Todd Ricketts is expected to be Donald Trump’s pick for deputy commerce secretary.
Ricketts is a wealthy businessman who comes from a family worth over $1 billion and who has donated to Republican candidates in the past. He joins a string of extremely rich cabinet appointees including Betsy DeVos, Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross.
Here’s everything you need to know about the next deputy commerce secretary of the United States.
1. He is the Co-Owner of the Chicago Cubs
Todd Ricketts is the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, running the team along with his brother, Thomas Ricketts, who bought the Cubs in 2009. According to Chicago Breaking News, the Ricketts family paid about $900 million for the team. Thomas serves as the chairman and owner, but Todd sits on the board.
Todd Ricketts made some news earlier this year when he appeared at a Cubs fan convention and talked about how much he hates the Mets.
“I don’t know if you guys know this, but Mets fans are really, really obnoxious,” Ricketts said, according to CSN Chicago. He added that his wife, Sylvie, also dislikes the team.
Ricketts actually appeared in a 2010 episode of Undercover Boss, where he sold hot dogs, picked up garbage and cleaned the bathrooms at Wrigley Field. He said in an interview that the job was quite difficult.
“We have 41,000 people use those bathrooms, and they have to be cleaned by the next morning,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “That doesn’t happen magically, and fans expect it. It just has to get done. And no one thinks about who those guys are who do that, but they’re there working their tails off…It was hot sweaty work, and those guys have a pace. They move pretty quickly.”
2. His Family’s Net Worth is $1 Billion
Forbes estimates that the Ricketts family as a whole is worth approximately $1 billion. This is largely because Todd’s father, Joe Ricketts, is the founder of TD Ameritrade, an online broker based out of Nebraska.
The Rickett family wasn’t always wealthy, though. Joe Ricketts was born to a carpenter and small business man, and he worked as a janitor in college in order to pay for his tuition, according to Chicago Mag. He married and had children when he was in his early 20s, and so Joe had to go to school part time. He worked as a credit analyst for Dun & Bradstreet, and he went on to found his own business in 1975.
“We definitely were the poor family in the neighborhood,” Todd Ricketts told Chicago Mag. “I tell people that one of the reasons I have a bike shop today is that I never had a bike as a kid.”
Todd Rickets has three siblings: Thomas S. Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs; Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Cubs and board member of Lambda Legal, an LGBT civil rights organization; and Pete Ricketts, the current governor of Nebraska.
3. He Fought Against Donald Trump During the Republican Primaries
Todd Ricketts is the second member of Donald Trump’s cabinet who actively fought against his nomination earlier this year, the first being incoming U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
During the Republican presidential primary, Ricketts supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, donating to Walker’s campaign. After Walker dropped out of the race, Ricketts didn’t officially throw his support behind any other candidate, but he did donate $5.5 million to Our Principles PAC, a political action committee dedicated to preventing Donald Trump from being the Republican party’s nominee.
After this donation, Trump went after the Rickett family on Twitter, saying that they have a lot to hide and telling them to “be careful.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said that when he said that the Ricketts better be careful, he meant that he would run negative ads against them accusing them of doing a poor job running the Chicago Cubs.
“Well, it means that I’ll start spending on them,” Trump said. “I’ll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they’re doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me. I mean, so am I allowed to say that? I’ll start doing ads about their baseball team. That it’s not properly run or that they haven’t done a good job in the brokerage business lately.”
Trump never ran any such ads. Todd Ricketts later said in an interview that he has no idea why Trump seems to think his family has something to hide.
“Look, if we had something to hide, you guys [the Chicago media] would’ve found it by now, I’m sure,” Ricketts told CSN Chicago. “I have no idea.”
However, Ricketts ended up backing Donald Trump once he received the Republican nomination, donating to pro-Trump super PACs.
4. He’s the CEO of a Conservative Super PAC
Outside of donating money to campaigns, Todd Picketts also runs a political action committee of his own, a conservative PAC called the Ending Spending Super PAC.
According to its website, this PAC is dedicated to educating Americans about wasteful government spending.
“In this troubled economy, now is the time to regain control of government spending, balance the budget, pay down the national debt, and restore fiscal responsibility in Washington, D.C.,” the group’s website reads. “We believe our elected representatives must end the practice of mortgaging the economic futures of our children and grandchildren to pay for present-day spending.”
The Ending Spending Super PAC says that it is non-partisan, on its website quoting both Democratic and Republican politicians who have spoken about trying to reduce government spending. However, according to OpenSecrets.org, the PAC has not donated to any Democrats in the past four elections. During the 2016 election, it raised $6.8 million for Republican candidates and spent $4.7 million fighting Democratic candidates. It also spent $3.9 million fighting Republican candidates, but no money was donated to Democratic candidates.
5. He Lives in Wilmette With His Wife, Sylvie Ricketts
Todd Ricketts lives in Wilmette, Illinois with his wife, Sylvie Ricketts, according to Chicago Mag. They were married in 2000, and the two of them operate the Higher Gear bike shop in Wilmette, as the couple shares a passion for biking. In addition to operating the shop, Sylvie started a weekly women’s riding program an an annual cycling clinic there.
“Through the clinic, we want women to be more confident on their bikes, and we’re trying to get more women to participate in races and become really active in the sport,” she said, according to Higher Gear Chicago.
The two are also involved in charities like Opportunity Education and the dZi Foundation.
“The key to our relationship is having zero expectations when it comes to traditional roles,” Todd Rickets told Higher Gear Chicago. “We both do whatever it takes to get through the day. There’s not one person who takes out the garbage or mows the lawn. And I make an effort to get home by 5pm at the latest every day.”
Sylvie is also the co-founder of The Policy Circle, a 501(c)(3) organization which hopes to bring women together to discuss policy ideas, specifically “the core principle that free market practices and policies create greater opportunities,” although the group says that it is non-partisan.
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