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June 21, 2018


Most Influential Families

Florida Staff | 11/1/2004
The Colliers
Southwest Florida, Collier Enterprises/Barron Collier Cos.
The Colliers have remained a defining force in southwest Florida since Barron Gift Collier -- Collier County's namesake -- bought 1.25 million acres in the 1920s. Today, the family retains mineral rights beneath 800,000 acres. A 2002 deal that would have netted the Colliers $120 million from the federal government in exchange for the mineral rights under 765,000 environmentally sensitive acres fell through in the wake of congressional scrutiny. But talks to revive a deal are ongoing. The family's holdings -- divided primarily between Collier Enterprises and Barron Collier Cos. -- include more than 70,000 acres of agricultural land, various real estate holdings and mineral operations that have extracted 110 million barrels of oil since the 1940s. Now, Barron Collier Cos. is partnering with Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan to build Ave Maria University in eastern Collier County. Barron Collier Cos., led by grandson Barron Collier III and granddaughter Judy Sproul, donated the land for the university and is developing the 5,000-acre town of Ave Maria. Collier Enterprises, headed by grandson Miles Collier, plans to develop nearby areas.

The de Cespedes Brothers

Miami, Pharmed
Coming to America as boys via Pedro Pan, the Catholic Church refugee program, Jorge, 51, and 54-year-old Carlos de Cespedes founded their med supply company, Pharmed, one of the nation's largest Hispanic-owned businesses, in 1980. This year, they invested in former BET network owner Robert L. Johnson's NBA Charlotte Bobcats and teamed with Johnson to expand their business. With $600 million in sales, Pharmed is Florida's 24th-largest privately owned business.

The de la Cruzes

Miami, Beer Distribution, Soft Drink Bottling
Carlos de la Cruz made his money in car dealerships (sold to AutoNation for $40 million) and Eagle Brands, the Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Miami-Dade. In 1999, he became the first Hispanic chair of the University of Miami Board of Trustees. The Cuba native, Wharton MBA and longtime member of Hispanic leaders group Mesa Redonda initiated the last-ditch attempt to negotiate to prevent the seizure of Elian Gonzalez by federal authorities. Son Alberto runs the family's Puerto Rico Coca-Cola bottling operation and son Carlos Jr. is Eagle Brands president. The

Fanjul Brothers

Palm Beach, Flo-Sun
When your phone call can interrupt the president (Clinton) while he's breaking up with a girlfriend ... Brothers Alfonso, 56, and 60-year-old Jose "Pepe" Fanjul of Palm Beach go a long way toward deciding what American consumers pay for sugar, both by their Flo-Sun's production and their backing of price supports. Big donors to both parties (that got Clinton on the phone), the representatives of the old Cuban dynasty also are major cane growers in the Dominican Republic.

The Frances
Daytona Beach, International Speedway Corp.
This family business definitely has a Hemi. The Frances control both the publicly traded ISC and the sanctioning body NASCAR. James, 59, and Bill Jr., 71 -- sons of the company's founder -- are worth more than $1 billion each. Lesa France Kennedy, 43, is president of ISC, and Brian, 42, is chairman/CEO of NASCAR. The Frances have cashed in on racing's growing popularity: TV deals are worth almost $3 billion, sponsorships and promotions top $1 billion and NASCAR merchandise generates more than $2 billion. Nextel signed one of the biggest sponsorship deals in sports, paying NASCAR $750 million over 10 years. And politicians are paying more attention to the heavily white, heavily male fan base -- remember President Bush shouting "Gentlemen, start your engines!" earlier this year?

The Grahams

Miami Lakes, Land Holdings
Ernest R. Graham came to Florida 80 years ago to run a northwest Dade sugar plantation. Son Phil became publisher of the Washington Post, his brother Bob, 68, became a politician and brother William A., 80, stayed in Miami Lakes, the town developed from their dad's land holdings. Their Graham Cos. remains Miami Lakes' largest land owner, and four of William A.'s children and three of their spouses head divisions and business units, including President and CEO William E. Graham, 52, and Carol Graham Wyllie, 50, executive vice president, the first chairwoman of the Beacon Council in 1997.

The Klaubers

Longboat Key, Colony Beach and Tennis Resort
Patriarch M.J. "Murf" Klauber has presided over the growth of the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort from a sandy gaggle of bungalows to a world-class tennis destination. Along the way, Murf also helped give tennis maven Nick Bollettieri his start. The apples haven't fallen too far from the tree: Daughter Katie Moulton, a member of the Florida Council of 100, has taken over for Murf at the Colony; one son, Tom, owns Pattigeorge's restaurant; another, Michael, runs Michael's on East, a perennial Florida Trend Golden Spoon winner.

The Morans

Deerfield Beach, JM Family Enterprises
Founder and honorary Chairman Jim Moran and his daughter, Chairman Pat Moran, head a dozen automotive-related businesses under the umbrella of JM Family Enterprises, Florida's third-largest private company. JM's flagship business is the massive Southeast Toyota Distributors, the nation's biggest Toyota distributor. JM also includes a philanthropic foundation.

The Valdes-Faulis

South Florida, Banking/Finance/Law
How's this for longevity? The first member of the Valdes-Fauli family to come to Florida was Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the founder of St. Augustine. The Valdes-Faulis were a power in Cuba until Castro. Cuban immigrants Teresa Weintraub Valdes-Fauli, 51, runs wealth manager Fiduciary Trust International of the South; brother Gonzalo, 57, chairs the advisory committee of investment bank BroadSpan Capital; former Coral Gables Mayor Raul J., 61, chairs the international practice at law firm Steel Hector & Davis; and banker Jose, 53, is semi-retired after being president of Colonial Bank in south Florida. Raul J.'s son, Raul G., 36, is executive vice president, senior lending officer, for Union Bank, and others of his generation also are establishing themselves professionally in south Florida.

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