West Michigan billionaires rank among Forbes’ 400 ‘wealthiest in America’


Hank Meijer addresses a crowd of employees at the opening of a Meijer superstore. Courtesy Meijer

A group of West Michigan business tycoons are again ranked on a list of the wealthiest people in the U.S.

The 2017 “Forbes 400” list was published yesterday, revealing the top 400 of the country’s richest people, with a combined net worth of $2.7 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion last year.

Forbes said individuals on this year’s list have a minimum net worth of $2 billion, up from $1.7 billion a year ago, and their average net worth is $6.7 billion, up from $6 billion last year.

Of the 400 ranked individuals, Forbes said 22 are new to the list this year, including Rocco Commisso, founder of the cable TV and broadband firm Mediacom and owner of the New York Cosmos soccer club (No. 150, $4.5 billion), and Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder (No. 359, $2.2 billion).

Bill Gates landed the leading spot for the 24th consecutive year, with a net worth of $89 billion, up from $81 billion last year.

The richest woman on the list is Alice Walton, daughter of Walmart co-founder Sam Walton, at No. 13, with a net worth of $38.2 billion.

On this year’s list, President Donald Trump ranks at No. 248, with a net worth of $3.1 billion, down $600 million from last year, when his rank was 156. In 2015, his net worth was at an all-time high of $4.5 billion, which put him at No. 121 on the 2015 list.

West Michigan in the ranking

73.   Hank Meijer and Doug Meijer, Meijer, Walker – $7 billion

107. Richard DeVos, Amway, Ada – $5.4 billion

132. Ronda Stryker, Stryker, Kalamazoo – $4.8 billion

248. John Brown, retired chairman of Stryker – $3.1 billion

Other Michiganders

91.   Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans, Detroit – $5.8 billion

108. Marian Illitch, Little Caesars, Detroit Red Wings, Motor City Casino, Bingham Farms – $5.2 billion

359. William Young, Plastipak, Ypsilanti – $2.2 billion

Top 10

1.   Bill Gates, Microsoft – $89 billion

2.   Jeff Bezos, Amazon – $81.5 billion

3.   Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway – $78 billion

4.   Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook – $71 billion

5.   Larry Ellison, software – $59 billion

6.   Charles Koch, diversified – $48.5 billion

6.   David Koch, diversified – $48.5 billion

8.   Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg LP – $46.8 billion

9.   Larry Page, Google – $44.6 billion

10. Sergey Brin, Google – $43.4 billion

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