Donald Trump’s private equity brain trust: Part II


Sister title WSJ Pro Private Equity has profiled nearly a dozen current and former dealmakers with ties to the Trump campaign who could be poised to help shape the next administration’s agenda. This second installment of a two-part series spotlights six of those individuals.

Ray Washburne
Chief executive of Charter Holdings
Dallas businessman Ray Washburne, a finance vice-chair of Trump’s inaugural committee and reportedly in the running for interior secretary, is chief executive of Charter Holdings, which invests in private equity, real estate and restaurants. A major Republican fundraiser, he also managed finances for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s presidential run.

Charter Holdings owns MCrowd Restaurant Group, which includes Mexican cuisine chains Taco Diner and Mi Cocina as well as upscale Texas eatery The Mercury. His firm also owns Highland Park Village, an upscale Dallas shopping mall.

Thomas Barrack Jr
Founder and executive chairman of Colony Capital
Chairman of the presidential inaugural committee, Thomas Barrack Jr, who founded Los Angeles distressed real-estate and private equity firm Colony Capital, is a familiar face on the Trump team, having been a major fundraiser for the candidate and a speaker at the Republican National Convention. The two men have personal and professional ties stretching more than three decades and have worked on a number of real-estate deals together, beginning in 1988, when Barrack negotiated the sale of the Plaza Hotel in New York to Trump.

As with Trump, Barrack’s interests spill over from real estate into show business. He was chairman of film studio Miramax, which an investor group led by Colony acquired in 2010 and sold in June, and his firm also owns a stake in Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Alongside his friend, actor Rob Lowe, he created a fund to invest in entertainment properties, and in 2010, bailed out photographer Annie Liebovitz with a $ 24 million debt deal through Colony.

William Hagerty IV
Founder and managing director of Hagerty Peterson & Co
William Hagerty, the director for presidential appointments for transition planning, is considered by some to be closer to the Republican establishment than many in Trump’s inner circle. Hagerty is an old hand on presidential transitions, having served in the same position for the planned succession of Mitt Romney, whom he had known since early in their careers in finance. Hagerty also was the national finance chairman for Romney’s 2008 presidential bid, a policy adviser to President George H.W. Bush and, until 2015, commissioner of economic development for his home state of Tennessee.

After leaving the Bush White House staff, Hagerty began his career in private equity with Trident Capital, where he helped launch early online mapping company MapQuest, before co-founding private equity firm and merchant bank Hagerty Peterson & Co.

Lewis Eisenberg
Co-founder of Granite Capital International Group
After Trump stopped self-financing his campaign, Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Lewis Eisenberg became a major fundraising force for the presidential contender. The co-founder of investment firm Granite Capital International Group was tapped to lead the “Trump Victory” fund and worked closely with Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s campaign finance chair, to build the fundraising apparatus.

Eisenberg is a longtime friend of Henry Kravis and George Roberts, the two cousins who co-founded KKR. He was tapped in 2009 as a senior adviser to the private equity firm. Eisenberg was chair of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. He became a board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp, which was created to rebuild lower Manhattan in the aftermath of September 11.

Elliott Broidy
Chief executive of Broidy Capital Management
Elliott Broidy is chief executive of his namesake Los Angeles investment firm, Broidy Capital Management, and a finance vice chairman of the presidential inaugural committee for Trump. He has sat on the board of governors for the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit group that aims to forge ties between the business communities of California and Israel.

He founded Markstone Capital, an Israeli-focused private equity firm, in 2002, but resigned from the firm in 2009. He came under scrutiny when then New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo conducted probes into pension pay-to-play schemes. In 2009, Broidy reached a civil settlement with the New York Attorney General’s office for providing free travel and other perks to state officials to reward commitments of pension money to Markstone Capital. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of attempting to reward official misconduct.

Thomas Hicks Jr
Partner at Hicks Holdings
Thomas Hicks Jr is a partner at Hicks Holdings, the Dallas family office launched by his father, the elder Thomas Hicks who was the co-founder of leveraged buyout firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst.

Known as Tommy, Hicks is a longtime friend to some of Trump’s children, said a person familiar with the matter. He volunteered for a role in the presidential campaign after Trump emerged as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, the person said. Hicks was national finance co-chair of Donald J Trump for President, the presidential campaign organisation, and is a finance vice chair on the presidential inauguration committee.

Hicks has been at Hicks Holdings since its launch in 2005. The family office held stakes in the Texas Rangers baseball club and other sports businesses about a decade ago, but has shifted into other sectors, investing in companies such as Just Brakes, a car-maintenance business, and H-D Advanced Manufacturing, which makes precision-engineered parts.

Write to Chris Cumming at and Dawn Lim at

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