Chris Edgecomb, the high-flying telecom mogul whose flaunt-it-if-you’ve-got-it lifestyle gained him national fame and notoriety, died last week at age 52. Edgecomb made his first billion dollars with Star Telecom, which he started in 1997. After Star subsequently flamed out, Edgecomb invested in real estate and landed with Sirius Telecom. But what distinguished Edgecomb from other entrepreneurs who settled in Santa Barbara was his eagerness to throw a huge bash. The $7 million he spent on his star-studded, celebrity-encrusted wedding to Maryann Antell in 1999 was groundbreaking at the time. While Edgecomb gave to charities big and small, his involvement with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Council would indirectly alter Santa Barbara’s political landscape and help Bill Brown unseat an incumbent sheriff. During a Sheriff’s Council board meeting, Edgecomb was physically assaulted by a fellow boardmember — it was the “bitch slap” heard around the world. When then-Sheriff Jim Anderson did nothing, it became the focus of sustained media scrutiny, all of which undermined Anderson’s prestige to the extent he was unseated by Brown.


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