In February 2023, a former manager at Penny’s sued Phillips and his business partner for wage theft. The suit was later voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff.
He describes himself as a “eternal optimist.”
“I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world,” Phillips has said.
He was born Dean Benson Pfefer on January 20, 1969, in St. Paul, Minn.
His biological father, Arthur (Artie) Pfefer, was a captain in the U.S. Army at the time of Dean’s birth. Artie was killed in a helicopter crash in the Pleiku province in Vietnam on July 25, 1969 — before he had ever met his son.
Family members say that Dean is the spitting image of his father.
After the wedding, Eddie adopted Dean, who took his adoptive father’s last name. The adoption “brought me into a family of great achievement and high expectations,” Phillips later wrote.
Phillips’ adoptive grandmother, Pauline Phillips, was the author of the famous “Dear Abby” advice column, which she wrote under the pseudonym “Abigail Van Buren” between 1956 and 2002.
In 1991, he earned a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Brown University, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and a newscaster for the campus radio station.
A campaign bus with “Dean Phillips for President” was spotted driving around Ohio on Oct. 24 — several days before Phillips officially announced his campaign.