Sam Walton and his brother James “Bud” Walton co-founded Wal-Mart in 1962. The company’s first store broke ground on July 2, 1962, in Rogers, Arkansas. That small store turned into an empire. Today, there are more than 10,000 Walmart locations across the world. The company generated $572.8 billion in revenue last year.
Today the extended Waltons heirs are among the richest people on the planet, and collectively they are likely the richest family in the world.
Naturally, if you’re a Walton heir all that wealth leads to some very nice perks. For example, you can name stadiums and arenas after your children. Even at schools they never attended.
Elizabeth Paige Laurie (who goes by Paige) was born in 1982. She is the granddaughter of Bud Walton and daughter Nancy Walton Laurie. Nancy met her husband Bill Laurie while they were both in college at the University of Missouri.
In 2001, Nancy and Bill donated $25 million to the University of Missouri to pay for the construction of a new sports arena. According to the terms of their donation, the sports arena was to be named after their daughter Paige Laurie. Specifically the stadium was set to be called:
The Paige Sports Arena
You might assume, since her parents were alums and they were looking to name a stadium after her, that Paige was either a student OR also an alum of the University of Missouri. That’s not the case. At the time of the donation Paige was actually a student at the University of Southern California.
It was a bit of an odd move. Paige went to school at the University of Southern California. If you have even a rudimentary knowledge of geography, you’ll note Southern California is not close to Missouri. Still, since the Walton Laurie family donated a third of the arena’s costs, they earned the right to name it.
But Paige’s shining star lasted for a mere three regular-season basketball games in October and November 2004.
Shortly after the arena opened, Laurie’s former USC roommate Elena Martinez told ABC’s 20/20 that she had written term papers and completed homework assignments for Laurie. The Walmart heiress paid Martinez $20,000 to do all of that homework. During the interview, Martinez said she dropped out of USC because tuition was too expensive. However, she learned a lot by doing Laurie’s classwork, so she still got some value out of college.
In the wake of the scandal, the University of Missouri dropped Paige’s name from its arena. It’s now simply called Mizzou Arena.
Less than a year later, Laurie, who received a bachelor’s degree from the USC Annenberg School for Communication in May 2004, didn’t even have a diploma from her former school. According to a statement from the school at the time, Laurie “voluntarily has surrendered her degree and returned her diploma to the university” and is no longer considered a graduate of USC.
Another fun anecdote about Paige involves a shopping center in Malibu and her ex-husband Patrick.
Paige was married to a guy named Patrick for around six years. Their divorce proceedings commenced in the middle of 2014. In his spousal support request Patrick sought $400,000 per month. He claimed at the time Paige was earning $872,000 per month passively just from stock dividends alone!
In 2011 Paige bought a shopping center in Malibu called Trancas. She put Patrick in charge of managing a major overhaul. During their divorce, Paige accused Patrick of funneling money out of the shopping center to enrich himself. She claims he was originally meant to earn $15,000 per month to manage a construction project at the mall. Patrick then allegedly increased his monthly fee to $75,000. Oh and that was on top of a flat $250,000 he was already being paid to oversee everything at Trancas.
It’s unclear how exactly the divorce was settled. I assume it wasn’t cheap.