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Billionaires with Vail ties, Bloomberg, Kravis do $44.79 million deal for Colorado ranch

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May 8, 2020, 8:39 am

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire media mogul and recent Democratic candidate for the presidency, has reportedly purchased a nearly $45 million Colorado ranch from former Vail investor and property owner Henry Kravis.

Michael Bloomberg

The Wall Street Journal reports Bloomberg, a Vail property owner, paid $44.79 million for Kravis’ Westlands Ranch southeast of Meeker. The 4,600-acre ranch in the White River Valley was reportedly purchased in 1991 by Kravis, a billionaire investor with a long history in Vail.

Before Kravis bought the ranch, it was owned by maverick automobile pioneer Malcolm Bricklin, who purchased the ranch, then known as the Bar Bell Ranch, in 1985. The property has a history that ties back to the family of President Franklin Roosevelt.

The ranch in Colorado’s scenic Flat Tops area of Rio Blanco County also has tragic history for Kravis, whose son, Harrison, died in a car accident there in 1991 at the age of just 19.

Kravis and his various companies have done many deals in Vail, including with former Vail owner George Gillett in the early 1990s and with current Vail resident Mike Shannon more recently. Shannon previously partnered with Kravis in a company that acquired and sold golf and luxury resorts around the world, and now Shannon is part of a group that owns Alterra Mountain Company and sells the Ikon Pass – a direct competitor with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass.

Bloomberg also has a long history in Vail, owning  a top-floor, four-bedroom condo at the Mountain Haus, according to New York Magazine, and contributing significant funding to the various political campaigns of former state senator, educator, businessman and Vail hotelier Mike Johnston, whose late father, Paul, was once mayor of Vail.

The Denver Business Journal reports “Kravis currently ranks No. 315 on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires while Bloomberg ranks No. 16.”

In 2016, former Vail Daily publisher Don Rogers mused about a new western White House in Vail if Bloomberg decided to seek the Democratic nod to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency – referring to the early years of Vail when former President Gerald Ford skied its slopes and wound up making his home in nearby Beaver Creek. Bloomberg didn’t run.

Instead, former U.S. senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton won the nomination and wound up losing to Trump in the 2016 general election. Bloomberg actually briefly jumped into the 2020 race to unseat Trump but wound up pulling out after former Vice President Joe Biden became the presumptive frontrunner. Bloomberg reportedly spent more than $900 million on his campaign.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

One Response to Billionaires with Vail ties, Bloomberg, Kravis do $44.79 million deal for Colorado ranch

  1. Briana Davis Reply

    July 26, 2020 at 5:44 am

    He needed somewhere to hide. If BLM wasn’t a pinko commie plot to take down the Trumpinator Bloomberg would be public enemy number one in their eyes. It would be nice to see people rise up and stop and frisk this prick everywhere he goes to give him a taste of his own medicine. Bloomberg should be prison for violating thousands of peoples constitutional rights with his illegal stop and frisk that targeted minorities. He’s a real scumball.

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