The 50 Wealthiest Bostonians: Added Value

By Francis Storrs | Boston Magazine |

A FIELD GUIDE TO THE FILTHY RICH: Spotting the elusive Boston millionaire.

Finding New York millionaires is easy: They're the ones in Prada rushing to the Hamptons, PR flack in tow. Doing the same in Boston is harder. “It's about succeeding, but for God's sake never call attention to yourself,” says Jim Lowell of Fidelity Investor, who makes a career of tracking Fidelity's performance and a hobby of tracking its owners.

Plumage: Lowell says the key in Boston is to “look for the colors of the tribe: khaki below, blue on top.” On the islands—'Sconset and Edgartown, please—blue corduroys with kelly-green whale belts are still considered chic. You may find the wealthy waiting on their personal shoppers at Saks, but the ultrarich buy from catalogs, because, as one wag observes, “it doesn't really matter how it fits.”

Habitat: When the $278 million Mandarin Oriental hotel-and-condo complex finally opens, it will be the epicenter of wealth. Until then, try Via Matta; the Bristol at the Four Seasons for power breakfasts; and Abe & Louie's for power everything else. Or just walk down the street in Weston, where every fourth household is worth at least a million. For clubs, there's Oyster Harbors in Osterville, and The Country Club—emphasis on “the”—in Brookline. So many of our wealthiest winter in Palm Beach, it should be an honorary suburb. One of the hottest tickets in that town is to the annual Dana-Farber major-donor dinner, where families give $10,000 or more to get in.

THE TIPPING POINT: Many superrich Bostonians happily spread their wealth around. But not all.

Before Bob Kraft (No. 15) polished off his pinot and chef's salad at the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill one night, he'd given playoff tickets to everyone from the bartender to a fellow diner celebrating her 17th birthday. Kraft even once picked up the tab for John Henry (No. 21) and his party at La Morra, where he invariably charms staff and patrons alike. Our spies report that Paul Fireman (No. 15) and Jim Pallotta (No. 18) also leave big tips. Not so John Kerry, husband of Teresa (No. 22). He reportedly left one server at a clam shack just $22 on a bill of $1,400. “It's always amusing to me,” says a restaurateur who says he's been burned by Kerry and by well-paid Celtics stars. “We have to comp a bunch of millionaires.”

FAMILY MATTERS: These heirs stand to inherit billions. Here's how they stay busy.

Some heirs to wealth aren't content crashing exclusive nightclubs with Greek shipping scions. They want more from life. Take Vanu Bose. He can't be accused of riding his father's $1.2 billion coattails. Amar (No. 13) didn't even invest in Vanu's startup, Vanu Incorporated. In other ways, though, Vanu is a chip off the old block: He, too, earned all of his degrees from MIT, and his company—which gives businesses and consumers easier access to wireless technologies, including newly FCC-approved “software radio,” almost anywhere—got its start in military contracts, just like Dad's.

John R. Egan, son of EMC cofounder Richard (No. 11), cut his teeth in his father's company, where he helped rocket revenues from $3 million to $2.5 billion during his nearly two decades there. Then the BC grad struck out for new territory, starting a technology venture firm, Egan-Managed Capital, with $32.8 million in family money. Some things don't change: Father and son are both big Bush supporters.

Despite her best efforts, Shari E. Redstone has wound up following in Sumner's $8.4 billion footsteps. Shari studied law at BU, became a criminal-defense attorney, quit to raise her children, and was back in school studying social work when her father convinced her to try working at the family's Dedham-based National Amusements movie theater chain. Though fortysomething was late for a career change, Shari doubled the company's size in just three years as president. Now she's vice chair of Viacom and CBS, and is widely expected to eventually run both. In a way, she already does: National Amusements is the parent company through which the Redstones control 66 percent of one of the world's largest media empires.

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