DETROIT, MI — Worth an estimated $5.9 billion, Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert, 55, is Michigan’s richest person, according to Forbes’ latest rankings of the richest individuals in each state. The self-made billionaire owns the home mortgage company Quicken Loans, the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team, multiple casinos, and about 100 business and real-estate enterprises under his Rock Ventures umbrella.
Gilbert’s fortune pales in comparison with the wealth accumulated by Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, who is not only Washington state’s richest resident, but also the richest person in the world with a fortune estimated at $88.9 billion. Gates is about $12.9 billion richer this year than last, largely due to the rising stock market, Forbes said.
Gates’ place at the top of lists such as Forbes’ isn’t untouchable, though. Another Washington resident, Jeff Bezos, came in at $83.3 billion. In other states, it’s not even close.
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Warren Buffett, the second-richest person on the list, is 20 times wealthier than Walter Scott Jr., Nebraska’s second-wealthiest individual. Both made their fortunes at Berkshire Hathaway. In Oregon, Nike founder Phil Knight is worth 14 times more than Columbia Sportwear billionaire Timothy Boyle, worth $1.8 billion, Forbes said.
The list is separate from the Forbes 400, which ranks the world’s wealthiest billionaires. Michigan had eight billionaire individuals and families on the list released in October 2016, including Gilbert, whose fortune was estimated at $4.7 billion at the time. Forbes says an accumulation of about $1.3 billion in wealth is nearly on par with other state-leading tycoons on the current list. They saw their fortunes rise by $1.74 billion.
Brothers Hank and Doug Meijer of the Grand Rapids-based Meijer supermarket chain topped last fall’s Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $6.7 billion. Close behind were Marian Ilitch and her late husband, Michael, of Bingham Farms, founders of the Little Caesars Pizza empire and sports team owners, worth $5.8 billion, and Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, worth $5.5 billion.
DeVos’ wealth grew $200 million to $5.6 billion since last fall’s list came out, Forbes said, making Gilbert Michigan’s wealthiest individual.
Together, the 52 people on the new Forbes list (there were tie in two states) are worth $747 billion. Forbes said that in all but one case, those on the list are wealthier than they were in the 2016 rankings, their fortunes rising by $1.74 billion on average.
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