Make us your home page

Trigaux: Here's an inside look at the billionaires living in Florida

Though it sounds bizarre to write this about the ultra-wealthy, it's still true. Last year was a rough one for the world's billionaires.

For the first time since 2009, their numbers got smaller, dropping from 1,826 to 1,810 a year earlier. Their combined wealth declined by $570 billion to a mere $6.48 trillion. And their average net worth slipped by $300 million to $3.6 billion, the first shrinkage since 2010. So says Forbes in its recent annual round-up — a best estimate — of this globe's billionaires.

Here are five takeaways that explore Florida's place in the uber-rich world.


1. Florida is home to 44 billionaires, says Forbes, though it's really 45. Ashley Furniture founder Ron Wanek's residence, which is in Tampa Bay the last time we checked, is not identified in the Forbes' list. So add one more name to the Florida roster.


2. Three of those 45 Florida billionaires are women. Two of them are tied in wealth at No. 1,067 on the global list. Carol Jenkins Barnett (part of the Publix Super Markets family empire in Lakeland) is worth $1.7 billion. Also with $1.7 billion in Catherine Lozick of Naples. She inherited an estimated 65 percent in Swagelok, a $2 billion valve-making business co-founded by her father, Fred Lennon. The third woman billionaire, just behind with $1.6 billion, is Campbell Soup heiress Charlotte Colket Weber, who owns the 4,500-acre Live Oak Stud Farm, a horse farm near Ocala.

RELATED: Three Tampa Bay residents and 35 Floridians make the Forbes 400 list

3. The richest Florida resident with $11.1 billion remains Thomas Peterffy of Palm Beach. He is described as a digital stock trading "pioneer" and runs the Interactive Brokers Group. His relocation to Florida means the state's longtime top billionaire, Carnival Corp. (cruise line) chairman Micky Arison is now No. 2 with a mere $7.5 billion. The oldest billionaire in Florida is Daniel Abraham, 91, founder of the Slim Fast diet empire. The youngest remains Russ Weiner, 45, founder of Rockstar Energy Drink.


4. Okay, so The Donald, Mr. Trump and presidential contender, isn't really a Florida resident. But he swears the state is his second home. Given the debate over how much Trump is really worth, Forbes pegs his New York-based wealth at $4.5 billion, ranking him No. 324 in the world, up from No. 405 a year earlier. In this country, his wealth makes him the nation's 113th richest person, according to Forbes.


5. Some quick observations. The Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, ranked No. 18 worldwide with $28.7 billion, is the same fellow who bought the Tampa business that organizes Ironman Triathlons for $650 million… Brothers Si Newhouse (No. 103) and Don Newhouse (No. 116), now in their late 80s, control Advance Publications, which among other media holdings just sold Bright House Networks — one of Tampa Bay's chief cable TV operations — to Charter Communications…Ever since Tampa Bay Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer passed away, no single member of the Glazer family has appeared (yet) on the Forbes billionaire list, despite the combined value of the sports franchise Bucs and Manchester United being worth billions… Let's welcome a new celebrity Florida billionaire to the Forbes list and to the Sunshine State: Michael Jordan. Now living in Jupiter, Jordan's well-timed investment in the Charlotte Hornets elevated him in 2015 to billionaire status at No. 1,577 with $1.14 billion.

Contact Robert Trigaux at Follow @venturetampabay.

Trigaux: Here's an inside look at the billionaires living in Florida 03/14/16 [Last modified: Monday, March 14, 2016 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members


    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  3. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion


    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times


    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]