Lexington Mayor Jim Gray won the Democrats’ nomination for U.S. Senate yesterday by campaigning on his experience helping save the family’s Gray Inc. construction company after his father’s death. He’ll now face Republican Sen. Rand Paul in November — a contest he concedes will be tough.
“I have no illusions about it being a challenging race,” he told the Lexington Herald-Leader, “but I’ve got the experience and I’ve got the record. That experience is in the private sector, in building a family business.”
In the race to the senate, Gray, 62, joins other well-heeled candidates who’ve run on business bona fides, including Gov. Matt Bevin and White House hopeful Donald Trump. Gray’s first financial disclosure report, filed last month, offers a glimpse at that record.
The April 15 report covers the period extending back to the start of 2015. As with all such reports candidates and office holders must file annually, Gray’s assigns only a range of values for his family’s business, real estate and stock holdings. An individual stock, for example, may be valued at between $15,001 and $50,000 — the value Gray gave to his investment in the biotech giant Amgen. What’s more, it’s a point-in-time view; there’s no way to know the value of any of the assets today, nor whether they’re even still owned.
Still, Gray’s report offers a revealing snapshot of his family’s more big-ticket assets:
Gray Inc.: valued between $5 million and $25 million
Gray Realty commercial property: $1 million to $5 million
Woodford Realty commercial property: $250,000 to $500,000
Visual and Antiquity Investments, which consists of contemporary paintings, sculptures, mixed media and rare books: $1 million to $5 million. The report doesn’t say whether this is a private collection or commercial venture
The report also lists stocks and other investment securities, with a combined value between $1.8 million and $4.1 million. The portfolio includes a mix of technology stocks (Apple and Facebook); pharmaceuticals (Bristol-Myers and Merck, in addition to Amgen) and consumer goods (Starbucks and Walt Disney). A partial list:
Finally, Gray also reported annual wages of $160,000 as mayor, and $125,000 from Gray Inc., where he’s non-executive board chairman.
An occasional look at premium travel from Louisville.
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, and we’ve decided to inaugurate the start of summer with a beach vacation — to Monte-Carlo! No, not that tacky hotel in Las Vegas. We mean the glittering jewel of the French Rivera, made famous by the late Princess Grace, and the occasional ne’er-do-wells who’ve made it a sunny place for shady people.
The weekend weather forecast is mostly sunny, with a high only touching 80 degrees. Here in Louisville, it’ll be closer to 90. Here’s our itinerary.
When: May 26-31. Airline: Delta. Route: Louisville to Atlanta to Amsterdam to Nice, then a 40-minute drive to Monte-Carlo. How much: $13,724 per person airfare for a mix of economy and business class. About 15 hours 30 minutes flight time with layovers. Delta reservations.
What better place to stay in Monte than the Diamond Suite Penthouse at the Hotel Hermitage? It promises three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a children’s playroom — and two terraces, with drop-dead views of the yacht-swollen harbor (photo, top). Best of all, Larvotto Beach is just a six-minute ride along seaside Avenue Princesse Grace.
How much for the suite? A steal at $18,523 a night. Of course, this doesn’t cover various optional enhancements that include a $51 Gustave teddy bear made exclusively for younger guests (photo, left). We do the math so you don’t have to: four nights would cost $74,092. Here’s one of the penthouse suite’s terraces:
Features include a true chef’s kitchen supplies double dishwashers, an immense marble-topped island, stainless steel appliances, Viking gas range and a food pantry hidden by a hand-carved antique wood door. A breakfast nook looks into a cozy screened-in porch.
PIZZA HUT: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed legislation yesterday that could have helped former pizza baron Gene Bickell, who’s contesting a $42 million state tax bill over his 2006 sale of NPC International — America’s biggest Pizza Hut franchiser, with hundreds of restaurants (Topeka Capital-Journal).
TACO BELL is testing four new store designs this summer that give restaurants a more upscale look to better compete with Chipotle and boost dinnertime traffic (USA Today). Here’s the press release. The remodeled stores will be in the Orange County communities of Brea, Newport Beach, Santa Ana and Tustin (Los Angeles Times).
UPS is rolling out a new service where customers can track packages in real time on a map (Fortune). Also, a package handler in Sacramento, Calif., was killed in a fight during a concert Sunday; Thomas Noble, 31, leaves behind a school-age daughter (Sacramento Bee).
AMAZON CEO Jeff Bezos yesterday promised more retail stores beyond the single brick-and-mortar outlet in Seattle, as well as new services for the company’s Prime unlimited shipping membership during the company’s annual stockholders meeting (Wall Street Journal).
KFC: A woman in South Africa accused of murdering her employer says a detective coerced her into confessing by buying her KFC, mutton curry and pies (Iol).
In other news, one of Louisville’s biggest law firms — Bingham Greenebaum Doll — has hired former Metro Council President David Tandy as an attorney and lobbyist (Courier-Journal). Lexington Mayor and businessman Jim Gray became the first openly gay major party nominee in Kentucky to seek a U.S. Senate seat when he won yesterday’s Democratic primary; he’ll face Sen. Rand Paul in November (Herald-Leader). Wall Street stocks were flat as investors waited for the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes (MarketWatch).
News about business and culture in Louisville, Ky.