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For the week of Feb. 23 through Feb. 29, 2000

A very private person

Editor, Idaho Mountain Express

Earl HoldingPerhaps not as elusive as the late Howard Hughes, billionaire Robert Earl Holding nevertheless wraps himself in a cloak of privacy that has allowed few glimpses into his business and personal life. One of the nation’s most successful entrepreneurs, his empire includes the Sun Valley Co. and other ski resorts and ranches throughout the West.

On Sunday, Feb. 13, The Salt Lake Tribune published a three-story package exploring Holding’s personal history—including a rare interview— his political muscle and his dealings with Forest Service employees who were working on a federal land exchange for his Snowbasin Ski Area in Utah, an important venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

"Is Holding an influence peddler enriching himself on the backs of the taxpayers, as critics contend?" asked James Shelledy, the Salt Lake Tribune editor, in an introduction to the stories by writers Christopher Smith and Guy Boulton. "Or is he a savvy, hardworking businessman creating amenities to benefit all of Utah, as admirers maintain? There is no simple answer…"

This story package was reprinted with permission of The Salt Lake Tribune.


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