Businessweek finds Bezo's estranged biological father in AZ

2013-10-14T00:00:00Z Businessweek finds Bezo's estranged biological father in AZBy Paul Giblin The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
October 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

GLENDALE — Glendale bicycle shop owner Ted Jorgensen, who learned nearly a year ago that he is the biological father of Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, has had no contact with the Internet entrepreneur since a reporter told him about the connection late last year.

Jorgensen and stepsons Darin and Todd Fala, who were at Road Runner Bike Center on Friday, declined comment, but distributed a three-paragraph statement that briefly recounted the family ties that are more fully explained in the cover story of the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.

The magazine article, “Secret Amazon” by Businessweek reporter Brad Stone, is an excerpt from his book, “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” which is set to be released Tuesday and was selling for $16.80 on Amazon.com on Friday.

Jorgensen says in his statement that he had regular contact with his son until the boy was 3 years old, then reluctantly agreed to allow his former wife Jacklyn’s new husband, Mike Bezos, to adopt the boy.

“This has been a decision that I have regretted my whole life,” Jorgensen says in the statement. “Jacklyn asked me to not try and contact Jeff as they were going to raise Jeff as their own, and I stated that I would respect her wishes.”

More than four decades later, Stone approached Jorgensen in the small bike shop, which is in a strip mall near 67th Avenue and Happy Valley Road. After verifying Jorgensen was Bezos’ biological father, Stone told him that a lot of people were looking for him.

“This was the first time that I learned that Jeff knew that I existed and had knowledge of his adoption. Had I known that Jeff learned of his adoption at an earlier age, I would have taken steps to locate him,” Jorgensen says in the statement.

“While I have no expectations of Jeff, I am hopeful (as any father would be) that I can begin a relationship with Jeff again, and do not want to make any other statements until I have had the opportunity to do so,” he says.

Jorgensen and Jacklyn Gise were married in 1963, and Jacklyn gave birth to the boy two weeks after her 17th birthday in 1964, in New Mexico, where they lived. When the boy was 17 months old, they filed for divorce.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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