Arison still the wealthiest Floridian

09/16/2013 4:50 PM

09/16/2013 4:58 PM

Once again, Micky Arison is the richest person in Florida.

The Carnival Corp. chair and Miami Heat owner ranked No. 70 on the annual Forbes Magazine list of the richest Americans, clocking in at $5.9 billion. Despite fallout from the Costa Concordia shipwreck and several other high-profile cruise ship incidents, his net worth rose by $200 million over 2012, though his place on the list dropped two positions from 68.

Overall, life is good for America’s super wealthy.

While most of the top names and rankings in Forbes annual list, released Monday, didn’t change from a year ago, the majority of the elite club’s members saw their fortunes grow over the past year, helped by strong stock and real estate markets.

“Basically, the mega rich are mega richer,” said Forbes Senior Editor Kerry Dolan. The 400 people on the annual list posted a combined net worth of $2 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion a year ago. That marks their highest combined value ever. The average net worth of the list’s members rose to $5 billion, also the highest ever, up from $4.2 billion in 2012.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates remains America’s richest man, taking the top spot on the list for the 20th straight year, with a net worth of $72 billion, up from $66 billion a year ago.

Investor Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., posted another distant second place finish with $58.5 billion; Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison stayed third with $41 billion. Brothers Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries Inc., stay tied for fourth with $36 billion each, up from $31 billion in 2012.

South Floridians on the list are medical entrepreneur Philip Frost of Miami Beach (166), with $3 billion, who tied with frozen foods magnate Robert Rich Jr. of Islamorada; hedge fund chief Edward Lampert (184) of Miami Beach with $2.9 billion; Subway founder Fred DeLuca of Fort Lauderdale (193) with $2.8 billion; Fort Lauderdale investor H. Wayne Huizenga (222) with $2.5 billion; outsourcing guru Bharat Desai & family (252) of Fisher Island; auto dealer Norman Braman (296) of Miami Beach with $1.9 billion; Miami developer Jorge Perez (350) with $1.55 billion; and WSVN owner Edmund Ansin of Miami Beach (372) with $1.35 billion.

Florida’s fine weather and lack of a state income tax made it the No. 4 state in the country for super wealthy-in-residence, with 33 on the list, behind California (91), New York (66) and Texas (41).

The Associated Press and Miami Herald business editor Jane Wooldridge contributed to this report.

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