4 Indiana billionaires on Forbes richest people list

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Forbes is out with its 28th list of the richest people in the world and there are 4 Indiana names on that list.

The rich get richer, is probably the best way to characterize this year’s Forbes billionaire list. Last year, all the billionaires together were worth $5.4 trillion, this year – their combined worth is $6.4 trillion.

Gayle Cook is number 240 on the list with a net worth of $5.8 billion. Her worth is $1.8 billion more this year than last year because of the stock market.

Retail developer and mall mogul, Herbert Simon, is worth $2.05 billion.

And billboard king turned hotel and real estate developer Dean White in Merrillville, Indiana, is worth $2 billion.

Colts owner Jim Irsay is also on the list, worth $1.6 billion.

So, does having these wealthy Hoosiers in the state impact the rest of us? Yes, it does, says IUPUI Economist Kyle Anderson.

He says not only do they pay state taxes, but they also contribute to the community in other ways.

“Very rich people tend to do philanthropy,” said Anderson. “They tend to give a lot of their money away. But that’s certainly beneficial, especially again, when it stays in Indiana,” said Anderson.

And, our billionaires donate and spend dollars in the community.

Herb Simon owns the Indiana Pacers, the Indiana Fever and has a stake in a minor league baseball team.

Dean White donated 2 million dollars to the Indianapolis Zoo for the Orangutan Exhibit and Research Center.

Gayle Cook and her late husband Bill donated $10 million to Northwestern University, but also spent $500 million of their fortune here at home in Indiana, restoring the French Lick resort.

In this story of numbers it’s important to note, there are 268 new billionaires this year, including 42 new female billionaires. And Bill Gates is back on top of the list with a net worth of $76 billion.

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