The legendary oilman and philanthropist entertained celebrities and plotted billion-dollar conquests around his conference table, which has a new home.
T. Boone Pickens’ massive conference table has found a stately new home — literally.
For the last 14 years of his life, the legendary oilman and philanthropist plotted conquests, hosted celebrities and listened to pitches from major politicians seated around a handmade, 24-by-5-foot table.
He made — and lost — billions while seated there.
George W. and Jeb Bush, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Condoleezza Rice, Jerry Jones, Dez Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, Ebby Halliday, Garth Brooks and Ted Turner were among the high-profilers who sat at the power table.
The four-pedestal behemoth with inlaid golden cherry and walnut wood was dismantled Tuesday and sent on its way to Oklahoma’s state capitol — along with its 22 manly brown leather armchairs.
Fort Worth businessman Gary Humphreys and his wife, Claudia, bought the set in June and donated it to Oklahoma State University. In turn, Pickens’ beloved alma mater loaned it to the governor’s Cabinet Room for the next decade.
You might say I brokered the deal, even though I didn’t make a commission.
I wrote a column in May about how Pickens wanted to sell the conference ensemble.
“Sure, I like the table, but it’s a little large for my needs now, don’t you think?” Pickens said in the last of our many interviews.
Pickens, who was 91, died of natural causes last month at his home in Dallas.
Pickens figured he’d spent about $75,000 on the table and chairs. He wanted at least $25,000 for the lot, and he urged someone to buy it and the history that came with it.
That struck a chord with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who recalls sitting at it.
The morning my column ran, Jay Rosser, Pickens’ longtime chief of staff, got a text from the governor to the north, who said he’d love to have the table for his Cabinet Room that’s being renovated.
Separately, Humphreys, co-founder and CEO of Vista Proppants and Logistics LLC, read the column and offered to buy the set for $30,000 so that he could donate it to Oklahoma State University.
Boone’s parting deal
Pickens negotiated bringing all those parties together.
“It was the last deal Boone made before his death,” Rosser said. “Clearly Boone liked the idea of having his conference table so proudly displayed at the capitol, where undoubtedly many leaders from both OSU and rival OU will be hashing out critical state issues.”
OSU President Burns Hargis said the university is delighted to have acted as the conduit between Cowboy alumni Pickens, Humphreys and Gov. Stitt in “placing this historic piece from Boone Pickens’ legendary career in the Oklahoma State Capitol.”
And Stitt is thrilled to have it.
“T. Boone Pickens is a successful entrepreneur, proud Oklahoman and generous philanthropist who has made a significant contribution through job creation and economic growth in our great state,” Stitt said in a statement. “Residing in the State Capitol, this table will be a signature piece to host Oklahoma’s thought leaders, decision-makers and delegates from around the nation as they shape today’s policies and continue to make history.”
I’m pretty sure Pickens will be eavesdropping from above.