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John Catsimatidis b. 1948, is the owner, president, chairman, and CEO of the Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods. He is also the chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group subsidiary United Refining Company.
self-portrait of Mr. Catsimatidis

The Red Apple Group also has holdings in aviation and real estate interests in New York, Florida, and the U.S Virgin Islands. He owns and operates the Hellenic Times newspaper. John Catsimatidis has also received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.[1]

Early life

Catsimatidis grew up in New York, NY after coming to the United States as an infant with his parents from the island of Nisyros, Greece. He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1966.

While pursuing a BS in electrical engineering at New York University (NYU), Catsimatidis worked for an uncle in a small supermarket on 137th Street. Catsimatidis ultimately dropped out of college,[2] and in 1971, convinced he could make money in the grocery business, he opened his first store on Manhattan's Upper West Side at 99th Street and Broadway under the name "Seven Eleven" (which was not part of the similarly named franchise). Soon afterwards he opened a Red Apple supermarket on 87th street just west of Broadway.[3][4]
Business Interests

A certified jet pilot, Catsimatidis has been involved in the airline industry since the early 70's. His holdings in the aviation industry have included a fleet of leased commercial aircraft operated as C&S Acquisition and Capitol Air Express. His corporate jet company, United Air Fleet, operated as many as forty corporate aircraft.
Red Apple Group
A Country Fair gas station in Fairview Township in Erie County, Pennsylvania.

In 1986 the Gristedes supermarket chain was acquired by the Red Apple Group. Gristedes was founded in 1888 by brothers Diedrich and Charles Gristede. There are over 50 stores in the chain operating throughout New York City, Westchester and a single store in Locust Valley, Long Island.

United Refining Company of Warren, PA., founded in 1902, currently employs over 3470 people and is a subsidiary of Red Apple Group. The refinery processes 70,000 [4] barrels of oil a day providing fuel to 372 Kwik Fill/Red Apple food marts and Country Fair gas stations, as well as associated motels and truck stops, in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.[5]

In October, 2009, Forbes Magazine reported that United Refining Energy Corp., a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by United Refining, was purchasing "privately held Chaparral Energy in a deal worth roughly $1.6 billion." [6] However, United Refining Energy Corp. shareholders did not approve the deal and it was terminated in December 2009.[7]

As of October, 2010, the Red Apple Group ranked 78th on Forbes list of largest private companies with revenue of $3.95 billion and 7,500 employees. (This compares to its 2008 and 2009 rank, both at #100).[8]

In 2008 Catsimatidis became engaged in efforts to take over SemGroup LP, a bankrupt oil, gas, and asphalt trading, storage and transportation company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Catsimatidis gained control over a majority of the company's management committee, but his efforts were met by opposition from the company's existing management, who argued for selling off at least some of the company's assets, while Catsimatidis stated his intention to keep the company together.[9] On February 11, 2009 Catsimatidis was sued by a group of SemGroup executives, seeking removal of Catsimatidis and his allies from the committee.[10] In July Catsimatidis reached a settlement with SemGroup, pursuant to which he acquired a piece of SemGroup's asphalt business and dropped his competing plan for the company's proposed reorganization.[11][12]
Later life

On October 2, 1988, John A. Catsimatidis married his former secretary, Margo Vondersaar. This was his second marriage. Mrs. Catsimatidis works in the advertising industry as President of MCV advertising and is also co-publisher of The Hellenic Times. [13] They have two children, Andrea and John Jr., Andrea, a student at New York University married Christopher Cox, on June 4 2011, grandson of Richard Nixon. [2](2011/06/16/New York Times)
Charitable involvement

Catsimatidis' charitable interests are largely centered in his Greek roots, such as the Hellenic Times Scholarship Foundation and the Greek Orthodox church where he served as President of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. However, he is a large donor to the G&P Foundation for Cancer Research.[14]

Catsimatidis has served on the Board of Directors of the Police Athletic League of New York City since the 1980s, and on the Board of Directors of the Drum Major Institute since 2002[15] He was the Vice-chairman of the Ellis Island Awards Foundation, of the National Ethnic Coalition Organization (NECO), and is co-founder of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation. This foundation has a $10 million endowment and the first foundation in the country established on behalf of a public school.

Mr. Catsimatidis is also involved with Juvenile Diabetes', Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research foundations. He and his wife, Margo, raised over $1,000,000 for the Diabetes and Alzheimer's Foundations. This year, Catsimatidis added the Interfaith Theological Center of New York and Outward Bound to his circle of charitable interests.
Political affiliations

He has made donations to Democratic Party and Republican Party campaigns,[16] and helped run a fund-raiser in 2006 with New York City Mayor Bloomberg for Joseph Lieberman. This was for Lieberman's run as an Independent after losing the Connecticut Democratic Party primary for the U.S. Senate.[17]
Personal Finances

As per the Forbes' Magazine's list "The World's Billionaires", published in March, 2011, Mr. Catsimatidis ranked #692 with a net worth of $1.8 Billion. [18] Similarly, as per the magazine's list of "Richest in the United States" (Sept, 2011), Mr. Catsimatidis ranked/tied at #212 with a net worth of $2 billion.
Potential Mayoral Run 2009

Previously a Democrat (during the Bill Clinton administration), John Catsimatidis was reportedly going to make a bid in the New York City mayoral election in 2009 as a Republican.[19] He planned to self-fund his campaign.[20]

In media interviews during the fall of 2007 and again during an interview with Steve Forbes in March 2009[21] he repeatedly confirmed his mayoral candidacy.[22]

However, once NYC's incumbent successfully changed the "term limits" law to let him run for a third term, Mr. Catsimatidis quietly withdrew.

^ John A. Catsimatidis
^ #220 John Catsimatidis - Forbes.com
^ Red Apple Group, Inc. - Company History
^ a b personal communication
^ Red Apple Group, Inc. - Google Finance
^ "Catsimatidis To Buy Chaparral Energy", Forbes, October 12, 2009.
^ "Catsimatidis company ends Chaparral quest", Tulsa World, December 14, 2009.
^ "America's Largest Private Companies", Forbes.com, October, 2010.
^ Rod Walton, "Business brawler?" Tulsa World, January 25, 2009.
^ "SemGroup executives sue Catsimatidis; SemGroup Energy Partners also warns of asphalt meltdown", Tulsa World, February 11, 2009.
^ Rod Walton, "SemGroup suitor drops out: The colorful New York billionaire settles for asphalt assets", Tulsa World, July 21, 2009.
^ "Catsimatidis to support SemGroup reorganization", Reuters, July 20, 2009.
^ John Catsimatidis Wed To Margo Vondersaar - New York Times
^ FOXNews.com - Mariah's Movie: Labor Day Release Beckons - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment
^ DMI > Board
^ NEWSMEAT ▷ JOHN CATSIMATIDIS's federal campaign contribution search results
^ Bloomberg To Host Fund-Raiser for Lieberman - September 18, 2006 - The New York Sun
^ http://www.forbes.com/profile/john-catsimatidis
^ http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2007/05/catsimatidis_gets_serious.html
^ CityHallNews.com
^ [1]
^ catsimatidis.mov

External links

Helenic Times Scholarship Fund
The G&P Foundation for Cancer Research
Planning the Path from Gristedes to Gracie Mansion interview at CityHallNews.com
Gristedes Supermarket website
United Refining Company website
Village Voice profile, 26-Feb-2008

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