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Miami Palmetto High grad Jeff Bezos vaulted to the top of Forbes’ list of richest people in the world, easily outdistancing runner-up Bill Gates in a record-setting year that saw more billionaires recognized than ever before.
Bezos, 54, who founded and runs Amazon.com, an online shopping business based in Seattle, topped Forbes’ 2018 list with the first 12-figure net worth ever reported by the business publication’s popular annual billionaires’ ranking — a near-incomprehensible $112 billion. That’s after his net worth leapt more than $39 million in a single year, according to Forbes’ estimates.
He also owns the Washington Post, and Amazon last year acquired Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion merger.
Microsoft co-founder Gates, ranked as the world’s richest human for 18 of the past 24 years, lagged well behind at number two with a mere $90 billion. At number three was avuncular Midwestern billionaire Warren Buffett, worth $84 billion. Both saw their net worth rise over last year, according to Forbes, which estimates the value of the assets of the world’s wealthiest inhabitants to come up with the list.
One “notable loser,” according to the magazine: U.S. President Donald Trump, whose fortune dropped by $400 million to $3.1 billion. He’s now ranked at number 766, compared to 544 last year.
Overall, it was a very good year to be filthy rich. Forbes recognized a record 2,208 billionaires from 72 countries and territories worth a cumulative $9.1 trillion, up 18% since last year. The average net worth on the list is $4.1 billion, also a record.
Some other part- and full-time South Florida residents also made the list, as well as some with significant local business connections.
SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son of Japan, a new investor in retired soccer star David Beckham’s Miami football team, was the richest of those, at number 39 on the list, with $22.7 billion. Then came Len Blavatnik, a partner in the Faena District in Miami Beach, at 48 with $20.2 billion.
New York developer Steven Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, was No. 205 with $7.6 billion.
Another pro sports team owner also made the list again: The Miami Heat’s Micky Arison’s net worth of $9.7 billion put him at No. 154.
Other Miamians: Miami Beach hedge-fund manager David Tepper came in at No. 138 with $11 billion. Airline magnate Rakesh Gangwal was at No. 703 with $3.3 billion. Developer Jorge Perez sat at 791 with $3 billion. Philanthropist and medical entrepreneur Phillip Frost came in at 924 with $2.6 billion. Auto-dealer magnate Norman Braman was tied at 965 with numerous others with $2.5 billion.
Some other South Floridians on the list were:
▪ 372. Robert Rich, Jr., Islamorada, frozen foods, $5.2 billion.
▪ 588. Jeff Greene, Palm Beach, real estate and investments, $3.8 billion
▪ 606. Nick Caporella, Plantation, beverages, $3.7 billion.
▪ 703. George Lindemann, Palm Beach, investments, $3.3 billion.
▪ 859. H. Wayne Huizenga, Fort Lauderdale, investments, $2.8 billion.