David Rubenstein, a Baltimore native and Maryland resident with a net worth of about $4 billion, is part of a group that has agreed to buy the Baltimore Orioles for $1.725 billion, sources confirmed to The Baltimore Banner on Tuesday.

New York businessman Michael Arougheti and Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. are also part of the group.

In early December, as the Orioles and the state were hammering out a deal for a lease extension at Camden Yards, a Bloomberg report emerged saying Rubenstein was in talks to acquire the ballclub, which was cited by the key political figure who expressed reservations about the agreement.

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A lease was finalized on Dec. 18.

The Orioles are owned by 94-year-old Peter Angelos and operated by his son John Angelos, the designated “control person” by Major League Baseball due to the elder Angelos’ declining health. Peter Angelos’ wife, Georgia, oversees the family’s assets. The Angelos family owns 70% of the franchise.

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So who is Rubenstein? And why is he interested in the Orioles?

From blue-collar childhood to business mogul

Rubenstein, the son of a World War II veteran-turned-postal worker and a homemaker, grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore.

“I was literally 12 or 13 before I realized that everybody in the world isn’t Jewish,” he told Washingtonian magazine in 2006.

He attended Baltimore City College, where he was a member of the Lancers Boys Club, a community service group that, among other activities, hosted dignitaries for speeches. Kurt Schmoke, a classmate at City who would go on to become Baltimore’s first elected Black mayor in 1987, was a fellow member.

“He was very, very quiet,” Schmoke told The New Yorker in 2016. “He liked to talk about government and politics — not so much about business.”

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Although his mother hoped he would become a dentist, Rubenstein went to Duke University to study political science before going to the University of Chicago for law school.

He got his start in a New York law firm before working as a deputy domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter at the age of 27. Rubenstein was known for working long hours, with Newsweek dubbing him the “White House Workaholic” in 1978 and reporting he was the second person to arrive at the West Wing after Carter and typically one of the last to leave.

Following Carter’s defeat in 1980 and a brief return to practicing law, Rubenstein made the jump to private equity. In 1987, he and four others founded The Carlyle Group, named after the hotel in New York where they had their initial meetings.

“Carlyle sounded kind of British, and it sounded kind of — maybe not aristocratic, but it sounded like you had been around for awhile, when we really hadn’t been around; we were new,” Rubenstein said of the company’s name in a 2015 profile on “60 Minutes.”

Two Baltimore money management companies, T. Rowe Price and Alex. Brown & Sons, were among the backers that gave Carlyle its initial investment of $5 million when it opened its offices in Washington, D.C.

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Using a technique called a leveraged buyout, where a business is acquired primarily with borrowed money, Carlyle started buying companies, cutting costs or making improvements, and selling the businesses at a profit. Early on, the firm developed a reputation for acquiring defense industry contractors, though it eventually moved on to consumer brands such as Dunkin’, Beats Electronics and Hertz.

Carlyle has since grown into one of the largest private equity firms in the world. The company says it manages $382 billion in assets.

The Carlyle Group hasn’t been without controversy. Its employment of former high-ranking officials led to accusations that the company had outsized influence on the federal government (Rubenstein has dismissed the idea as “absurd.”) One such example: Former president George H.W. Bush worked at the firm while his son, George W. Bush, was in the White House. On Sept. 11, 2001, the group hosted an investor conference with Shafig bin Laden, a half-brother of Osama bin Laden, as a guest of honor (both sides agreed to sever financial ties a short time later). Residents at mobile home parks have expressed concerns after the company purchased properties and increased rent on the land the homes sit on.

Rubenstein stepped down as co-CEO in 2017 and launched Declaration Partners with his family. He hosts two shows on Bloomberg Television, “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” and “Wealth with David Rubenstein,” where he interviews business leaders and other noteworthy figures.

His current net worth is $3.7 billion, according to Forbes, making him one of the 800 richest people in the world. Bloomberg estimates he’s worth $4.6 billion.

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National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis (L), and co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group David Rubenstein (R) look out of the window at the 500-foot level of the Washington Monument after a reopening ceremony on May 12, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A history buff practicing ‘patriotic philanthropy’

Rubenstein is an admirer of American history. He’s written four books, including one that touches on the country’s ideals through conversations with public figures and another where American leaders are explored in conversations with the historians who have studied them — “The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream” and “The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians,” respectively. In addition to his shows on Bloomberg, he hosts “History with David Rubenstein” and “Iconic America: Our Symbols and Stories with David Rubenstein” on PBS.

“When you learn the history of these things, it does make you realize how little you really know,” Rubenstein said in a Washington Post interview about the latter show, which premiered in 2023 and explores famous American locations, artifacts and icons. “And that’s really what I had in mind, just educating people more about the country’s history and making people open their minds about things they didn’t know about.”

Over the years, he’s become well known for using his considerable wealth toward what’s been called “patriotic philanthropy.” When the Washington Monument in D.C. suffered $15 million in damages from an earthquake in 2011, Rubenstein covered half the cost of repairs. He paid $21.3 million for one of the last privately held copies of the Magna Carta — the 13th century English charter that is the bedrock for many of America’s founding documents — and spent millions more to build a center to house the relic in the National Archives.

He’s made donations helping museums, landmarks and historic homes, such as the Lincoln Memorial, Mount Vernon, the Library of Congress and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Asked by “60 Minutes” correspondent Morley Safer if his very public acts of giving required a certain amount of “chutzpah,” Rubenstein replied: “Maybe I have a character flaw and I haven’t done it as anonymously ... because I’m trying to say to people: ‘I came from very modest circumstances and look what I was able to do. You can do the same thing.’”

In August 2010, Rubenstein became one of the first people to sign on to the Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates to encourage wealthy people to donate a majority of their fortunes.

Why the Orioles?

Rubenstein’s ties to the region are deep and he has given back to both the D.C. and Baltimore communities. His philanthropy includes $4.5 million to the National Zoo for a panda habitat and $15 million to the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins for research.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” he told the University of Chicago Law School in 2010 after donating $10 million to fund scholarships. “Whatever I can give back will be only a modest repayment for my good fortune.”

He’s also chairman of the boards of the Kennedy Center and the National Gallery of Art.

As for sports, Rubenstein can count Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, former baseball slugger-turned-part-NBA-owner Alex Rodriguez and Nike founder Phil Knight among his guests on Bloomberg, and he interviewed tennis legend Billie Jean King for “The American Story.”

In one episode of “Iconic America,” Rubenstein traveled to Fenway Park, home of MLB’s Boston Red Sox, where he toured the stadium and pretended to hit a home run over the fabled Green Monster.

“Ever since I was a kid, I loved baseball,” he said in the episode’s opening narration. “I played Little League growing up in Baltimore, but I’ve always wanted to come to Boston to see Fenway Park.”

He later lamented how his mom threw out his baseball card collection after he went off to college.

“I had perfect baseball cards, I even kept all the bubble gum. I had everything, it was intact,” he recalled. “But anyway, she didn’t realize how valuable it was.”

Rubenstein has been connected to multiple local teams. In 2022, he and Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Wizards, Mystics and Capitals, considered a potential bid to buy the Nationals. Leonsis reportedly offered more than $2 billion to buy the Nationals, but the Lerners, the family that owns the team, did not accept it.

Rubenstein and Leonsis also expressed interest in buying the Orioles, telling key backers in August 2022 that they would consider a bid if the team was put up for sale.