oracle Capsized in SF Bay

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The America’s Cup race is a match between a defending and a challenging sailing yacht, each representing an organized yachting club. Larry Ellison, the notoriously abrasive and egomanaical CEO of Oracle, early in the 2000s developed a yen to compete for the Cup, and needed a yacht club to represent.

Larry naturally first approached San Francisco’s venerable and aristocratic St. Francis Yacht Club. The St. Francis folks were initially happy with the idea of Larry Ellison flying their club pennon and competing in their name, but when Larry informed the St. Francis Club that he expected them to surrender majority control of the club’s governing board to him as part of the deal, the St. Francis Club demurred.

Larry responded by going down to road to a more modest and considerably more desperate organization, the Golden Gate Yacht Club, a much smaller, ordinary middle-class club, the sort of club a SF fisherman’s family (like Joe DiMaggio’s) might belong to, at the time in the process of going broke. Golden Gate welcomed Larry Ellison (and an additional 100 minions and lackeys) as new members, whose waterfall of dues wiped out the club’s deficit, and in return surrendered board control to King Larry, who does not, it seems, really bother to visit this latest small outpost of his personal empire. When the Golden Gate Club requires Larry Ellison’s attention, they come humbly to his door.

SF Examiner: New Home for America’s Cup

SF Examiner: Ellison Too Good For His Golden Gate Club

The chaps standing around the bar at St. Francis are doubtless having a good laugh today. Larry Ellison’s crew lost it on a turn on Tuesday and pitchpoled (overturned so that the stern pitched forward over the bow) his $8-million 72-foot Oracle Team catamaran.


The results were not pretty. One wing was basically shattered in fragments, and an ebb tide was sweeping the whole mess through the Golden Gate out to sea. Most of what was left was salvaged and dragged back to the dock, but Larry Ellison will be writing a very large check after this accident.

29 Mar 2008

Larry Ellison Gets His Tax Assessment Reduced

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I recently got my home’s tax appraisal reduced, so did Larry Ellison. I argued that my appraisal was higher than the price we paid for the house and was then increased, although average county house prices had declined 12.5%. Larry made somewhat different arguments.

John Murrell explain:

You don’t get to be one of the richest men in the world by being a pushover, so it was no surprise to see Oracle CEO Larry Ellison bring his boardroom combativeness to bear when he felt the property tax assessment was too high on his 23-acre Japanese-style compound in Woodside. Ellison’s aptly named Octopus Holdings bought the property in 1995 for $12 million, and over the next nine years Ellison built it up in the style of a Japanese emperor’s 16th century country residence. The estate consists of a nearly 8,000-square-foot main house, a guest house, three cottages and a gym. The landscaping includes a 5-acre man-made lake, two waterfalls, two bridges and hundreds of cherry and maple trees, redwoods, pines and oaks. It’s the kind of place where a Zen monk would feel comfortable, assuming he won the Powerball.

Including the cost of delays, overruns and change orders, Ellison put about $200 million into the compound. Based on the reproduction cost — without those added expenses — the San Mateo County assessor’s office listed the value at $166.3 million in January 2005, and that’s where it’s stayed. Octopus Holdings, however, had the estate on the books at $64.7 million, and took its case to the appeals board, claiming the property’s unique nature would put it at a disadvantage on the open market. The appeals panel agreed — given the limited market for luxury homes, particularly in the 16th century Japanese style, the “overimprovements,” and the expense of keeping up the “excessive” landscaping, the board said the property is suffering from “significant functional obsolescence.” The board knocked $100 million off the valuation for the last three years and will pay Ellison a refund of about $3 million.

Unfortunately, Ellison’s gain is the rest of the community’s loss. Almost half of the refund comes out of Portola Valley School District funds, and the property’s lower valuation means the district will be short $250,000 to $300,000 in annual revenue starting next fiscal year. “It’s a significant chunk,” said Assistant Superintendent Tim Hanretty. “It’s a permanent, ongoing reduction.” Other losers are the county general fund and assorted cities and redevelopment agencies.

Hat tip to Karen Myers.

28 Jun 2006

Harvard Pays a Price For Bolshevism

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Those faculty no-confidence votes intended to punish Harvard President Larry Summers for failure to tow the political correctness party-line did result in Summers’ resignation, but all the Harvard faculty’s PC fun is going to have a cost: $100,000,000 dollars.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison had been plannng a very large donation, but he had signed no papers; and, absent Summers, Ellison is striking Harvard off his Xmas list.

Following the resignation of Harvard president Larry Summers, Oracle boss Larry Ellison has decided not to donate over $100m to the university after all.

Ellison’s cash was to fund research into the quality of worldwide government healthcare problems, and according to Oracle’s spokespeople, Ellison viewed Summers’ participation as critical to the study.

“In light of Summers’ resignation, Larry Ellison has decided to reconsider his decision,” a spokesman told Reuters. “There was never a formal agreement but it had been talked about.”

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