The Annotated Forbes 400

A closer look at the 19 Chicagoans on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the country’s richest people.

It used to be that a person was considered rich if he had $1 million. But today that kind of scratch doesn’t set you apart the way it once did. In metropolitan Chicago alone, there are more than 100,000 millionaires (people whose net worth, excluding the value of their primary residence, tops $1 million), according to the market research company Claritas.

These days the true benchmark for stupendous wealth comes with a few more zeroes attached. The latest Forbes magazine list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, published in October 2005, contains 19 Chicagoans, 18 of them billionaires and a 19th-Joe Mansueto, the founder of Morningstar, the financial publisher-who’s knocking on the door. (The cutoff for making the list was $900 million.) Stephane Fitch, an editor of Forbes’s rich list, says the magazine bases its rankings on the estimated fair market value of a person’s assets, including stocks, bonds, and real-estate holdings. The magazine then deducts any debts on those assets to settle on its final rankings.

For the 19 Chicagoans who made the list, we wanted to know a little more. So we gathered information on how they made (or inherited) their fortunes, and how, in many cases, they’re giving some of their money back through charities. Taken together, the Chicagoans in the Forbes 400 have a combined net worth of $37.6 billion, according to the magazine-big buckaroos but still about $13 billion short of Bill Gates, whose $51-billion fortune tops the list.

Three Chicagoans who made the 2004 list fell off in 2005: Robert Galvin, Motorola’s former and longtime CEO; John Krehbiel Jr., cochairman of the Lisle-based Molex; and Michael Heisley Sr., the Heico Companies’ chairman. In 2005, two Chicagoans made the list for the first time: Mansueto, who joined the exclusive club at number 384, and the real-estate mogul Matthew Bucksbaum (ranked 109th), who should have been included on previous years’ lists but wasn’t. “It was a bit of an oversight,” Fitch admits.

“If you subtract the Pritzkers, what you’ve got is a list of self-made millionaires and billionaires, which I think says that Chicago, despite its reputation as the capital of the old economy, is still a place you can get incredibly wealthy if you have new ideas and new approaches to business,” Fitch says.

 

 Forbes Rank #49

 

H. Ty Warner, 61
Chairman, CEO, Ty Inc.
Net worth: $4.4 billion
Source: Self-made; founded Ty Inc., manufacturer of Beanie Babies
Home: Oak Brook
Personal: Not married
Education: Kalamazoo College (did not graduate)

Warner made his billions selling cuddly stuffed toys, but, like Cabbage Patch Kids, the Beanie Babies craze has largely petered out (Warner dropped last year to 49th on the Forbes list from 34th in 2004). Still, Ty Inc. remains one of the major manufacturers of plush toys, and Warner has used his fortune to buy several resorts, including the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, the Montecito Country Club in Santa Barbara, California, and Las Ventanas al Paraíso in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Giving back: Intensely private, Warner has given away millions to various causes, including $1.5 million for the reconstruction of the Ty Warner Sea Center (also in Santa Barbara), $6.3 million to the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, and $12 million for a 40-acre park in Westmont, Illinois, where Ty Inc. is based.


Forbes Rank #52

Lester Crown, 80, and family
Chairman, Material Service Corp.
Net worth: $4 billion
Source: Inherited; investments
Home: Wilmette  
Personal: Married, 7 children   
Education: Northwestern University, BA; Harvard University, MBA

Lester Crown, the son of the Chicago financier Henry Crown-who with two brothers founded Material Service, a sand, gravel, lime, and coal production business, in 1919-has reigned over the family fortune (which includes billions made in raw materials, real estate, hotels, meatpacking, railroads, and the aerospace industry) since Henry’s death in 1990. Material Service is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation (the result of a 1959 merger), and the Crown family still retains a big stake in that company, as well as in Maytag and Hilton Hotels, along with smaller holdings in the New York Yankees and the Chicago Bulls.

Giving back: Crown chairs the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and gives generously to Northwestern University, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and the Jerusalem Fund.


Forbes Rank #65

 

William Wrigley Jr., 41
Chairman, president, CEO, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
Net worth: $3.4 billion  
Source: Inherited; chewing gum empire
Home: Lake Forest  
Personal: Divorced, 3 children  
Education: Duke University, BA

Wrigley’s great-grandfather peddled soap and baking soda in the 1890s, giving out sticks of chewing gum to customers to spur sales. He would go on to become the biggest maker of gum in the world. Today, Bill Jr., the fourth-generation gum maker, has updated the major brands-Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, and Big Red-and branched out into new business areas, adding products like Surpass, an antacid chewing gum, and Orbit, a teeth-whitening gum.

Giving back: Wrigley Jr. gives to Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, among other philanthropies, and is on the board of trustees at Northwestern University. The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Foundation gave millions (and got the naming rights) for the grassy square of Millennium Park at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.


Forbes Rank #109

Matthew Bucksbaum, 80, and family
Chairman of the board, General Growth Properties
Net worth: $2.4 billion  
Source: Self-made; real estate  
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Married, 2 children  
Education: University of Iowa, BA

New to the Forbes list in 2005, Bucksbaum got started in 1954 managing his family’s supermarket in Marshalltown, Iowa, with his brother, Martin. Matthew and Martin, who died in 1995, later began developing shopping centers. In 1970, to fund growth, they formed a real-estate investment trust called General Growth Properties that is now the second-largest publicly traded REIT in the country. Bucksbaum’s son John now oversees the day-to-day operations of an empire that includes Water Tower Place in Chicago along with more than 200 other regional shopping malls in 44 states.

Giving back: Bucks-baum has lately spent more time on civic activities, including serving as a trustee and chair-elect of the Aspen Music Festival and School.


Forbes Rank #112

 

Sam Zell, 64
Chairman, Equity Group Investments LLC
Net worth: $2.3 billion  
Source: Self-made; real estate
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Married, 3 children; divorced twice
Education: University of Michigan, BA, JD

The hard-charging real-estate mogul controls 123 million square feet of office space and 202,000 apartments as chairman of four publicly held real-estate companies: Equity Office Properties Trust; Equity Residential; Equity Lifestyle Properties; and Capital Trust. Along with his former fraternity brother Robert Lurie (who died in 1990), Zell built his empire in the late 1960s and early 1970s by snatching up cheap real estate-in places like Toledo, Tampa, and Reno-and taking over struggling companies. His vast and diverse ventures today include radio stations and cruise ships, seafood restaurants and trailer parks. Volatility in the commercial real-estate market has affected Zell’s business, and he has recently sold off many properties.

Giving back: Zell has donated millions to the University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.


Forbes Rank #125

John P. Calamos Sr., 65
Chairman, CEO, Calamos Asset Management Inc.
Net worth: $2.1 billion   
Source: Self-made; mutual funds
Home: Naperville  
Personal: Divorced, 2 children
Education: Illinois Institute of Technology, BA, MBA

The son of Greek immigrants who owned a grocery store on Chicago’s West Side, Calamos was just a teenager when he invested his parents’ $5,000 nest egg. After joining the air force and serving for a year in Vietnam, he became a stockbroker. In 1977 he opened his own private investment firm; it went public in 2004 and today manages $32 billion, with large hold-ings in Amazon, Cisco Systems, and eBay, as well as in mid-cap growth stocks and convertible bonds. The firm’s flagship fund, the Calamos Growth Fund, has achieved an annual average return of nearly 23 percent over the past ten years, and total assets under the firm’s management have increased by 750 percent in just the past five years.

Giving back: Cala-mos serves on the board of Benedictine University and the Illinois Institute of Technology and is a contributor to the Republican Party.  

 

 Forbes Rank #153

Thomas J. Pritzker, 55
Chairman, Global Hyatt Corp.;Chairman, CEO, Pritzker Organization LLC
Net worth: $1.9 billion  
Source: Inherited; hotels, investments
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Married, 3 children  
Education: Claremont McKenna College, BA; University of Chicago, JD and MBA

Along with his cousins Penny and Nicholas, Tom Pritzker has headed the $15-billion family empire ever since his father, Jay Pritzker, died in 1999. But Tom’s leadership quickly came under fire by feuding members of the family, and in 2001 the Pritzkers secretly agreed to a ten-year plan to break up the family fortune and sell off many of their huge holdings, including the 60 companies in the Marmon Group (a $6-billion manufacturing conglomerate) and the Hyatt hotel chain (roughly 211 hotels worldwide). Thomas serves as a director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, in which the Pritzkers hold a 16.5-percent stake with another family. He is also chairman and cofounder of Bay City Capital, and he has developed other businesses such as Triton Container, the world’s largest provider of cargo containers, and GKH, a $550-million private equity fund.

Giving back: Thomas is director of the Pritzker Philanthropic Fund and is a big giver to the University of Chicago, the Art Institute, and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.


Forbes Rank #164

 

Penny Pritzker, 46
President, CEO, Pritzker Realty Group LP;Chairman, Classic Residence by Hyatt
Net worth: $1.8 billion  
Source: Inherited; hotels, investments
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Married, 2 children  
Education: Harvard University, BA; Stanford University, JD

Penny Pritzker was tapped by her late uncle Jay to help manage the family’s hotel empire and the Marmon Group, an industrial conglomerate. As president of Pritzker Realty Group, she oversees many of the family’s real-estate investments, including the new 49-story Hyatt Center, which opened in July in the West Loop. She is chairman of Classic Residence by Hyatt,   which provides luxury housing for seniors, and last year was named chairman of TransUnion, a credit reporting company spun off from the Marmon Group.

Giving back: As a principal of one of the city’s most philanthropic families, Penny has given to various institutions and charities, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Public Education Fund, and Harvard University.


Forbes Rank #181(tie)

James Pritzker, 54
President and CEO, Tawani Enterprises, Inc.
Net worth: $1.7 billion  
Source: Inherited; hotels, investments  
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Divorced, 3 children
Education: Loyola University, BA

Pritzker retired in 2001 from the Illinois National Guard with the rank of lieutenant colonel and now runs the Pritzker Military Library and Tawani Enterprises, a private investment company he established in 1994. He is also on the boards of various groups, including Norwich University and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

Giving back: In 1995, James created the private Tawani Foundation, which supports enhancing military heritage and conserving and preserving historic sites.   


Forbes Rank #181 (tie)

Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker, 40
Managing partner, Pritzker Group;Partner, New World Ventures LLC
Net worth: $1.7 billion  
Source: Inherited; hotels, investments  
Home: Evanston  
Personal: Married, 2 children  
Education: Duke University, BA; Northwestern University, JD

The nephew of the late Jay Pritzker and Marmon Group CEO Robert Pritzker, J. B. runs New World Ventures, a technology and telecommunications venture capital firm he formed in 1995, as well as a private equity fund, the Pritzker Group, with his older brother, Anthony, who lives in Los Angeles. J. B. ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1998.

Giving back: He now serves on boards and committees of Northwestern University, the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and the Illinois Holocaust Museum Campaign.


Forbes Rank #181 (tie)

Jean “Gigi” Pritzker Pucker, 43
Film producer
Net worth: $1.7 billion  
Source: Inherited; hotels, investments  
Home: Chicago   
Personal: Married, 3 children
Education: Stanford University, BA; Anthropology Film Center

Gigi, as she is known, is a filmmaker. She runs the Chicago-based film production company Odd Lot Entertainment, which has produced and financed several films, mostly independent. Her biggest hit so far has been The Wedding Planner (2001), a romantic comedy she produced. Upcoming films she is producing include The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, an adaptation of Melissa Bank’s best-selling short-story collection (starring Alec Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar); a romantic comedy called Return to Sender; and Undead or Alive, a horror-Western flick.

Giving back: She is the chairman of the board for the Chicago Children’s Museum and also sits on the board for the Chicago Children’s Theatre and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation.


Forbes Rank #198

 

Michael Krasny, 52
Founder, Computer Discount Warehouse
Net worth: $1.6 billion  
Source: Self-made; computer sales
Home: Highland Park
Personal: Married, 1 child  
Education: University of Illinois, BA

Krasny was once a used-car salesman at Max Krasny Toyota, his father’s dealership in Skokie. But the U. of I. grad was more interested in computers than carburetors, so he quit the family business in 1984 after placing a cheap classified ad in the Chicago Tribune to sell an old IBM PC. He made a $300 profit and found a new career. His company, Computer Discount Warehouse, known as CDW, now sells $6 billion in computer gear and ser-vices annually, mostly in bulk sales to businesses and the government. The company also earns a perennial listing on Fortune’s list of the best places to work in America. Krasny stepped down as chief executive and chairman of the Vernon Hills–based company in 2001.

Giving back: He now manages his Personal investment portfolio and gives away his riches to various Education, health, arts, and Jewish nonprofits through the private family foundation he set up in 1997 using proceeds from the sale of CDW stock. Krasny has also contributed a reported $100,000 to Governor Blagojevich’s campaign coffers.

 

Forbes Rank #207

Kenneth C. Griffin, 37
President, CEO, Citadel Investment Group LLC
Net worth: $1.5 billion  
Source: Self-made; hedge funds, investments
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Married  
Education: Harvard University, BA

The youngest Chicagoan on the Forbes list, Griffin started out in the late 1980s trading from his Harvard dorm room, and by his senior year was managing $1 million. After graduating, he moved to Chicago to work for Glenwood Capital Management, and in 1990 he established his own hedge fund, Citadel Wellington Partners LP, with $4.6 million in capital. Today Citadel manages $12 billion in assets and has generated average annual returns topping 20 percent since 1998. Such success has given Griffin, an art connoisseur, more than enough riches to pay a reported $60 million for a Cézanne painting in 1999.

Giving back: Griffin now sits on the boards of the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as on the Chicago Public Education Fund. He and his wife, Anne, also give to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Children’s Memorial Hospital. His company foundation has also been an active giver to Chicago-area arts, Education, and health care groups.


Forbes Rank #235 (tie)

Neil G. Bluhm, 67
President, JMB Realty Corp.
Net worth: $1.4 billion  
Source: Self-made; real estate
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Divorced, 3 children  
Education: University of Illinois, BBA; Northwestern University, JD

Bluhm is the “B” of JMB Realty Corporation, the Chicago-based real-estate powerhouse he founded in 1968 with Judd Malkin and Robert Judelson (Judelson left the company in 1973). JMB stuck it out through the real-estate ups and downs of the 1980s and 1990s; meanwhile, Bluhm ventured out on his own, in 1995 forming Walton Street Capital, a private-equity real-estate fund that to date has raised $1.8 billion. Bluhm also invested large sums in casinos around the country through his Midwest Gaming & Entertainment LLC and Falls Management Company.

Giving back: Bluhm raises money for the Democratic Party-he is a big supporter of Barack Obama-and for Alzheimer’s research, the Whitney Museum of Art, and various Jewish groups. He has given gifts of $1 million to the University of Illinois and $7 million to Northwestern University for a legal clinic, and he has endowed a chair at NU’s law school.


Forbes Rank #235 (tie)

 

Oprah Winfrey, 52
Chairman, Harpo Inc.
Net worth: $1.4 billion  
Source: Self-made; media/entertainment  
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Not married  
Education: Tennessee State University, BA

After an early career as a TV newscaster in Nashville, Baltimore, and Chicago, Oprah found her calling as a talk show host and media empress. Today her show draws about 49 million viewers each week, and her global media empire includes the world’s largest online book club (with 700,000 members), magazines, and movies, on top of her talk show and its spinoff, Dr. Phil. She took in an estimated $225 million last year, according to Forbes, which also ranked her number one on its list of the 100 most powerful celebrities.

Giving back: To kick off the 19th season of her talk show last year, Winfrey gave away brand-new Pontiacs to each of the 276 audience members. Such generosity is the tip of the iceberg for Oprah, who was named the top black philanthropist by the magazine Black Enterprise. Through her private charity, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, she has given away many millions of dollars to Education, arts, public health, and women’s organizations. Recently she donated $10 million for Hurricane Katrina relief. Winfrey also encourages her viewers to give: in 1998 she created the public charity Oprah’s Angel Network, which has raised more than $35 million for scholarships, schools, women’s shelters, and youth centers.


Forbes Rank #258

Nicholas J. Pritzker II, 61
Chairman, president, Hyatt Development Corp.
Net worth: $1.3 billion  
Source: Inherited; hotels, investments  
Home: Chicago  
Personal: Married, 4 children
Education: Lake Forest College, BA; University of Chicago, JD

Along with his cousins Tom and Penny, Nicholas is one of the Pritzker triumvirate that has run the family business in recent years. He oversees Hyatt Development, the family’s luxury hotel, resort, and casino arm. He also runs Hyatt Equities, an affiliate that operates more than 30 hotels in the Hyatt chain, and is vice chairman of Hyatt International, which oversees the family’s international properties. Outside of the Hyatt umbrella, Nicholas is also chairman of Eos Biotechnology, a Bay Area company, and a director of Bay City Capital, a private merchant bank.

Giving back: Nicholas supports environmental causes, including Conservation International, and has provided millions of dollars for the study of cosmology and dinosaurs.


Forbes Rank #320

Marvin J. Herb, 68
Chairman, Herbco LLC
Net worth: $1.1 billion  
Source: Self-made; soft-drink bottling, real estate
Home: Barrington
Personal: Married, 2 children  
Education: University of Buffalo, BA; University of Toledo, MBA

Marvin Herb used to bottle soft drinks-lots of them. Now he buys real estate-lots of it. Since he sold his Niles-based soft-drink bottling business in 2001 to the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises for $1.4 billion in cash and stock, Herb has been scooping up commercial real estate, investing heavily in suburban office properties; he owns a reported three million square feet of commercial space in the Chicago area. Herb began his bottling career as a plant manager for Pepsi-Cola Company, eventually climbing to the executive ranks. He became president of Pepsi-Cola Bottling in Indianapolis, and in 1981 bought the Coca-Cola Bottling Companies of Indianapolis and Chicago. He then added plants in Milwaukee and in Rochester, New York, becoming one of the largest independent Coca-Cola bottlers in the country.

Giving back: Herb is a trustee of Loyola University and Rush University and a benefactor to the University of Toledo, having given more than $1 million to his alma mater to create the Judith Daso Herb Endowed Chair in Curriculum and Instruction.


Forbes Rank #346

Gary Campbell Comer, 78
Founder, Lands’ End
Net worth: $1.0 billion
Source: Self-made; apparel
Home: Chicago
Personal: Married, 2 children
Education: High-school diploma

Comer skipped college to take an ad copywriting job with Young & Rubicam; soon he quit to sail full-time, supporting himself by hawking boat supplies through a mail-order catalog called Lands’ End, which he founded in a basement in Chicago’s old tannery district. Some 40 years later-and after moving the company to Wisconsin in 1978 and taking it public in 1986-Comer sold Lands’ End to Sears, Roebuck & Company for $1.9 billion.

Giving back: Business Week named Comer and his wife, Frances, the 37th most generous philanthropists in America in 2005, in part because of their $40-million gift to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, which opened early last year.


Forbes Rank #384

Joseph D. Mansueto, 49
Chairman, CEO, Morningstar
Net worth: $900 million
Source: Self-made; media/entertainment
Home: Chicago
Personal: Married, 3 children
Education: University of Chicago, BA and MBA

New to the Forbes list, Mansueto has, over the past 20 or so years, built the small monthly financial newsletter he founded with $80,000 in his North Side apartment into a multimillion-dollar global publishing powerhouse, providing information online and in print publications for individual investors and financial advisers on more than 125,000 stocks, mutual funds, and other investment offerings. Before starting the company, Mansueto, a native of Munster, Indiana, was a securities analyst at Harris Associates. He named Morningstar after the final line of Thoreau’s Walden (“The sun is but a morning star"). Last May, Morningstar sold a quarter of its stock in a Dutch auction, a kind of initial public offering in which individual investors, not investment bankers, set the price, which in this case was $18.50 per share. Morningstar’s stock soared 8.4 percent on its first day of trading and has doubled since then, trading at more than $42 a share at press time. In recent years, Mansueto has expanded his personal publishing holdings: last June he bought Fast Company and Inc., two business periodicals, from Gruner + Jar for $32.5 million; and he owns 50 percent of Time-Out Chicago.

Giving back: Mansueto sits on the visiting committee of the U. of C. Graduate School of Business.

 

 

Illustrations by Randy Glass

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