November 28, 2023

Richest Floridians

Florida's super-rich

Mike Vogel | 3/28/2017

12 Robert Rich Jr., 76
$3.9 billion

Rich is nearly the quintessential Keys transplant. Quintessential in that he moved to the Keys from a cold climate, discovered a love of fishing and now tells fishing stories. Quintessential with this exception: He built the Buffalo,N. Y., family business, founded on non-dairy whipped topping and Coffee Rich, into an operation that employs 12,000. He’s written three books on fishing and, recently, a novel. In four years, he’s up nearly $2 billion in net worth. He owns three minor league baseball teams and chairs the Cleveland Clinic board. He is the former vice chair of the International Game Fish Association, which is based in Dania Beach. He sold the Buffalo Sabres to fellow Florida billionaire Terrence Pegula. In the Keys, he owns restaurants.

13 Igor Olenicoff, 74
$3.7 billion
Lighthouse Point

Olenicoff’s Olen Properties owns 12 apartment developments and an office project in Florida with the balance of its holdings in California, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. The child of Russian immigrants, he studied corporate finance and mathematics at Southern Cal and eventually bought a 16- unit duplex that began his vast real estate company. He paid a $52-million fine and was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in 2007 to filing of a false tax return in connection with squirreling money away offshore. Being spared jail time later became a precedent cited by other tax cheats in their sentencing hearings. In 2014, a federal court ordered him and his real estate company to pay $450,000 in damages to a sculptor whose work they had copied; another court awarded $640,000 to another sculptor. Olenicoff’s net worth is up $1.2 billion since 2013.

14 Phil Frost, 80
$3.6 billion
Star Island, Miami

The doctor and health care entrepreneur is also among the few on our list who’s self-made — and who made his money in Florida. He is shoveling it out fast: $100 million to the University of Miami last year to fund engineering and science program upgrades, $35 million for a new Miami science museum. Even so, he’s up $700 million since 2013.

15 Jeff Greene, 62
$3.3 billion
Palm Beach

Greene came to Florida with his family in the 1970s, working for a time as a busboy at the Breakers. He made it big in California betting against subprime mortgages but, now back in Florida — “the next Henry Flagler,” the local paper dubbed him — he’s bought upward of $300 million in local real estate, developed a 548-unit apartment project and has sites for office, condo and hotel towers. He and wife, Mei Sze, founded an innovative private, pre-K-8 school in West Palm Beach with a student-teacher ratio of 2-to-1. The majority of students attend on financial aid. His net worth increased $700 million since 2013.

16 George Lindemann, 80
$3.3 billion
Palm Beach

He buys, holds, sells and scores — whether it’s the family eye-products company, cable, mobile or energy. His most recent triumph was selling the Southern Union pipeline company for $5.7 billion in 2012. He’s more than doubled his money since 2013. Frayda Lindemann, his wife, is vice president of the Metropolitan Opera’s board.

17 Tom Golisano, 75
$3 billion

Golisano’s move to Florida from New York in 2009 presaged the coming of Tepper, Peterffy and other billionaires. Golisano, the founder of Paychex, said at the time the move would save him $13,800 a day. In Florida, he has supported Ave Maria University, what’s now called the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples and the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. He also of late gave $25 million to the Special Olympics. It hasn’t dented his account. He’s up $1.6 billion in four years. He has a $14-million waterfront home in Naples.

18 Richard Schulze, 76
$3 billion
Bonita Springs

The Best Buy founder has a foundation that last year gave $10 million to the American Cancer Society and is very active in his native Minnesota. In Florida, it accepts grant pitches only from organizations in Lee and Collier counties. His net worth has increased $600 million in four years.

19 Edward DeBartolo Jr., 70
$2.9 billion

“Mr. D” was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. He ceded the 49ers to his sister in 2000 and focused on the real estate side. In Tampa, the real estate firm head gives to local causes, including supporting the Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School. He’s up $600 million since 2013.

20 Jorge Pérez, 67
$2.8 billion

Miami’s premier condo developer, Pérez is wrapping up condo projects in Florida in favor of rental housing developments and projects abroad. Born to Cuban parents in Argentina, he’s self-made and made-in-Florida, first developing government-supported housing before switching to luxury condos.He purchased a unit in a Fort Lauderdale condo he developed, Auberge Beach Residences & Spa, for use as his beach pad. He has talked of turning over the business to sons Jon Paul and Nicholas. His Related Group is separate from New York-based Stephen Ross’ Related Cos., though they each have an ownership stake in the other. Pérez also has an interest in Ross’ Dolphins, of which he’s vice chairman.

21 J. Christopher Reyes, 63
$2.8 billion
Hobe Sound

22 M. Jude Reyes, 61
$2.8 billion
Palm Beach

Christopher and his brother Jude sit atop Reyes Holdings, the Chicago-based beer, soft drink and food wholesaler that ranks as the nation’s 12th-largest private company. In 2014, they opened a 16,000-sq.- ft. Headquarters office in West Palm Beach, close to the brothers’ Florida homes. The move also signified the company’s increased investment in Florida, where they have Florida Distributing, which supplies 6,000 retailers in central Florida with domestic, import and craft beers, and Pompano Beach-based wholesaler Gold Coast Beverage Distributors in south Florida, the largest beer distributor in Florida and one of the top 10 in sales nationally. Reyes’ Martin- Brower unit is McDonald’s largest food supplier.

23 Kenneth Feld, 68
$2.7 billion

Feld Entertainment closes its Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus next month but Feld, thanks to monster trucks, ice shows and other arena entertainment, looks to be doing just fine. The circus elephants, already retired,live as North America’s largest elephant herd at his conservation center in Polk County. In Manatee County, he has a colossal warehouse-rehearsal- monster truck garage building, purchased for $30 million in 2013 in a corporate recruitment greased with $3.3 million in state and local incentives.

24 H. Wayne Huizenga, 79
$2.6 billion
Fort Lauderdale

The self-made Huizenga has been quieter in recent years. At one time, he owned the Miami Dolphins, the then Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers. He had six companies on the NYSE and is the only person to found three Fortune 500 companies. For Disney, it all started with a mouse. For Huizenga, it all started with a garbage truck. His fortune is up $200 million in four years. In January, Huizenga’s wife of nearly 45 years, Marti, passed away.

25 William H. Wrigley Jr. II, 53
$2.6 billion
North Palm Beach

The chewing gum heir turned a stalled family business into a growth company, then in 2008 sold it to Mars for $23 billion. He declared Florida residency the following year. His fortune has increased $400 million since 2013.

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