Lifestyle

The Richest Person From Every State, Ranked

Who's your person? Go ahead, control-F your state, scroll down, then come back to us.

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You're back! Okay, so, below is a list of the richest person from every state in America, listed in order of "Disgustingly Rich" to "What Planet is This?" Some names are pretty familiar (hi Warren!), others...not as much (like, say, a certain grocery overlord). And, unfortunately, six percent of the list is made up of a group of people who run the most successful/destructive company in the history of Western civilization. Hey, don't blame us. 

Okay we'll shutup. Enjoy. 

[Editor's Note: Financial figures were primarily culled from here and here.]

 

50. Robert Gillam, Alaska — $700 million

Truth be told, we’re just glad the person in this spot doesn’t have the last name “Palin.”

49. Robert Gore, Delaware — $830 million

If you have a PhD in chemical engineering, you probably deserve to have "eff-you" money. Keep doing your thing, Mr. Gore.

48. Leon Gorman, Maine — $860 million

Gorman is playing with L.L. Bean money, and that alone makes him the niftiest person on this list.

47. Gary Tharaldson, North Dakota — $900 million

Before his life as a hotelier, Tharaldson was a high school gym coach. And it was probably more fun playing dodgeball than sitting in board meetings, but hey, whatever, man.

46. The Maloof brothers, New Mexico — $1 billion

The Maloof brothers, Joe and Gavin, are mostly known for alienating nearly every single Sacramento Kings fan in their tenure as owners, partly because they threatened for so long to move the team to Seattle. (They sold the team last year for a record $535 million.) The Maloof family money dates back to the ‘30s, selling Coors beer in the southwest. Before the Kings, the bros made millions investing in Vegas casinos.

45. Marguerite Harbert, Alabama — $1 billion

Maggie inherited straight cash after her husband, John, a real estate mogul, passed in 1995. John began his career investing $6,000 of his own money from gambling. 

44. Jon Hunstman Sr., Utah — $1.1 billion

Huntsman and his wife, who’ve been married over 50 years, have nine children and 56 grandchildren. Goodness.

Huntsman is co-founder of the largest polystyrene manufacturer in the country and a four-time cancer survivor. Raise your hand if you know what polystyrene is. We thought so. 

43. Frank Vandersloot, Idaho — $1.2 billion

Back in 1999, Vandersloot raged against television programing that he thought threatened to turn children gay, so there’s that.

42. T. Denny Sanford, South Dakota — $1.3 billion

Sanford made his fortune as head of banks that lent credit cards to consumers. Meaning, essentially, he became rich as we all became poor and in debt. To his credit (!), Sanford is annually labeled as one of the most generous philanthropists in the country.

41. Tom Benson, Louisiana — $1.5 billion

A sports guy to the core, Benson owns the Saints (NFL) and Pelicans (NBA) in New Orleans. Benson mostly got rich over time, seeing his money made from local car dealerships to flourish in local banks. It seems so easy when you say it like that.

40. Jim Justice, West Virginia — $1.6 billion

We don’t know why pictures of old rich guys is funny, but it just is. Justice owns coal and stuff. And apparently a Master's jacket. 

39. Jonathan Nelson, Rhode Island — $1.8 billion

Nelson’s $1.8B price-tag seems a little low given that his firm controls $40 billion in financial commitments. But then again, I’m just an Internet writer, and don’t really know anything.

38. B. Wayne Hughes, Kentucky — $2.2 billion

Public Storage. The company stores stuff, in public. (Hughes is in middle.)

37. James Barksdale, Mississippi — $2.4 billion

Barksdale is a rich old Internet dude (Netscape!) who’s been rich for a long time. Mr. Barksdale is committed to improving education in Mississippi, which I think we can all agree is a step in the right direction for Mississippi. 

36. Harry Stein, Iowa — $2.6 billion

Stein runs one of the largest agriculture businesses in the country not named Monsanto or Dupont. He drives an F-150 to work. 

35. Anita Zucker, South Carolina — $2.6 billion

Zucker is the only billy living in South Carolina; she’s also the only person to ever serve as governor of Hudson’s Bay Company. Zucker seems legit: she's pushing for SC to use more solar panels to conserve energy. Solar panels, like Goldfish crackers, are the future. 

34. Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, Pennsylvania — $2.7 billion

Ms. Dorrance is the largest shareholder in Campbell Soup, which, for her, is Mmm-Mmm Good! It’s amazing what soup can do, ya know?

33. John Abele, Vermont — $3.3 billion

The fact that the richest person in Vermont doesn’t own an emerging maple syrup conglomerate is so, so upsetting. Abele is just another medical device dude who's saving the world.

32. Ted Lerner, Maryland — $4.2 billion

Mr. Lerner owns just about everything on the east coast (Tysons Corner! Chelsea Piers!). The sexiest of which is the Washington Nationals, who currently have the best record in the National League and might win the world series in five weeks.

31. Bruce Halle, Arizona — $4.8 billion

Halle is the founder of Discount Tire, which is funny. Tire magnate. Let's be tire magnates. 

30. Whitney MacMillan, Minnesota — $4.8 billion

MacMilan is the heir to Cargill Corp., which claims to “Nourish ideas. Nourish people.” This seems a bit misguided, given its alleged human rights abuse, a history of food contamination, and some apparent deforestation.   

29. Ken Griffin, Illinois — $5.2 billion

Griffin’s founder of one of the largest hedge funds in the world. He is an art collector and he believes rich people do not have enough influence in American politics. Cool.

28. Leslie Wexner, Ohio — $5.7 billion

Wexner is the CEO of L Brands, which counts in its portfolio Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. We’ve been to these stores with our girlfriends. Wexner’s f****** loaded.

27. Dennis Washington, Montana — $5.8 billion

Washington’s just a simple, old rich dude who’s self-made and seems, oh, fine. He owns like private stock in stuff, blah blah. This is his boat, naturally.

26. Gayle Cook, Indiana — $5.8 billion

Gayle is the widow of Bill Cook, who founded Cook Group Inc., a private medical supplier. Bill died in 2011 and Gayle assumed control. Part of Gayle’s story is insane. The below snippet is from the Indiana Business Journal three years ago:


McCarty, Cook’s spokesman, attributed Cook Group’s strict privacy standards to an unfortunate ordeal that involved Bill Cook’s wife, Gayle, in the late 1980s. She was kidnapped by Arthur Curry, an Indianapolis native and Chicago investment broker who had fallen into near financial ruin.

After speaking to a group of Purdue University business students in March 1989, Curry stole a car and drove to the Cooks' home in Monroe County, aware that Bill was among Fortune magazine’s 400 wealthiest Americans.

With a net worth of $3.1 billion, Bill Cook ranked 101st on the 2010 list as well as first in Indiana.
Curry kidnapped Gayle Cook and bound her hands, legs, mouth and eyes with duct tape, and then called Bill Cook and demanded a ransom of $1.2 million in cash and $500,000 in gold.
FBI agents who had tapped Cook’s phone apprehended Curry 26 hours later as he made arrangements for the delivery of the ransom money.

A Monroe County judge sentenced Curry to 32 years in prison, but he was freed in October 2001, after serving 12-1/2 years.

“Ever since then the company has been very private,” McCarty said.

25. Thomas F. Frist Jr., Tennessee — $6.1 billion

Thomas F. Frist Jr. is the most Tennessee rich guy name ever. The 75-year-old Frist (far left) co-founded Hospital Corporation of America, which is apparently a big deal.

24. John Menard Jr., Wisconsin — $7.5 billion

Apparently “Menards” is a huge home improvement chain throughout the midwest. To boot, Menard himself has several partnerships throughout Nascar. This, as we know through Talladega Nights, is a very lucrative endeavor.

23. James Goodnight, North Carolina — $7.5 billion

The title of Mr. Goodnight’s PhD thesis at North Carolina State is pretty much all you need to know about the man who created a software empire: “Quadratic unbiased estimation of variance components in linear models with an emphasis on the one-way classification.” What.

22. Charles Johnson, Florida — $8.1 billion

Attention baseball fans: Johnson was in attendance for this catch in '54. These days Johnson owns the San Francisco Giants, who've won two of the last four world series. 

21. Pierre Omidyar, Hawaii — $8.2 billion

When it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.

20. Hank and Doug Meijer, Michigan — $8.39 billion

Meijer is really Wal-Mart’s only American competitor, and that’s good enough for us. But boy, that website looks like it was built in 1997 by a sixth grade homeroom class.

19. David Tepper, New Jersey — $10 billion

Hedge fund baller who owns 5% stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers. This would make a good epitaph. For anyone. 

18. Richard Cohen, New Hampshire — $11.2 billion

Ole Rick (right) is a grocery magnate who basically no one has ever heard of. Being a grocery magnate who no one's ever heard of might be one of the coolest things you can be.

17. Jack Taylor, Missouri — $12.8 billion

We’ll pick you up!

16. Ray Dalio, Connecticut — $14.4 billion

Mr. Dalio, at age 12, bought shares of Northeast Airlines for $300 and tripled his money several months later when the airline merged with another. These days Dalio runs Bridgewater Associates (which he founded), and in 2012 was on Time’s 100 most influential people list.

15. Harold Hamm, Oklahoma — $14.6 billion

Hamm has made a fortune in oil (this is Oklahoma, after all), but the sexier headlines lately have been a possible divorce ruling that could set a world record in settlement money, as his estranged wife is perhaps entitled to half of his current fortune.

14. Charles Ergen, Colorado — $15 billion

In 1980 Mr. Ergen was banned from a casino for allegedly counting cards. That same year, he began selling satellite TVs out of the trunk of his car throughout Denver, the beginnings of what would ultimately turn into EchoStar

13. Anne Cox Chambers, Georgia  — $15.5 billion

Ms. Chambers owns a significant portion of Cox Enterprises (TV and stuff) and is just overall a boss. The 94-year-old is a wide supporter of the arts and has donated serious money to education, receiving numerous honorary doctorates and awards for her work.

12. Abigail Johnson, Massachusetts — $17.3 billion

We have nothing snarky to say about Ms. Johnson. She is badass.

11. Phil Knight, Oregon — $18.4 billion

Just do it. Mr. Knight, founder of Nike, is known these days as outfitting the Oregon Ducks in the coolest uniforms ever seen on a football field. Yes, we're still 12-year-olds at heart. 

10. Jacqueline Mars, Virginia — $21 billion

Jackie is the heiress to the Mars, Inc. fortune, which processes like every piece of candy you’ve ever eaten in your life. Mmmm, Mars Bars.

9. Jim Walton, Arkansas — $34.7 billion

Everyday low prices. 

8. Alice Walton, Texas — $35 billion

One would think Ms. Walton would be able to afford a driver.

7. Christy Walton, Wyoming — $36.7 billion

Imagine the size of the apartment one could get in Wyoming with that kind of cash. Like at least a studio with 1.5 bath. 

6. Sheldon Adelson, Nevada — $37.5 billion

The 81-year-old casino mogul is breathtakingly hilarious. Here's just one example: “Asia can handle 10 Las Vegases. Maybe I’m a little off and it’s eight. Or maybe it’s 12.”

5. Charles Koch, Kansas — $40.4 billion

The Koch brothers are ruining the country.

4. David Koch, New York — $40.4 billion

They even made a movie about it.

3. Larry Ellison, California — $48 billion

Here’s some absurd perspective for you: In 2004, Forbes reported that Ellison donated $151,092,103 to charity. That’s ONE PERCENT of his personal fortune. Okay.

2. Warren Buffett, Nebraska — $58.2 billion

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO rules Nebraska—seriously, mention Buffett to any Nebraskan and they lose their s*** as if he’s a goddamn rock god. Which he is.

Perhaps the best piece of Mr. Buffett trivia is that he bought a five-bedroom house in Omaha for $31,500 in 1957 and still lives there. 

1. Bill Gates, Washington — $76 billion

Your entire life runs the way it does because of Bill Gates. The 58-year-old Gates, who may or may not have stolen the idea for Microsoft, is actually a pretty good dude. But let’s #neverforget how f****** awful this commercial series was.  


Ryan Hatch is the deputy editor of Supercompressor. In 2002, he was featured on Jermaine Dupri's hit single "Welcome to Atlanta" remix.

Ted Gushue is the executive editor of Supercompressor. In other words: mo money, mo problems, ya know?