Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Paul Walker and Driver Bonded Two Years Ago Over Car They Died In


Reports say that the driver in the Paul Walker crash was former race car driver and banker Roger Rodas, who was 38 years old. Rodas was a wealth management executive for Merrill Lynch-Bank of America.

From the Merrill Lynch website, there is an irony: the pair “bonded” when they met two years ago over Rodas’s Porsche GT3, the car in which they ultimately perished.

It was at the track of a California race club that Walker met his Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor, Roger Rodas of The Rodas Group. The two struck up a conversation when Walker noticed Rodas driving a Porsche GT3 he had previously owned. Soon the two were racing side by side, as when they teamed recently with two professional drivers in a pro-am 25-hour endurance race in Thunder Hill, Calif.

As their friendship developed, Walker occasionally asked Rodas for financial advice, and they began working together formally as client and Financial Advisor in 2007. The first item on their agenda was reorganizing Walker’s portfolio, a hodgepodge of personal investments. Rodas suggested a diversified, relatively conservative portfolio of stocks, bonds, cash and alternative investments, aimed mostly at preserving capital. And because an actor’s income is sporadic, each time Walker completes another film, he and Rodas meet to re-evaluate his financial strategy to help make sure his long-term goals stay on track.

Meanwhile, Rodas helped Walker find a creative solution for maintaining his passion for cars and racing without having them become a financial burden. Maintaining and transporting his fleet requires several full-time professionals, and Walker had been funding the operation out of his own pocket. Rodas suggested an alternative: that Walker create an incorporated race shop that is bonded and insured, and that brings in income by also doing work for other drivers. “Paul said that what he saved in expenses covered all of his racing costs last year,” Rodas notes.

Meanwhile: many stories overnight noted that the event Walker and Rodas were at was a fundraiser for Philippine typhoon survivors via a charity Walker started with Rodas. But so far, Reach Out Worldwide LLC, according to its Form 990 for 2011, hadn’t actually disbursed money to anyone. It was holding $607,000 in assets.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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