BIL­LION­AIRE CLUB

Grif­fin, Zell and Pritzker top Forbes’ list of the state’s wealth­i­est peo­ple

Chicago Sun-Times - - POLITICS CITYBEAT -

Ken GriffinGrif­fin has again been ranked the state’s wealth­i­est res­i­dent. He’s even richer than he was last year. Grif­fin, the founder and CEO of Ci­tadel in­vest­ment firm, saw his for­tune grow by a half- bil­lion dol­lars to $ 8 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Forbes’ list of the wealth­i­est peo­ple on the planet.

Chicago busi­ness­men Sam Zell and J. B. Pritzker, who rank sec­ond and third among Illi­nois bil­lion­aires, saw their wealth rise too.

The mag­a­zine says it was a record year for bil­lion­aires. The num­ber of them jumped to 2,043 from1,810 the pre­vi­ous year. It’s the first time Forbes found more than 2,000 10- fig­ure for­tunes. Their to­tal net worth rose by 18 per­cent to $ 7.67 tril­lion, also a record, says Forbes.

Most of Chicago’s bil­lion­aires saw an uptick in dol­lar signs, though real es­tate and casino mag­nate Neil Bluhm saw his wealth de­cline a bit— from$ 3.4 bil­lion on the 2016 list to $ 3.2 bil­lion.

Grif­fin, who ranks 166th among bil­lion­aires world­wide, has made head­lines this past year for shar­ing that wealth. He pledged $ 12 mil­lion to re­pair Chicago’s lake­front trail and gave $ 5 mil­lion to the Field Mu­seum.

Pritzker, the Chicago en­trepreneur and phi­lan­thropist who’s con­sid­er­ing a run for gov­er­nor, saw his for­tune rise to $ 3.4 bil­lion, up from $ 3.2 bil­lion the pre­vi­ous year.

Pritzker is joined on the list by nu­mer­ous fam­i­ly­mem­bers, in­clud­ing his sib­lings for­mer U. S. Com­merce Sec­re­tary Penny Pritzker ($ 2.5 bil­lion) and busi­ness part­ner Tony Pritzker ($ 3.4 bil­lion). Their wealth came, in part, from their fam­ily’s own­er­ship in Hy­att ho­tels. Other bil­lion­aires in the fam­ily in­clude Hy­att Corp. Pres­i­dent Tom Pritzker, film pro­ducer Gigi Pritzker, hote­lier John Pritzker, real es­tate de­vel­oper Jen­nifer Pritzker and busi­ness­man Ni­cholas Pritzker II.

Bill Gates is No. 1 over­all— again— with $ 86 bil­lion net worth. Warren Buf­fett is sec­ond with $ 75.6 bil­lion. Forbes says Jeff Be­zos had the best year of any­one as his net worth rose $ 27.6 bil­lion to $ 72.8 bil­lion. And Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is 544th with $ 3.5 bil­lion.

Speak­ing of bil­lion­aires

The city of Evanston doesn’t have Jen­nifer Pritzker to kick around any­more.

The heir to the Hy­att ho­tels for­tune packed up and left town about sev­en­months ago to live far­ther up the North Shore.

For years Pritzker had­made Evanston her home. She bought up a few old man­sions and re­stored them to their orig­i­nal glory. She lived in one and turned two into el­e­gant bed and break­fasts.

She was work­ing to do more restora­tions but butted heads over the years with Evanston lead­ers.

Her pro­posal to con­vert the Har­ley Clarke Man­sion into a bou­tique ho­tel was re­jected.

Pritzker says she had hoped the city would con­sider each restora­tion project on a “case- by- case ba­sis”” in­stead of blan­ket zon­ing rules.

I ran into her at the Land­marks Illi­nois gala last week. She didn’t want to dis­cuss where she now re­sides. But that sprawl­ing man­sion she bought in Win­netka a few years ago looks like a nice place to re­lax.

Speak­ing of Land­marks

Demo­cratic megadonor Fred Ey­chaner, who sel­dom speaks pub­licly but whose voice is pow­er­ful in pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics, , took to the mi­cro­phone at the same Land­marks Illi­nois fundraiser.

His mes­sage:sage: “Keep fight­ing. Never ever give up.”

The words were di­rected to Chicago preser­va­tion­ists, but given Ey­chaner’s sup­port for Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, he might have been giv­ing a nod to left- lean­ing friends too.

The Chicago busi­ness­man was the night’s hon­oree.

Shia Ka­pos’ Tak­ing Names Names ap­pears Tues­day and Wed­nes­day. Read d more at shi­aka­pos.com.

Ken Grif­fin SamZell J. B. Pritzker

SHI­AKA­POS

Jen­nifer­Pritzker

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