Warren Buffett watch: Fieldhouse for north Omaha boys will bear the Buffett name

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Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 1:52 am, Tue May 20, 2014.

Warren Buffett's cousin Fritz shot hoops for Omaha Central High School and in college and ran marathons as an adult.

Starting in May, younger athletes will exercise their skills in the Fred C. Buffett Fieldhouse, the centerpiece of the NorthStar Foundation's after-school facility for north Omaha boys being built at 49th Street and Ames Avenue.

The fieldhouse will be named for Fred “Fritz” Buffett thanks to a donation by his widow, Pamela Buffett, and the Rebecca Susan Buffett Foundation, which is named after the couple's late daughter.

“This fieldhouse is named for a wonderful, principled, generous man,” Pamela Buffett said in a statement to The World-Herald, adding that the fieldhouse and NorthStar's mission “would be very dear to Fred's heart.”

The contribution amount was not disclosed, but it represents a significant part of the $13.8 million goal of NorthStar's capital and endowment fund drive. The campaign is within $2 million of the goal and is on target, said NorthStar President Scott Hazelrigg.

Fred Buffett was a delivery boy for the family's Dundee grocery store when he met Pamela Bartling, who was the regular baby sitter for Warren Buffett's children in the 1950s.

The couple married and moved to the Chicago area and held onto their early investments with Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Fred Buffett died from kidney cancer in 1997. Pamela Buffett also is the lead donor for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, now under construction on the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus.

In his final days, he had encouraged his wife to start a “boys club” for at-risk youths in Chicago.

“There is nothing more humbling than to hear the story of someone who had a vision for what NorthStar seeks to do, years before we were even established,” Hazelrigg said.

Warren Buffett never seems to tire of talking about the ovarian lottery, his term for the random selection of humans to be born in a favorable economic, political and social situation or not.

He told graduate business students on a recent visit to Omaha that his political views were shaped by the good lottery “ticket” he received in life, according to Joe Weisenthal, who shared the discussion on Business Insider.

“You want more and more output because you'll have more wealth to share around,” Buffett told the students. “...You don't want anyone to be left behind. You want to incentivize the top performers, don't want equality in results, but do want something that those who get the bad tickets still have a decent life. You also don't want fear in people's minds — fear of lack of money in old age, fear of cost of health care. ... We can't let people fall too far behind.”

Matthew Rose's move from CEO to executive chairman of Berkshire-owned BNSF Railway is renewing speculation that he is a potential future Berkshire CEO, Reuters reported.

The railroad now has a CEO in place in case Rose, 54, ever shifts to Berkshire.

Of course Buffett, 83, isn't going anywhere and isn't saying who might succeed him, only that the issue is well in hand.

“Buffett has a track record of retaining good executives for long periods of times, and this will potentially free up Matt Rose to assist with other projects with Berkshire as warranted,” said James Armstrong, a Pittsburgh investment manager who invests in Berkshire.

“Rose is likely on the short list to become CEO,” Armstrong said.

Other potential candidates, the story says, include insurance executive Ajit Jain, MidAmerican Energy CEO Greg Abel and portfolio manager Ted Weschler.

H.J. Heinz Co. expects its severance expenses to reach $300 million in the fiscal year that started in late April, Bloomberg reported from the company's latest securities filing. That exceeds a previous estimate of $140 million.

Heinz, which is half-owned by Berkshire but managed by the other owner, 3G Capital, has cut 2,000 jobs, out of 32,000 total, for an annual savings of $250 million, the filing said.

Berkshire receives about $720 million a year in preferred stock dividends from its $8 billion investment in the company, a 9 percent return, Bloomberg reported.

Seven more wealthy people have signed the Giving Pledge and plan to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates started the nonbinding pledge, now signed by 122 individuals and couples, to encourage the world's wealthiest people to support charities. The latest signers:

Beth and Seth Klarman (Seth Klarman is president and CEO of the Baupost Group investment organization); Liz and Eric Lefkofsky (Eric Lefkofsky is CEO and founder of Groupon Inc. and co-founder of Lightbank, a Chicago venture capital firm); Richard Edwin and Nancy Peery Marriott (Richard Marriott is chairman of Host Hotels & Resorts);

Yuri Milner, founder of Mail.ru Group, a European Internet company; Bob and Renee Parsons (Bob Parsons is the founder of GoDaddy); Dato' Sri DR Tahir, an entrepreneur in Indonesia; and Hansjorg Wyss, chairman emeritus of Synthes Inc., a medical device company sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2012.

The Omaha World-Herald is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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