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Overworked and Underpaid?

October 31, 1994|JAMES BATES

Bill Gates may be the richest person in America, but is he also one of the most underpaid?

The latest "Crystal Report" newsletter from San Rafael-based executive compensation expert Graef S. (Bud) Crystal lists the Microsoft Corp. founder and chief executive as underpaid to the tune of about $5.4 million in 1993.

Crystal came to that conclusion by comparing how well Microsoft performed for its shareholders versus the $418,000 in direct compensation Gates received. Gates ranked 192nd among CEOs of the 200 largest companies in Crystal's compensation comparison.

Still, that was better than the 194th ranking given Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren E. Buffett, Gates' close friend and fellow billionaire. Crystal estimated that Buffett was underpaid by $6.18 million when he compared how Berkshire Hathaway did with Buffett's $305,000 in direct compensation.

Not that either executive is hurting for cash. Forbes magazine recently estimated that Gates, who just turned 39 on Friday, has built up a nest egg of at least $9.35 billion, largely through his Microsoft stock holdings. That comes to more than $650,000 accumulated for every day he's been alive.

The magazine lists Buffett in second among America's richest, with $9.2 billion.

But No 800 Number to Call

Jerry Brown is about to find out if California's real estate market is still in an era of limits.

The former California governor and presidential candidate has just listed his San Francisco home--a 101-year-old converted fire station in the fashionable Pacific Heights section--for $1.4 million.

The home is described by officials at San Francisco-based McGuire Real Estate, which is marketing the home as having about 3,600 square feet, although that includes a garage.

The home has only one bedroom, but there is a studio in the back that could be converted into a guest house.

It also features 10-foot high entrances, ceilings as high as 14 feet, a bell tower and two fire poles. A flagpole sits in front with a mailbox attached to it.

Brown bought the house five years ago. No word on where he's moving.

Used to Court Appearances

Testifying in the federal criminal trial of former Columbia Savings & Loan Chief Executive Thomas Spiegel last week was Kenneth Heitz, former chief attorney for the now-defunct Beverly Hills thrift.

Heitz was well known in Los Angeles in the late 1960s as a UCLA basketball star who played on three of Coach John Wooden's national championship teams.

Heitz played alongside legendary basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, known then as Lew Alcindor, who, until 1992, held the school's all-time scoring record for 23 years.

Before beginning his cross-examination last Friday in the Los Angeles trial, Spiegel attorney Brad Brian said to Heitz: "Let me ask the questions that everyone is dying to know: Which UCLA teams did you play for, and were you the top scorer?"

Heitz said he played for the Bruins from 1965 to 1969. "That was the team (that) Kareem played for," Heitz said, "which I think answers your second question."

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