LA's Mystery Billionaire

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The New Yorker magazine* this week has a profile of Phil Anschutz and Tim Leiweke, the team that has reinvented the section of Downtown around Staples Center. Anschutz, says civic leader Steven Soboroff, is the "most important Angeleno of the last 50 years, and he isn't even an Angeleno."

Anschutz lives in Denver, and if you don't know much about him, it's because he has not been interviewed in the media for more than 25 years. There a only a few pictures of him around. Yet he's not a recluse, though some stories mistakenly make him out to be one, or eccentric in the vein of Howard Hughes.

Anschutz is merely media shy. Other business leaders in LA have met with him. Members of the Los Angeles Kings, his hockey team, typically spend a pre-season day at his estate outside Denver. He even shows up sometimes unannounced at games at Staples Center, the arena his company built and owns, along with about 100 other performance venues around the world, including the big O2 arena in London.

He is successful businessman worth an estimated $7 billion, according to the New Yorker article by Connie Bruck. He gives money to conservative causes, is a family values Christian who insisted there be no swearing in the film Ray when it came from one of his production companies, and he is the man who wants to build an NFL stadium at L.A. Live, another Anschutz project in Downtown.

Listen for more on the Anschutz and Leiweke team.

* This evening on Which Way, LA's Reporter's Notebook, Warren Olney speaks with New Yorker staff writer Connie Bruck about Anschutz and his ambitions for LA.