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Forbes, Capitalist Ghoul, Makes Gift from the Grave

March 9, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ The late Malcolm Forbes left orders to give all Forbes Inc. employees an extra week’s pay, a break on personal loans and some free advice on what to do with the money: ″enjoy it 3/8″

Steve Forbes, Forbes’ son and successor as editor in chief of Forbes magazine and chief executive officer of the corporation, told staffers Thursday that ″in accordance with my father’s wishes″ the company was giving each of them an extra week’s pay and forgiving all debts up to $10,000.

″As Pop put it, ’Like a lottery, it’s pure chance as to who benefits,‴ his son wrote in a letter to employees, referring to the loan amnesty.

″As for the extra pay,″ Forbes added, ″his advice should be no surprise: enjoy it 3/8″

Don Garson, a magazine spokesman, said the bequest surprised staffers at the Forbes Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

″I didn’t find out about it until you called me, and I’m the P.R. man here,″ he said in a telephone interview. ″But it was something he (Malcolm) had made clear to the kids.″

Garson said the debt amnesty was particularly generous because Forbes employees of more than a year’s experience are able to borrow money from the company at relatively low interest rates. He said that many of the magazine’s 750 employees had taken such loans.

Asked about those thrifty souls who had not, Garson laughed and said: ″I’m sure many of us here are saying, ’Damn it, why didn’t I borrow something?‴

Garson said he was told the Forbes family would have no comment on Malcolm Forbes’ bequest. ″The letter speaks for itself,″ he said.

He said the gift was in character for Forbes, who ″always had the attitude that the employees were giving to him, rather than the other way around.″

Forbes was 70 when he died Feb. 24 of a heart attack at his estate in New Jersey. Estimates of his wealth ranged into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In London, a British magazine Thursday published what it touted as Forbes’ last interview, in which he spoke of his good health.

″I don’t think this life is for hibernating and getting ready for the next one. I think you are given it for a purpose and that is to live it. Live while you are alive 3/8″ Forbes was quoted as saying in Hello 3/8 magazine.

Forbes spoke enthusiastically about his next adventure to Brazil in a hot air balloon during the interview at his South London home on Feb. 23, and about his love of motorcycles.

″I am very lucky to have the health to do all this because that you can’t buy,″ he was quoted as saying. ″I would just like to stay around a while and keep doing more of the things I am doing 3/8″

The magazine included seven color photographs of Forbes in his London house and earlier pictures from Forbes’ 70th birthday bash in August in Morocco.


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