Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Breaking News
Home » New West Blog » Who’s the Richest in the West?
If Wyoming’s three richest families decided to boost the economy by giving all their money to fellow Cowboy State residents, each resident of Wyoming would walk away with $44,493. That gives Wyoming the biggest chunk of billionaire dollars per capita in the country, according to Forbes magazine’s latest list of 400 wealthiest people in America. It helps that Wyoming’s sparse population makes the state better known for wide-open spaces than urban squalor. It also helps that Wyoming is home to the richest family in the West.

Who’s the Richest in the West?

If Wyoming’s three richest families decided to boost the economy by giving all their money to fellow Cowboy State residents, each resident of Wyoming would walk away with $44,493.

That gives Wyoming the biggest chunk of billionaire dollars per capita in the country, according to Forbes magazine’s latest list of 400 wealthiest people in America.

It helps that Wyoming’s sparse population makes the state better known for wide-open spaces than urban squalor. It also helps that Wyoming is home to the richest family in the West.

Making Forbes’ list at No. 4 is Christy Walton and family, who have brought their $21.5 billion Wal-Mart fortune to Jackson, making them the wealthiest Westerners.

Two other billionaires call Wyoming home. Squeaking in at the bottom of the Forbes list are Conair’s Leandro Rizzuto, of Sheridan, with $1.2 billion, and TD Ameritrade’s J. Joseph Ricketts, of Little Jackson Hole, with a meager $1 billion. Combined, they add up to $23.7 billion.

Colorado boasts the most billionaires in the West – six of them. Top of the list is Denver’s Phil Anschutz, whose diversified businesses and investments ranked him at No. 37, with $6 billion. That’s despite the untimely death of Michael Jackson, whose comeback Anschutz was banking on.

Nevada’s four billionaires are led by Sands casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. His $9 billion fortune puts him at No. 26.

Three Montanans made the list. Austen S. Cargill, of Livingston, and Marianne Cargill Liebmann, of Bozeman, tied at No. 220, with $1.6 billion each, from the food giant Cargill, Inc. Hotelier Linda Pritzker, of St. Ignatius, ranked 236th with $1.5 billion. (Update: Make that four Montanans. Forbes also lists Missoula construction and mining magnate Dennis Washington. Washington’s $4.2 billion puts him at No. 61.)

Idaho’s only billionaire, Robert Earl Holding, Sun Valley’s oil and ski magnate, ranked 93rd, with 3.3 billion.

Pity poor New Mexico and Utah. They were among nine states no billionaire calls home. But don’t worry. As long as there’s a Santa Fe and a Park City, they’ll still come to visit.

About David Frey

Check Also

Coming Home: An Untied Tongue Returns to Montana

When I first moved back home to Montana last year, people encouraged me to write about the experience. A year later, I finally understand why I couldn't do that at the time. It has taken a full year – a cycle through four very distinct seasons – to combat the writer’s block that paralyzed me from this simple task. It’s a strange thing, this connection to the land that drew me home. It informs everything I think, and it informs everything I do. It has such a hold on me that it required a year of penitence (for ever leaving in the first place) before it loosened its grip and my pen. What I finally realized is that, in order to leave in the first place, I had to shut off a part of my spirit to find the courage to go. But it has worked on me, this year and this land, and now my finally-addressed heartbreak of the first leaving, the first loss, so many years ago, has begun to heal. I am not sorry I left and yet I now understand the full toll that the leave-taking exacted on my psyche and my spirit.

13 comments

  1. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Not news.

  2. Actually, Mickey, if it’s any consolation, the rich are getting poorer, too.

  3. Hmmm… I was under the impression here in Cody Wy that a couple of notable billionaires who have big spreads up in the estate ranch corridor the South Fork of the Shoshone River that we call “Wall Street” should be on said list. Wyoming is, after all , a tax haven … no state personal income tax, no corporate tax, low business taxes and especially low inheritance and estate taxes , generally low property taxes, etc.

    I refer to Herbert Allen of Allen & Co, a New York investment banker who also has a big spread in Sun Valley . Thanks to Herbie, we get glimpses of Warren Buffett and Rupert Murdoch in l’il ole Cody on occasion, among others. The other is Barron G. Collier , who’s easily worth billions and has the esteemed Valley Ranch holdings, once considered its own village and still appearing on maps as such. His father , Barron Sr. was the legendary Collier county Florida ( Naples) landowner who owned more land in that state than anyone else, in addition to a whole bunch of banks, newspapers, and things like steamship lines and hotel chains. Barron Jr. is secretive , to say the least.

    Having said all that , always treat these kinds of Forbes or Fortune 500 “who’s who ” moneymonger lists with a great deal of skepticism. What folks like this ” have” and what they are ” worth” are quite often widely different valuations, especially in the nether world of hiding wealth. It’s easier to hide wealth in Wyoming than most other places north of the Cayman Islands.

  4. Hmm. I don’t see either Herbert Allen or Barron Collier on the list. Maybe they’ve fallen off it. But as you say, Dewey, best to take these lists with a grain of salt.

    Here’s an omission, though, pointed out by Headwaters News.

    “Dennis Washington lists Missoula as his address making him the fourth Montanan on the list.”

    Sure enough. Forbes ranks him, but seemed to forget to put him in the Montana roundup. A construction and mining magnate, Washington’s $4.2 billion puts him at No. 61.

    (Also worth noting, Washington’s the only one I’ve noticed whose assets haven’t dropped since last year. But they haven’t risen, either.)

  5. Ricketts lives in Bondurant, Wyo.
    The only people that call it Little Jackson Hole are the rich folks from Jackson Hole that have never been there.

  6. I guess “poorer” is a relative term. Maybe “less rich” is better. In any case”poorer” implies than your wealth is reduced enough so you can’t afford the necessities of life.

  7. No wealth is attained by honest means. Perhaps we should use Forbes’ list as a “wanted for grand larceny poster.”

  8. Working hard, using your brain, enjoying success…evil, evil!

  9. A lot of people struggle, work hard, use their brain every day of their life and are still poor.

  10. Mickey– Jealousy doesn’t sound good on you. This is merely an entertaining article about the richest people in the West, not a soap box for your “poor getting poorer” arguments. Lighten up!!

  11. Its not about “Jealousy”. Its about equity. Its about social justice. Its about a basic level of life’s necessities deserved by every citizen regardless of their lack of wealth. The market place is merely a mechanism. The market place has no conscience. The market place that is not directed by an ethical system is simply corruption and greed run wild and leads to the kind of repetitive disasters like the great depression, the savings and loan debacle, Enron, and the latest depression/recession. Less than 10% of the people own about 90% of the wealth in the U.S.A. This wealth disparity breeds resentment, poverty and instability. It’s time to dump this extreme ideology of unfettered capitalism and take care of all American Citizens, not just the wealthy ones.

  12. What? Dick Cheney and his Halliburton war profiteer booty didn’t make the list? I’m losing faith in Dick.

  13. Utah most certainly does have a resident billionaire. His name would be Jon Huntsman, Sr. the founder and chairman of Huntsman Corp. Hunstman, Sr. is also the father of the former Republican Utah governor and present Ambassador to China. He is a well known member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.