Colorado is losing billionaires. And most of the remaining members of this very exclusive club are leaking net worth during the global downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five Colorado residents made the 2020 Forbes 400, released last month, which tracks the richest Americans; all of them are billionaires. In 2017, Colorado boasted ten billionaires; this year, according to a real-time update from Forbes, that number is down to eight, with all but one of the survivors ranked lower among the world's 2,000-plus billionaires than they were three years ago. The majority are also worth less money overall, and one entry is down by more than two-thirds, suffering a loss in net worth of nearly $4 billion in just the last month.
The two Coloradans who didn't make Forbes's cut this year are Cargill MacMillan III and William MacMillan, who tied for ninth on the 2017 roster and 1,678th on the magazine's billionaires rundown that year; each was reported to have assets valued at $1.24 billion. Three years ago, they were two of fourteen related billionaires who owned control of Cargill, Inc., which Forbes described as "the largest private company in America." Today, the majority of the fourteen remain billionaires, but Cargill and William MacMillan have both been downgraded.
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There's a lot of that going around. Of the three Colorado billionaires who fell outside the Forbes 400, just one has a net worth greater than in 2017 — and all but one of the top five have seen their value dip over the past three years. That includes Colorado's former number one, whose net worth reportedly plummeted from more than $18 billion to around $9 billion as of early September. And right now, those assets are down to just over $5 billion.
Continue to see who landed where, supplemented by the amount of moolah the five richest Coloradans have earned or lost in the past month.
Number 8: GARY MAGNESS
2020 net worth: $1.1 billion
2017 net worth: $1.4 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 1851
2017 billionaires list ranking: 1468
2017 Colorado billionaires list ranking: 6
Bob Magness, Gary's dad, started TCI, a cable company that merged with AT&T a couple of decades back in a deal valued at around $50 billion. Gary has lived a public life, taking part in off-road truck racing and working with his wife, Sarah Siegel-Magness, as a movie producer. Their best-known film was 2009's Precious. In its report, Forbes highlights Magness's philanthropic acts (among them the Precious Center for Teen Leadership) and notes properties such as Colorado cattle ranches.
Number 7: THOMAS BAILEY
2020 net worth: $1.2 billion
2017 net worth: $1.1 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 1730
2017 billionaires list ranking: 1795
2017 Colorado billionaires list ranking: 10
Forbes points out that Thomas Bailey built his fortune by way of Janus, a mutual fund that he founded in Denver in 1969. The business was at its most profitable during the 1980s and 1990s, only to suffer a slide after the turn of the century. Bailey resigned as CEO of Janus in 2002 and sold his share in the business two years later for a reported $1.2 billion — and judging from his current worth, he's still got most of that nest egg. His current passions include horse breeding and fly fishing.
Number 6: KENNETH TUCHMAN
2020 net worth: $1.3 billion
2017 net worth: $1.3 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 1613
2017 billionaires list ranking: 1567
2017 Colorado billionaires list ranking: 7
Tuchman's wealth is based on his gigs as chairman and CEO of TeleTech, dubbed by Forbes as a "call center outsourcing giant." Here's part of his company bio:
Kenneth D. Tuchman sees the world from the customer’s perspective. In 1982, fed up with the way businesses were operating customer care as a burden and a cost center, he founded TeleTech to transform the way companies deliver the customer experience.
With his innate understanding of the power of data and technology to connect customers directly with brands, Tuchman saw the customer experience revolution on the horizon and built a company to lead it. His perspective on the importance of the customer as a strategic asset fuels TeleTech's culture of technology innovation and operational excellence. With a holistic approach that integrates strategy, process, technology, and execution capabilities, TeleTech helps its Global 1000 clients turn the complexities of customer care into a seamless competitive advantage that delivers customer loyalty and long-term sustainable economic growth.
Number 5: PAT STRYKER
2020 net worth: $2 billion
Net worth as of 9/10/20: $3 billion
2017 net worth: $2.9 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 1063
2017 billionaires list ranking: 717
2017 Colorado billionaires list ranking: 5
The size of Stryker's bank account is explained by the success of the Stryker Corporation, founded by her grandfather, a surgeon and inventor of medical devices. A Fort Collins resident, she's known for venture capital, real-estate development and philanthropy. In 2016, we detailed one of her gifts in the post "Colorado Billionaire Pat Stryker's Key Gift to National Lynching Memorial, Museum."
Number 4: JAMES LEPRINO
2020 net worth: $3.2 billion
Net worth as of 9/10/20: $3 billion
2017 net worth: $3 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 616
2017 billionaires list ranking: 660
2017 Colorado billionaires list ranking: 4
Forbes write: "James Leprino owns the world's largest mozzarella cheese maker, with $3.5 billion in estimated annual sales. His Leprino Foods is the exclusive supplier of cheese to Domino's, Papa John's and Pizza Hut. After graduating high school in 1956, he started working with his father full-time at his market. In 1958, after larger chain grocery stores had forced the Leprino market to close, the Leprino Foods cheese empire started with $615. Today, Leprino Foods has more than 50 patents. Those innovations are essentially how Leprino created the 'pizza cheese' that Americans eat today."
Number 3: CHARLES ERGEN
2020 net worth: $5.4 billion
Net worth as of 9/10/20: $9.3 billion
2017 net worth: $18.4 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 304
2017 billionaires list ranking: 47
2017 Colorado billionaires list ranking: 1
Back in 1980, Forbes reports, Ergen was selling satellite dishes from the back of a truck to customers in the Denver metro area; he also worked as a professional gambler while in college before being ejected from a Las Vegas casino for card-counting. From these humble beginnings sprang DISH Network, which made Ergen the wealthiest person in Colorado in 2017. Not anymore.
Number 2: JOHN MALONE
2020 net worth: $5.8 billion
Net worth as of 9/10/20: $6.6 billion
2017 net worth: $7.6 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 274
2017 billionaires list ranking: 174
2017 Colorado billionaires list ranking: 3
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Malone's nickname, the Cable Cowboy, sprang from his success with the cable TV firm TCI, where he served as the right-hand man to the aforementioned Bob Magness. He became CEO of the outfit at age 29, then sold it to AT&T in 1999 for approximately $50 billion. His Liberty Media owns the Atlanta Braves and the auto-racing league Formula 1.
Number 1: PHILIP ANSCHUTZ
2020 net worth: $11 billion
Net worth as of 9/10/20: $10.1 billion
2017 net worth: $12.7 billion
2020 billionaires list ranking: 118
2017 billionaires list ranking: 96
Colorado billionaires list ranking: 2
Anschutz is an enigma. Starting with the assets from his father's oil business, he's built an empire that includes railroads, real estate and very public businesses such as entertainment, sports and media, including the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper and the new Denver Gazette . But personally, Anschutz steers clear of the press. Like most of the people on this list, he'd rather count his money than talk about it.