Howard Marshall III Howard Marshall III

Howard Marshall III Net Worth: The Life and Legacy of a Controversial Businessman

Howard Marshall III, born on February 6, 1936, in San Francisco, California, USA, was a prominent American businessman with a complex and controversial life. Despite being disowned by his father, J. Howard Marshall II, and facing legal battles, Marshall left a legacy in the business world. This article delves into the intriguing story of J. Howard Marshall III, his involvement in Koch Industries, his marriage to Anna Nicole Smith, and the legal dramas that followed.

Early Life and Disinheritance

Howard Marshall III was born into a wealthy family on February 6, 1936, in San Francisco, California. His father, J. Howard Marshall II, was a prominent businessman and the Chairman of Koch Industries. However, their relationship took a dramatic turn when Marshall III sided with the brother of his father’s business partner in an attempted hostile takeover of Koch Industries. This decision led to his disinheritance and severed ties with his father.

Involvement in Koch Industries

Koch Industries, founded by Fred C. Koch, became a significant part of J. Howard Marshall III’s life. In 1974, J. Howard II gave Marshall III and his brother, E. Pierce, approximately 4% stakes in the company. These shares were considered the “crown jewels” and came with the expectation that the brothers would take care of them. Over time, Marshall III accumulated a 16% stake in Koch Industries through a series of mergers and acquisitions.

The battle for control of Koch Industries among the four Koch brothers, Fred Jr., William, Charles, and David, brought further challenges to Marshall III’s involvement. In the early 1980s, after a failed corporate coup, Marshall III sold a 4% stake in Koch back to his father under duress for $8 million. Little did he know that this stake would later be worth billions of dollars.

Legal Battles and Bankruptcy

The aftermath of the battle for control of Koch Industries sparked legal dramas within the Marshall family. J. Howard II demanded that Marshall III return the 4% stake he had given him in 1974. In response, Marshall III demanded $8 million from his father for the stake. The heated disagreement resulted in J. Howard II cutting his son out of his will, claiming that $8 million was all he would receive.

After J. Howard II’s passing, Marshall III pursued legal action against his brother, E. Pierce Marshall, alleging theft. However, a jury ruled in favor of E. Pierce Marshall, and Marshall III was ordered to pay $35 million in damages. Despite the judgment being later reduced to $11 million plus legal fees, Marshall III was forced to declare bankruptcy in July 2002, citing a net worth of $26 million at the time.

Marriage to Anna Nicole Smith

Perhaps one of the most well-known aspects of J. Howard Marshall III’s life was his marriage to model and actress Anna Nicole Smith. The couple married in 1994 and were together for 14 months until Marshall III’s passing in 1995. Their marriage became the center of a highly publicized legal battle over J. Howard II’s fortune.

Upon J. Howard II’s death, both Marshall III and Anna Nicole Smith were denied access to his $1.6 billion fortune. Marshall III supported Anna Nicole in her probate action against his brother, E. Pierce Marshall. The legal battle reached the United States Supreme Court, but in March 2001, a jury ruled that neither Smith nor Marshall III had an oral agreement with J. Howard II, and they were not entitled to a share of his estate. Furthermore, the jury ordered Marshall III to pay $35 million to his brother, E. Pierce Marshall.

Legacy and Net Worth

Despite the legal battles and financial challenges, J. Howard Marshall III left a significant legacy. He was the President and Owner of MDH Industries, an electronics firm based in Monrovia, California. The business served as a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and determination.

Following E. Pierce Marshall’s death in 1995, his widow, Elaine Marshall, inherited the family’s 16% stake in Koch Industries. This stake currently gives Elaine a net worth of $20 billion, making her one of the richest women in the world.