Monday, October 22, 2018
Business

Among Forbes 400 billionaires, Florida gaining favor as a place to call home

Only five years ago, Florida was home to 29 billionaires on the Forbes 400. Now 40 billionaires — 10 percent of the new 2016 Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans — claim Florida as their residence.

Sure, the weather here is nice. But it's the lack of state income tax and low inheritance taxes that really lure more of the wealthy here. For comparison, 90 of the Forbes 400 billionaires reside in heavily taxed California.

Tampa Bay's billionaire numbers are growing, too. Newcomers Robert Duggan and Todd Christopher, both identified by Forbes as living in Clearwater, are new Floridian billionaires this year.

Duggan, a serial entrepreneur and investor, controlled a California anti-cancer drug company called Pharmacyclics that he sold to the pharmaceutical firm AbbVie in 2015 for $21 billion. That deal bumped the net worth of Duggan, 72, to $2.6 billion, ranking him No. 264 on the Forbes 400 list. According to Bloomberg news coverage, Duggan is one of the Church of Scientology's biggest donors.

Also new to the Clearwater billionaire scene is Christopher, 53. He sold his local hair care products company Vogue International to giant Johnson & Johnson this past June for $3.3 billion. Forbes pegs the new billionaire's net worth at $2 billion, ranking No. 353 on its list.

Rounding out Tampa Bay's billionaire list are three more familiar names. In Tampa, and still ranked as the area's richest billionaire at No. 204 is Edward DeBartolo, Jr., 69. His $3.2 billion in wealth remains built on real estate and shopping centers, though he slipped from No. 194 in the 2015 rankings.

Another local billionaire is Tampa's Kenneth Feld, 67, who as chairman of Feld Entertainment helps oversee such diverse shows as Disney on Ice, Barnum & Bailey circus and Monster Jam truck shows. Annually, his company puts on 5,000 shows for 30 million people worldwide. Forbes pegs his net worth at $2.7 billion, ranking him at No. 246. That's a sharp gain. Feld ranked No. 375 last year.

In addition, there's St. Petersburg's Ronald Wanek, 75, with a net worth of $2.1 billion. He is one of the primary owners of the Ashley Furniture chain.

Finally, three thoughts on the new Forbes rankings:

1. Bill Gates remains the richest American with $81 billion. The richest billionaire in Florida is again Thomas Peterffy of Palm Beach who made his $12.6 billion fortune via a discount brokerage. He ranks No. 32 on the national list.

2. Only two of the 40 billionaires residing in Florida are women: Katherine Tanner, worth $1.8 billion, inherited a stake in Cargill, the largest private company in America; and Carol Jenkins Barnett is the daughter of George Jenkins, who founded Publix Super Markets. She is worth $1.7 billion.

3. After Bill Gates, the richest in America are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($67 billion), Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett ($65.5 billion) and, at only 32, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ($55.5 billion).

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected] Follow @venturetampabay.

   
Comments
Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Health department officials across Tampa Bay are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, which is on the rise. As of this week, 58 cases of the virus have been reported in Pinellas this year, including a jump of 10 cases from Sep...
Published: 10/22/18
Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Ever receive a phony "tech support" email or call? In the city of Tampa, you’re not alone. Tampa has the dubious honor of ranking No. 7 on Microsoft’s list of nine cities with the highest number of complaints about such scams. Tampa’s total: 1,970 su...
Published: 10/22/18
Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Florida’s school leaders have made plain for years their desire for more money to run their districts. They’ve asked lawmakers for higher per-student funding, and the freedom to spend the money where it’s needed. They’ve requested more construction m...
Published: 10/22/18
Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

News and notes about Pasco businesses
Published: 10/22/18
Dear Penny: I have a $30k inheritance and no debt. Why do I feel stuck?

Dear Penny: I have a $30k inheritance and no debt. Why do I feel stuck?

Dear Penny, I recently received a $30,000 check from my grandparents as an early inheritance. Don’t panic: They’re both still alive. They gifted it to me for tax purposes. Ever since I received the check, I’ve just been staring at it. I don’t know wh...
Published: 10/22/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for Oct. 26

Hernando Pet of the Week for Oct. 26

PET OF THE WEEK Fudge is a chocolate colored, 2-year-old domestic short hair. He loves being the center of attention, and his cool color makes him a favorite of the staff. He does well with other cats and dogs. Inquiries about adopting Fudge or othe...
Published: 10/22/18
Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic,

Hurricane Michael’s effect on timber industry ‘catastrophic," Adam Putnam says.

Hurricane Michael’s enduring legacy could include long-term damage to Florida’s timber industry. While experts try to get a handle on the carnage, state Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said Friday that preliminary estimates peg it ...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18
Time is ticking to nominate your employer as a top workplace in Tampa Bay

Time is ticking to nominate your employer as a top workplace in Tampa Bay

It’s not too late.We’re extending the deadline until Nov. 16 to nominate your employer as one of Tampa Bay’s Top 100 Workplaces. This marks the tenth consecutive year that the Tampa Bay Times has highlighted the best of the best companies and organiz...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18
Unbound Miami: Entrepreneur Daniel Seal talks about his innovation festival

Unbound Miami: Entrepreneur Daniel Seal talks about his innovation festival

For years, Daniel Seal could see the disconnect between entrepreneurs, corporations and governments.A serial entrepreneur and former politician in London, England, Seal knew if he could bring the three entities together they would all benefit. Improv...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18
After Hurricane Michael, a hunt for surviving oysters in Apalachicola

After Hurricane Michael, a hunt for surviving oysters in Apalachicola

APALACHICOLAT.J. Ward’s phone rang. Service had improved in the days since Hurricane Michael."Get another scrub brush and a squeegee," he told his sister. "The littlest one you can find."The Ward family’s 13 Mile Seafood Market smelled of bleach, so ...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/22/18