Twenty-six Florida billionaires made Forbes magazine's latest list of the 400 richest Americans. In fact, Florida ranked fourth among the states with the richest, who range in age from 93 to just 28 years old. California has the most megarich with 83, followed by New York (64) and Texas (45).
Overall, Microsoft founder Bill Gates maintains his No. 1 spot on the Forbes 400 list with $54 billion in net worth, followed by investor Warren Buffett, with $45 billion.
The fortunes of Gates, Buffett and other billionaires remain noticeably below their levels in 2008, right before the financial crisis reached full force. Yet when compared to the 2009 list, this year's results show that the rich are once again getting richer. Forbes found 217 on the list who saw their net worth increase, while only 85 saw a decline.
Gainers included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (note co-founder Eduardo Saverin on the Florida list), who hit No. 35 with a net worth that increased a whopping 245 percent since 2009.
Atop the Florida list at No. 69 was Micky Arison, chairman of cruise line giant Carnival Corp. and majority partner of the Miami Heat. His estimated net worth of $4.1 billion was down from $4.3 billion in 2009. The 2010 value was estimated in August 2010 — after the team signed LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Second on the rich list in Florida is William Koch of Palm Beach. He is peripherally famous these days because two of his far richer brothers (tied at No. 5 nationally with $21.5 billion apiece), David and Charles Koch, are bankrolling the tea party.
Also from Palm Beach is Malcolm Glazer and family, owner of the now 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and whose fortune rose to $2.6 billion. Says the Forbes mini-profile of the Glazers: "Owns NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers (team valued at $1 billion); controls English soccer's Manchester United, worth $1.84 billion (the sport's most valuable team burdened by a near 50 percent debt load). Inherited watch business from father at 15; formed real estate company First Allied. Today owns more than 6.7 million square feet of retail space. Opening of Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa slated for September. Sons now manage family assets."
The richest in Tampa Bay, at $1.5 billion and ranked No. 269, is once again Tampa's Edward DeBartolo Jr., the real estate, restaurant and sports management tycoon.
Forbes says about DeBartolo: "Dad helped pioneer shopping mall concept in late 1940s. DeBartolo Jr. led DeBartolo Realty Corp.'s merger with Simon Property Group in 1996 to create largest public REIT in North America. San Francisco 49ers won NFL-record 5 Super Bowl championships during his 23-year ownership.
"No longer owns team; swapped his share with sister Denise for hefty stake in industry giant Simon Property Group following federal bribery conviction in 2000. Today 'Mr. D.' owns 14.8 million Simon Property Group shares; shares up 50 percent since last year. Also owns stake in Famous Famiglia pizza joints, DeBartolo Sports & Entertainment."
In last year's list, Tampa also boasted billionaire and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. He passed away this summer, and his wealth has been distributed among family.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Contact Robert Trigaux at email@example.com.