Gary Cardone: Building Businesses & Flying Private

With a background in the energy sector, and more recently cryptocurrency and blockchain, Gary Cardone – twin brother of Grant – understands the importance of Business Aviation to his success. Fabrizio Poli shares his story...

Fabrizio Poli  |  17th March 2023
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Fabrizio Poli
Fabrizio Poli

Fabrizio Poli is Senior Consultant at Orville Aviation. He is also an Airline Transport Pilot. Mr. Poli...

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Twin brothers and businessmen Grant and Gary Cardone

Gary Cardone is Grant’s twin brother. They are both multi-millionaires and enjoy the benefits of private jets. But they don’t come from a moneyed family and have followed very different career paths. Last year we covered Grant’s success story (AvBuyer, February 2022, p44), and recently we met with Gary to talk about his.

The Cardone brothers were born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the sons of stockbroker Curtis Cardone and Concetta Neil. When Gary and Grant were ten years old, they lost their father.

When he reached his mid-twenties in 1987, Gary joined the start-up Natural Gas Clearinghouse as its twelfth employee and helped pave its way to becoming Dynegy through mergers with Morgan Stanley, BG plc and Chevron, before then taking the company public.

In 1992, Gary moved to London where he spearheaded the UK’s National Balancing Point, known today as one of the most reliable energy trading hubs in the world. And over the next decade, he built two large businesses for Dynegy, becoming one of the most successful trading companies in Europe and controlling all the storage in the UK while generating $4bn in revenue per year. 

Gary sold all his stock and retired from the energy industry in 2001, predicting a decade-long unwinding of energy trading firms because of the impact of mark-to-market abuses by companies such as Enron. Returning to the United States, Gary settled in Los Angeles, California.

Branching Out

In 2008, Gary became the strategic commercial advisor to Arclight Capital, a prestigious private equity firm focused on energy infrastructure in the US and Europe, before assisting his friend and founder of AP&G, an energy wholesaler, in structuring a transaction with EDF, the largest power company in the world in 2012.

This move helped build a company that has generated $72m of net income annually for more than a decade. At the same time, Gary became a seed investor of Cardone Capital, his brother Grant’s large Real Estate investment vehicle, which is now one of the largest independent holders of multi-dwelling real estate in the US.

And in 2012, he also founded Global E-Trading and funded Chargebacks911, an anti-fraud technology company designed to resolve the $0.5tn disputes plaguing the credit card industry every year.

Chargebacks911 has since become the gold standard of all dispute firms and provides its technology to some of the largest banks and merchants in the world.

In 2016, Gary started looking into Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and he began investing and meeting other people in this new world. Last year, he formed Card1Ventures to invest in blockchain technology and digital assets (currencies), and had become the lead investor in NODE40, Inc, a financial services provider for individuals and businesses that have interacted with cryptocurrency.

With blockchain accounting being too complicated for spreadsheets and too risky for avoidance and shortcuts, NODE40 uses tax lot identification (SpecID) to track the entirety of a transaction lifecycle and create independently verifiable audit trails.

Cryptocurrency accountants can use the SOC1 audit-accredited crypto tax software to identify transaction types, reveal cost basis and calculate gains and losses to reduce risk.

The NODE40 SaaS platform is designed to aggregate all your transactional data to simplify tax reporting and blockchain compliance. It creates a verifiable audit trail for every crypto transaction automatically, so you can run reports that accurately calculate your income, gains and losses.

Business Aviation Contributes to Gary’s Success

Gary has always used private jets on and off, but the last time he flew on a scheduled airline was in 2015. Since then, he has flown exclusively by private jet, maximizing the time savings advantages and the many other benefits that Business Aviation offers.

Prior to the Covid-enforced lockdowns Gary was traveling with his family at least once or twice a month on a leased Bombardier Global Express between Tampa and Southend in England.

While his brother Grant likes to have his name on his jet and own outright, Gary’s approach to Business Aviation is more economical with a combination of fractional ownership and charter.

He is a frequent traveler who helps entrepreneurs, founders, and businesses scale in a profitable and sustainable manner, and he spends a lot of his day reading up on technology, history and politics.

Currently, Gary owns a share in a Hawker 800 in partnership with other entrepreneurs in the Tampa area. When his Hawker is flying for another partner, he charters.

Recalling a time that his business partner Monica was fresh out of a hospital operating theater and needed to get to London from Tampa to attend a crucial meeting, he chartered a Gulfstream GIV-SP.

The Flight Attendant nursed Monica throughout the flight, enabling her to rest on the trip across the Atlantic, arrive fresh, travel into London to close the deal, and return to Tampa – a trip that Gary says would simply not have been possible with the scheduled airlines.

There’s little coincidence that the more successful, productive entrepreneurs and businesspeople take advantage of Business Aviation as a productivity- enhancing tool. Gary’s story is just another testimony of that fact.

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