Mario Gabello built his empire in 1976, when he was only 34-years-old, on a $50,000 check. He went to Branford, Conn to meet with Frederick J. Mancheski, then chairman and CEO of Echlin, Inc. and Mancheski became his first backer, The New York Times reports.

"He came in one day and said he was thinking of starting his own firm to manage money," Mancheski, now 79, said. "I told him I thought he had the know-how, and he asked me if I'd be interested in investing in it."

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