A Houston businessman who makes the Forbes 400 list of richest people twelve times, who gained fame for his large and luxurious car collection....a guy like that dies, you kinda expect the Houston Chronicle to notice.
But apparently not.
Jerry J. Moore died November 23 and, as best we can determine, the only mention of it in the Chron is an obit paid for by his survivors.
Moore was long gone from his `80s heyday, when he was developing shopping malls and flaunting a net worth of $500 million.
He was obsessed with getting the attention he thought that fortune deserved, resulting in an extremely odd Forbes magazine story about him.
The 1987 story is not online, but writer Edward F. Cone memorably describes Moore inviting him to a regular meeting of the city's movers and shakers. Moore tells him it's a successor to the infamous Room 8-F, when Jesse Jones and others would meet in the Rice Hotel and decide Houston's future.
Coyne follows Moore as he drives maniacally down the freeway, going 75 mph on the shoulder to avoid a traffic jam, and then goes into the meeting.
Big names are there, but it's clear some don't even know each other, much less belong to the same "club."
Finally, two hours into the ordeal, Michel (Mike) Halbouty, the renowned geologist, asks the question that has been growing in everyone's mind, save Moore's. "What the hell are you talking about?" the irascible head of Michel Halbouty Energy demands, his white moustache bristling. "I was told we were here to do a fair story on the state of Houston's economy, to counter all that exaggerated crap in the eastern papers. What's all this junk about money and power and goddamn Room 8-F?"
Heads nod around the table. Halbouty snorts and stomps out. The meeting doesn't last much longer.
Moore eventually sort-of admits there really isn't such a club.
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Another writer had his own experience with Moore in 2003. Inc used him as an example of how not to value your company. As the writer concludes:
This was a man obsessed with his net worth, or at least what I considered it to be. He and his accountant spent two hours with me the day after our Luke's Hamburgers meeting, poring over his holdings. He then began calling me every week or two, full of spin....Last year, he put his chateau up for sale, complete with the 26-car underground air-conditioned garage. Price tag: $18 million. No tears for Moore, of course, but I've often thought about how much time he spent wooing me, and how if he'd spent that time tending to his business, he might have a few extra Duesenbergs in his collection.
Jerry J. Moore -- gone, and apparently forgotten. Sounds like the way he most definitely didn't want to go.
-- Richard Connelly