Florida's Billionaires

Published: 03rd October 2006
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The new Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the incredibly rich lists 587 billionaires worldwide. Florida is fielding in its wealthiest at the 25th rank in the person of John Werner Kluge of Metromedia with estimated net worth valued at $9.1 billion. Kluge settles in Palm Beach where most of Florida billionaires huddle.



Including Kluge, Florida possesses a combined net worth of approximately $40-billion fielded in by 16 billionaires. Most of them are entrepreneurs while a crop inherited family businesses that they grew. The trade ranges from nondairy coffee creamer to sport team franchises, carnival cruises to vast plantations.



Two women join the rank and happen to be siblings. With a net worth estimate of $5.9-billion acquired from Miami's Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's largest cruise ship company, Micky Arison is No. 2 in the state behind Kluge.



Sister Shari Arison -- the youngest Florida billionaire -- relocated from Israel to Miami after taking some heat for financial woes at her Bank Hapoalim and saving some $4.6 billion net worth asset, making her Florida's No. 3 billionaire.



The oldest, at 92, is Palm Beach's Robert Rich Sr. still able at 5th position with a net worth of $1.9 billion obtained from the ubiquitous nondairy coffee creamer which he started in 1960.



While Palm Beach is loaded with the ultrarich, two of Florida billionaires reside in the Tampa Bay area. Bill Morean, chairman of St. Petersburg contract electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit, has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.

The other one is the former owner of pro football's San Francisco 49ers, Edward DeBartolo with a net worth of $1.2 billion, mostly acquired in shopping centers.



America's biggest private landowner Ted Turner is in contention at No. 4 with $2.4 billion. The former CNN and Atlanta Braves owner still takes a hefty portion of Time Warner. The once broadcasting honcho has since shifted his residence to his Florida plantation near Tallahassee.



While most Florida billionaires acquires assets by maintaining a flagship business, the self-made George Lindemann and family amassed $1.2-billion net worth assets from diverse investments including contact lenses, cable and gas.

George Lindemann is married with three children. The family positions at No. 12 in the Florida billionaires list and 512 in Forbes world roll.



George Lindemann finished his Bachelor of Arts/Science at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. The Wharton grad acquired his fortune in 1971 through selling contact-lens-design Company to Cooper Labs for $60 million.

Thereafter, George Lindemann accumulated a string of astute investment outputs to include the landmark acquisition of New Jersey cable licenses. In 1982, the family sold Vision Cable for $220 million and put up cell phone venture Metro Mobile. In 1992, the flourishing cell phone business was sold to Bell Atlantic for $2.6 billion.



George Lindemann's judicious business sense took a notch smarter with the purchase of pipelines from Enron in bankruptcy, via natural gas distributor Southern Union. Billionaire George Lindemann and family now hold 28 percent of Southern Union and steered Enron to a third-largest pipeline owner in the nation today. The family also has a large stake in Verizon Communications.



Other Florida billionaires include Wayne Huizenga noteworthy for the successes of Waste Management, Blockbuster, and AutoNation and accumulated an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion. Also at $1.8 billion mark is S. Daniel Abraham who sold Slim-Fast nutrition drinks to Unilever in 2000 for $2.3 billion.



The former owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey franchise and now term life insurance magnate Arthur Williams Jr. has earned $1.5 billion. Not far at $1.4 billion is James Moran whose JM Family Enterprises controls the world's largest privately held Toyota distributorship



Brothers James and William France, each with $1.2-billion control major NASCAR racing properties, including the Nextel Cup. Meanwhile, the founder of Campbell Soup secured a sizeable inheritance for his granddaughter Charlotte Colket Weber with net worth of $1.1 billion.



To learn more about Billionare George Lindemann, visit author Neil Crespi, an avid tracker of wealth and prestige, at http://neil-crespi.blogspot.com/.


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