Among his targets was Crusader Savings which he later sold to Royal Bank of Pennsylvania for seventeen million dollars. He was credited with significantly increasing the bank's income, although has been criticized for his methods. The bank's income increased significantly through the use of payday loans which charge high interest rates and are under fire in a number of states. The Office of Thrift Supervision, one of the country's bank regulators, later expressed concerns over several of the bank's businesses, including the payday lending business.
In the 1990s, he acquired the Maryland Life Insurance Company, which he later sold to UnitedHealth Group and gaining over twenty million dollars. After the acquisition, he became the Chief Executive Officer of UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania, a UHG subsidiary. He resigned his position in 2006 in order to run for mayor.
In December 2006, he announced his campaign for mayor and lent five million dollars to his campaign. In response to criticism that he was trying to buy City Hall, Knox replied that he was trying to "buy City Hall back for the people of Philadelphia". Thanks to his cash advantage, Knox was one of the first candidates to go on the air with television commercials. The early advertising, which attacked city corruption and high business taxes, proved to be significant in raising Knox's poll numbers from 1% to 25%, placing him in first place for the first time in March 2007.
Knox's business practices have come under increasing criticism during the campaign. The Philadelphia Daily News reported that his insurance company was fined $125,000 in Maryland for a number of violations including hiring a compliance officer who had a felony record for embezzlement. In addition, other candidates have attacked his lack of experience in government and the payday loan practices of his bank. Several 527 groups have been created with funding from union sources and from supporters of candidate Rep. Bob Brady. However, local television stations have refused to run the ads, requesting more documentation of the charges against Knox. The new '527' money did prompt Knox to put another $3 million of his own money into the race to counter the ads, raising his personal total to $8 million. Knox finished second in the Democratic primary with 25% of the vote, losing to Michael Nutter.
Knox's name has surfaced as a candidate for Pennsylvania's 2010 Gubernatorial Election.
Religious attacks late in mayor's race: Flyers left outside Catholic churches claimed Michael Nutter and Bob Brady abandoned their faith. Tom Knox denied involvement.
May 14, 2007; Byline: Marcia Gelbart and Thomas Fitzgerald May 14--A mayor's race that began with high-minded debates and polite candidate...