Loma Rica retains wealthy allure | TheUnion.com

Loma Rica retains wealthy allure

by Tim Omarzu
John HartPhil Carville, representing the buyers of the Loma Rica Ranch, talks in front of the old horse barns that Errol MacBoyle built in the 1930s.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

The one-time wealthiest man in America, a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model, the politician favored to become San Francisco’s next mayor, and celebrities Don Johnson and Oprah Winfrey.

What’s the connection?

They’re linked, in one way or another, to the new owners of Loma Rica Ranch.

Escrow closed Tuesday on the 452-acre property outside Grass Valley – once the pride of Errol MacBoyle, the millionaire owner of Grass Valley’s Idaho-Maryland Mine, one of the richest gold mines in California history.

MacBoyle began his career as a “mucker” shoveling out the Murchie Mine in Nevada City. But his lifestyle kept pace with his success.

MacBoyle raised thoroughbreds at Loma Rica Ranch, built a reservoir and airport there, and planned a mansion until he ran out of steam because of illness. He died at an early age.

Now, the land’s back in glamorous hands.

The Gettys

The Ronald Family Trust paid close to $7 million to buy Loma Rica, said Phil Carville, the Nevada City man who was hired by the trust to act as the property’s developer.

The Ronald Family Trust is an offshoot of billionaire J. Paul Getty Sr.’s family tree.

Once regarded as the wealthiest man in the world, Getty’s five marriages produced five sons. The bulk of his fortune went to son Gordon P. Getty, a San Francisco philanthropist and opera lover who once was ranked by Forbes magazine as the wealthiest man in America.

The Nevada County connection comes with Bill Newsom, a retired two-term California Court of Appeal judge who lives in Dutch Flat.

Newsom is an administrator for the Ronald Family Trust.

He’s also been a close friend of Gordon Getty since the two attended St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco. Newsom’s current business, Newsom Associates, directs Gordon Getty’s personal business operations.

The trust is worth an estimated $600 million and is named after Gordon Getty’s oldest half-brother, Ronald.

Trust members include Ronald, a Florida resident, and his four grown children, Christopher, Christina, Cecily and Stephanie, Newsom said.

The oldest child, Christopher, 34, is based in London and is president of an oil company that operates in Russia, Newsom said. Cecily and Stephanie live in South Africa while Christina works in real estate in Miami Beach, Fla., he added.

Fabulous wealth isn’t the only reason the Gettys are famous. The family has had its share of scandals, including divorce, heroin addiction, and the revelation that Gordon Getty, in addition to his wife of three decades and four grown sons, secretly kept a second family – a mistress and three daughters living in Los Angeles – under a different last name.

The Newsoms

While they’re not as rich or as famous as the Gettys, the Newsoms aren’t slouches in the power and glamour department, either.

Newsom served his judgeship in San Francisco and moves in the same circles as the city’s top Democratic power brokers: Mayor Willie Brown and state Sen. John Burton.

Newsom also is heavily involved in environmental causes; he’s a trustee for the Sierra Club Foundation and a director of the Wildlife Conservancy and the Mountain Lion Foundation.

Business and environmentalism dovetail for Getty and Newsom.

For example, according to a 1997 article in the San Francisco Business Times, Getty invested about $5 million in a chain of luxury ecotourism resorts in four African nations.

Newsom represented Getty’s interests in Africa and regularly made the 25-hour flight to South Africa, the Business Times reported.

And last year, the Ronald Family Trust bought the 4,500-acre Hana Ranch on the island of Maui, Hawaii, for development, pledging to keep most of it in open space.

Television celebrity Oprah Winfrey and her personal trainer, Bob Greene, bought seven lots, totaling 102 acres. But they’re leaving four lots undeveloped, including one that is the site of a cinder cone called Ka Iwi O Pele – the reputed resting place of the volcano goddess Pele.

The Reno-based trust’s holdings also include La Valencia Hotel in the heart of La Jolla in Southern California, where rates range $300 to $3,500 per night. The trust has also invested in Rancho Valencia, a resort in Rancho Santa Fe, Newsom said.

Bill Newsom’s 30-something son, Gavin Newsom, is vying to be San Francisco’s next mayor and take the place of Brown, who’s being forced out by term limits.

A recent, informal poll gave a 2-to-1 edge to Newsom, who has been a city supervisor since his 20s.

Gavin Newsom was engaged to San Francisco socialite Kelley Phleger, who in 1999 reportedly jilted him and married actor Don Johnson.

Newsom recovered and married former Victoria’s Secret lingerie model Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is an assistant district attorney in San Francisco and was a co-prosecutor in the recent high profile, dog-mauling death of Diane Whipple.

Gavin Newsom is in business with Billy Getty, Gordon Getty’s son. The two founded PlumpJack, a chain of wine shops, cafes and restaurants named after an opera written by the elder Getty about the Shakespeare character Falstaff.

A few years ago, Gordon Getty’s family threw a party for Gavin Newsom with everyone dressed according to the theme of the “Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel of wealth and power.


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