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OCBJ INSIDER

This week’s edition features the NBA’s Bill Russell and World Cup soccer star/entrepreneur Eddie Lewis on the front, and avid sailor/private equity exec Jim Madden on this page. Our Rick Reiff recently tracked down some additional sports-related news (while on the links), as well. His report:

Newport Coast businessman and philanthropist Jim Coufos watched last month’s World Series with personal, and personnel, interest.

Coufos is co-owner of the Triple-A minor league Fresno Grizzlies. When he bought the team early last year with Denver’s Ray and Michael Baker, the franchise was entering the final season of a four-year deal with the defending world champion Houston Astros. This past season, the Grizzlies had a new major league affiliate—the Washington Nationals, now World Series champs after defeating those same Astros.

Who was Coufos rooting for? His response covers all of the bases: “Both organizations are terrific.”

Coufos spent four decades on Wall Street, retiring as a managing director for Goldman Sachs. The Grizzlies are his third minor league team. He also owns a piece of racehorse Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Coufos was recently on hand at Newport Beach Country Club to indulge two of his other passions, golf and Hoag Hospital.

Coufos, a Hoag Foundation director, past president and benefactor, joined other volunteers and media to promote next year’s Hoag Classic, March 4 through 8. It will be the 25th year for the PGA senior (Champions) tournament, but just the second year without Toshiba as title sponsor. Beneficiary Hoag is now its own title sponsor. Konica Minolta and City National are presenting sponsors at $1M each, helping to offset the loss of Toshiba’s $3M. During Toshiba’s reign, the tourney generated $6M-plus annually, netting roughly $1M for charity after prize money and other expenses. Last year was off some, with a little more than $500,000 going to charity.

The 2020 goal is to hit $1 million again. Overseeing the effort are Emulex chairman emeritus Paul Folino, returning as event chair, and Jeff Purser, executive director ever since Hoag got involved 22 years ago.

Both thank Toshiba for its many years of support, but also note that putting the Hoag name on the tourney has boosted community involvement and provided marketing pop for the hospital.

Change was in the air last Wednesday night at the Business Journal’s 10th annual General Counsel Awards. It was the first MC’ed by Matt Parlow, dean of Chapman University’s Dale E. Fowler School of Law. He took over the role from former UCI law dean Erwin Chemerinsky, whose commitments arguing a case before the Supreme Court the same day kept him away from Hotel Irvine.

Changes were also evident at a trio of the event’s winners: Healthpeak Properties’ Tracey Porter noted the REIT’s recent renaming from HCP, and the In-House Legal Team of Taco Bell gave thanks to new CEO Mark King.

William Lyon Homes’ Louis “Dutch” Schotemeyer was feted a week after the builder’s announced sale to Taylor Morrison. Schotemeyer said you “can’t say enough about the Lyon family” that brought him aboard in 2018. The firm is “an Orange County institution,” the ex-Marine told the nearly 500-person crowd.

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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