By Mary Clarkin

The Hutchinson News

U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman, an independent from Olathe, has a net asset worth ranging from $21.5 million to $85.9 million.

The candidate's financial disclosure report recently sent to the Secretary of the Senate Office ran 38 pages long and showed investments in businesses and real estate. The filer lists investments and indicates the value by placing a check in the appropriate monetary range. The ranges are wide; thus the actual amount of a candidate or senator's wealth can only be estimated.

Orman grew up in a single-family household after his parents divorced. He was a "free lunch" student and had to stretch spaghetti sauce during his Princeton University years, according to his campaign and a business partner, Mark Schroeder, Minneapolis.

The road to wealth began when Orman started Environmental Lighting Concepts a year after graduation, while also working as a business consultant. Four years later, Kansas City Power & Light bought Environmental Lighting Concepts and Orman became president of KLT Energy Services, according to his campaign. In 2000, he became president and chief executive officer of KLT Inc., which oversaw KCPL's non-regulated business venture. He also became vice president for corporate development and strategic planning for Great Plains Energy, a holding company for KCPL and other related entities, according to the campaign.

He launched Galt Funding in 2002, for commercial lending and real estate in the Kansas City and Midwest, and Denali Partners in 2004. The latter manages a private equity fund making investments to businesses around the country, according to the campaign.

Orman formed some businesses with "Exemplar" in the name, but not every business with Exemplar in its name is an Orman enterprise, the campaign pointed out.

The report and documents from the campaign revealed:

- New Silk Route Advisors: After Rajat Gupta was convicted of insider trading and sent to prison, Orman temporarily served as Gupta's representative on the New Silk Route board. New Silk Route was not related to the insider trading case, Orman was not compensated, and Orman has stepped down, the campaign said. Orman considers Gupta "a longtime friend" and some Gupta relatives have donated to Orman's campaign.

- FRM Associates: A number of Orman-linked real estate or investment ventures are in Missouri, Minnesota, or other states in the Midwest. FRM Associates was formed primarily to renovate the old Federal Reserve Building in Minneapolis, according to documents from the campaign. Gupta was indirectly invested in the property but is no longer an investor, according to the campaign.

- Boxing, chicken and medical equipment: Orman invested in Combat Brands LLC/Ringside, which makes boxing equipment, but he also is a consultant to Heartland Chicken Inc. and formed Exemplar Medical LLC to commercialize a pedicle screw system used in spine surgeries.

- Wife Sybil Orman lists college loans taken out in 2011 before they married. She was a public school teacher until 2013 and is working on a doctorate degree.

- Orman lists vacation property at Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, held as an investment.

The Orman campaign did not view the candidate's wealth as a negative or embarrassment.

"These filings highlight Greg Orman's track record of success as a businessman, starting companies and creating jobs," said campaign manager Jim Jonas in a statement.

"Career politicians in Washington have done nothing to create jobs or help small businesses in this economy, and that's why Kansans across the political spectrum want an experienced businessman and independent problem-solver like Greg Orman to fix Washington's broken system," Jonas said.

Orman is running against three-term incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Dodge City, who has net assets that have pushed him into millionaire status.

Randall Batson, a Libertarian in Wichita, also is on the ballot.

(c)2014 The Hutchinson News