Elon Musk wanted to entrust charitable distribution of his fortune to a 30-something former pro gambler with no experience in philanthropy, according to a winding narrative published Saturday by The Wall Street Journal.
Late last year, Musk increasingly relied on advice from 34-year-old Igor Kurganov, a self-described college dropout who had a multimillion-dollar career in professional gambling years before he met Musk.
The Journal reported that Kurganov is currently not with Musk’s foundation, but not before several years years of increasingly close contact, including Musk giving Kurganov a job at his foundation and pledging him over $5 billion to invest in charitable ends.
The two “chatted late into the night” about how Musk could employ a giving strategy known as “effective altruism,” the Journal reported. According to the approach, relative charitable need and other subjective qualities can be quantified. It has yet to take hold because many experts say it applies a detached, utilitarian approach to complex moral debacles.
Jared Birchall, a straight-laced 48-year-old Mormon who leads Musk’s family office as well as his brain chip implant firm Neuralink, was concerned.
When Musk told Birchall he wanted Kurganov—who once said on a podcast that smoking too much pot caused him to drop out of college—to take over his $230 billion fortune and spearhead charitable giving, Birchall responded, “Elon, you can’t,” according to the Journal.
While Kurganov advised Musk until about six weeks ago, he never took control of Musk’s entire fortune. For more on the tangled tale—including references to Burning Man, recording artist Grimes, and an alleged inquiry into Kurganov by the FBI