Taxes: $21 Million Mystery Man

For a while, they liked to listen to John A. T. Galvin around San Francisco. He often regaled cocktail parties with fascinating tales of his past. Such as the time he bought a shipload of calcium compound in the Orient and made huge profits selling it to natives as a remedy for diarrhea. Or the time he cornered the Malayan tin market. Or the time he interviewed Mao Tse-tung as an adventuring reporter in China during the '30s.

But Galvin never really got down to details about his fortune, estimated at $150 million. He moved to...

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