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Robert Trigaux

New Forbes 400 list: Florida awash in billionaires but just two in Tampa Bay




Wake up and good morning. The new Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans is out and Florida can claim 27 or 6.75 percent of them who declare the Sunshine State as their home. Two of the 400 richest Americans -- Edward DeBartolo Jr. (see first photo) and George Steinbrenner (see second photo) -- are based in Tampa. (Photos: AP)

(I wonder. Did Forbes miss Sheila C. Johnson, owner of Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor and chairman of Salamander Hospitality? Or did her billionaire status fade in the rough economy?)

After a year of horrendous stock market declines, you have to imagine this was not a banner time for getting richer. Indeed, Forbes magazine says America's super rich are getting poorer. For only the fifth time since 1982, the collective net worth of the Forbes 400 fell $300 billion in the past 12 months from $1.57 trillion to $1.27 trillion. Divorce also diminished some of the wealthiest coffers as did the action of one individual -- fraudster extraordinaire Bernie Madoff -- whose record Ponzi scheme hurt many, including a few Florida billionaires. More on that below.


The 10 richest Americans -- yes, Bill Gates is still No. 1 -- lost a combined $39.2 billion in the past 12 months, a 14 percent decline. Here's the Forbes story about the 400.

Let take a closer look at the 27 Floridians (a loose term in some cases since billionaires often have many homes and probably declare Florida their primary residence for tax reasons) on the Forbes 400. What follows is a list of Floridians by wealth, in this order: Rank on the 400 (there are many ties), name, how much they have, age, hometown and the source of their wealth. I sprinkle some commentary throughout. Each link takes you to a longer description of each individual at Forbes. Here goes:

35  John Kluge, $6.5 billion, 95, Palm Beach, Metromedia. Been at the top of Florida's wealthiest Americans for many years.

56  Micky Arison, $4.3 billion, 60,  Bal Harbour,  Carnival Cruises.

139  Malcolm Glazer & family, $2.4 billion, 81, Palm Beach, sports teams, real estate. Owns the Bucs and Manchester United soccer. Malcolm's been ill for years so his kids run the show.

154  H. Wayne Huizenga, $2.1 billion, 71, Fort Lauderdale, investments.

158  Phillip Frost, $2 billion, 72, Miami, pharmaceuticals.

190  Robert Rich Jr., $1.9 billion, 68,  Islamorada, Rich Foods. Hope he likes fishing.

196  Wilbur Ross, $1.8 billion, 71,  Palm Beach,  leveraged buyouts. Expect to hear more from Wilbur as he invests in, and revives, failed banks.

196  Robert E. (Ted) Turner, $1.8 billion, 70, Lamont,  cable television. He's on a "plantation" east of Tallahassee. Largest individual landowner in country.

212  Bharat Desai & family, $1.65 billion, 56, Fisher Island, Syntel. All about outsourcing. Neighbors of the Gov. and Mrs. Crist?

212  Albert Ueltschi, $1.65 billion, 92, Vero Beach,  FlightSafety. Buffett bought his company.

230  Isaac Perlmutter, $1.55 billion, 67, Palm Beach,  Marvel. Marvel chief sold superhero comics outfit to Disney for $4 billion in August.

236  Fred DeLuca, $1.5 billion, 62, Fort Lauderdale, Subway.

236  Michael E. Heisley Sr., $1.5 billion, 72,  Jupiter Island,  manufacturing.

236  William Koch, $1,5 billion, 69, Palm Beach, oil, investments.

236  Igor Olenicoff, $1.5 billion, 67,  Lighthouse Point, real estate. UBS client hid an estimated $200 million overseas. Pleaded guilty to single federal tax felony and paid $52 million in back taxes and penalties.

272  George Lindemann & family, $1.45 billion, 73, Palm Beach, investments.

277  S. Daniel Abraham, $1.4 billion, 85, Palm Beach, Slim-Fast.

289  Thomas Golisano, $1.35 billion, 67, Naples, Paychex.

296  Edmund Ansin, $1.3 billion, 73, Miami, Sunbeam Broadcasting.

317  Edward DeBartolo Jr., $1.250 billion, 62, Tampa, shopping centers. Also pushed into sports management businesses.

317 Jeffrey Greene, $1.25 billion, 54,  Miami Beach, real estate and investments. Youngest of the Florida billionaires listed. Became a billionaire shorting subprime credit in 2007.

326  Norman Braman, $1.2 billion, 77,  Miami,  art, car dealerships. Former Philadelphia Eagles owner likes to file suit to stop use of public money for sports stadiums, including new one planned for Florida Marlins. Hurt by Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

341  George Steinbrenner, $1.15 billion, 79, Tampa, New York Yankees. The Boss is in failing health. May yet see another World Series ring.

347  Charlotte Colket Weber, $1.1 billion, 66, Ocala, inheritance. Campbell Soup heiress.

366  Peter Lewis, $1.05 billion, 75,  Coconut Grove,  Progressive Corp. Insurance wealth.

371  Jeffry Picower, $1 billion, 67, Palm Beach,  investments. Alleged to have taken in $5.1 billion as a result of fraudulent returns from Madoff accounts before Ponzi scheme collapsed. Forbes hints it may have understated his wealth.

399  Dwight Schar, $950 million, 67, Palm Beach,  NVR Inc. How did he make the list? Not even a billionaire, but not bad recovery since 1992 bankruptcy.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:26am]


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