September 30, Forbes released its list for
the richest people in the US in 2009. For
the fifth time in almost thirty years of
the annual list, the net worth of the richest
Americans fell over the last year from $1.57
trillion to $1.27 trillion, falling $3 billion
net worth of the 400 richest people in
America suffered due to falling stock
markets, troubled national and world economies,
and, for some, from fraud and divorce.
314 of the 400 individuals on the list
lost worth over the year while 32 of last
year's richest fell off the list in 2009.
Buffett, one of the world's richest men,
lost the most over the year, suffering
a $10 billion net loss in his shares of
Berkshire Hathaway to settle at $40 billion
in net worth. Despite his losses, Buffett
still ranks second on the list.
No. 1 slot on the Forbes list of America's
400 richest people went to Bill Gates,
the co-founder of Microsoft and head of
and Melinda Gates Foundation. Overall,
Gates lost a total of $7 billion in net
worth over the year.
Ellison joined Walmart heirs Christy Walton,
Jim C. Walton, Alice Walton, and S. Robson
Waltton to round out the top seven spots.
The eighth spot on the Forbes list went
to Micheal Bloomberg while the ninth and
tenth spots went to Charles and David
top ten richest Americans lost a total
of $39.2 billion in combined net worth,
a 14% decline over the past twelve months.
Kerkorian, owner of the gambling giant
MGM Mirage, also lost worth in 2009. Since
October 2007, shares of MGM Mirage have
fallen 90% and Kerkorian lost a total
of $8.2 billion over the course of 2009
C. Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car,
also saw massive losses over the last
12 months. Due to declines in travel and
budget cuts, Taylor saw a $7 billion decline
in personal net worth.
were some individuals on the list, however,
who saw gains in their assets. Andrew
Beal, for example, bought cheap loans
and assets in last fall's market shock
and tripled his net worth. As a result
of his gains, Beal is worth $4.5 billion.
net worth to make this year's list also
fell from $1.3 billion in 2008 to $950
million in 2009. While some members fell
off of the list, the lower minimum allowed
for 19 new and 19 returning members to
make the list.
of this years newer members include Isaac
Perlmutter, chief of Marvel Entertainment,
who saw a huge growth in net worth after
Disney bought the company in August. Other
newcomers include Charles Zegar, Jack
Dangermond, and Steven Schonfeld.
newcomer, Jeffry Picower, made this year's
list with a net worth of $1 billion after
investing for years with Bernard Madoff.
Piccower is alleged to have extracted
billions more from the company before
it collapsed and is now being named in
a lawsuit looking to liquidate Madoff's
business. According to the suit, they're
looking to recover money obtained through
changes included Michael Moritz returning
to the list after making money with Amazon
and Google stocks. Omid Kordestani, a
member of last year's list, fell off this
year's list due to divorce. R. Allen Stanford
also fell from the list after being charged
with an alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme
as did Sanford Weill, Matthew Bucksbaum,
the mall developer, and Jorge Perez.
addition to some loss in wealth, there
were six deaths from the previous year
including William Davidson and Frank Battten
Sr. There has also been one death since
the list was established on September
10, 2009. Donald Fisher, co-founder of
the retail store Gap, passed away on September
27. He ranks No. 296 on this year's list.
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