In a booming, opportunity city full of tycoons, which billionaire reigns supreme? That honor goes to Richard Kinder, the pipeline mogul worth $6.2 billion — who is also a familiar name in philanthropic circles as a chief benefactor of Memorial Park. Locals may also recognize his name on the new Museum of Fine Arts, Houston building.
Kinder, and his wife, Nancy, join an impressive list of Texans on the 2020 edition of the Forbes 400, which ranks the 400 richest Americans and was released September 8. (See their methodology here.) "Pandemic be damned: America’s 400 richest are worth a record $3.2 trillion, up $240 billion from a year ago, aided by a stock market that has defied the virus," Forbes writes.
Around Houston, the richest-of-the-rich list looks similar to recent years. Here's how local billionaires rank nationally in 2020 and how their wealth has fared:
- Richard Kinder — $6.2 billion, No. 103. Last year: $7.5 billion.
- Pipeline heirs Dannine Avara, Scott Duncan, Milane Frantz, and Randa Duncan Williams — $4.8 billion each, No. 139. Last year: $6.3 billion.
- Houston Rockets owner and restaurant kingpin Tilman Fertitta — $4.1 billion, No. 181. Last year: $4.9 billion.
- Toyota titan Dan Friedkin of Houston — $4.1 billion, No. 181. Last year: $4 billion.
- Houston Texans co-founder Janice McNair — $3.9 billion, No. 197. Last year: $4 billion.
- Houston energy executive Jeffery Hildebrand — $3.6 billion, No. 222. Last year: $3.8 billion.
- Former hedge fund manager John Arnold — $3.3 billion, No. 249. Last year: $3.3 billion.
Meanwhile, Walmart heiress Alice Walton of Fort Worth has retained her status as the richest Texan and America’s richest woman in 2020, with a net worth estimated this year at $62.3 billion. That compares with $51.4 billion in 2019.
Walton moved up from No. 11 last year to No. 10 this year in the Forbes ranking of the richest Americans.
From 2019 to 2020, Walton’s net worth jumped by $10.9 billion. To give you an idea of how much money that is, the size of the economy in Africa’s Republic of Congo totaled $10.8 billion in 2019. Walton’s entire net worth is slightly more than the size of the Costa Rican economy (nearly $61.8 billion in 2019).
Here’s the regional breakdown for Texas’ remaining Forbes 400 billionaires.
- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — $8.6 billion, No. 56. Last year: $8.6 billion.
- Dallas banker and real estate investor Andy Beal — $7.6 billion, No. 67. Last year: $9.8 billion.
- Fort Worth oil and gas heir Robert Bass — $4.8 billion, No. 139. Last year: $4.9 billion.
- Dallas oil and gas heir Ray Lee Hunt — $4.6 billion, No. 154. Last year: $5.2 billion.
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban — $4.2 billion, No. 177. Last year: $4.1 billion.
- Margot Birmingham Perot, widow of Dallas tech entrepreneur Ross Perot — $4 billion, No. 186. Last year: $4.2 billion.
- Fort Worth private equity titan David Bonderman — $4 billion, No. 186. Last year: $3.7 billion.
- Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym king Robert Rowling of Dallas — $3.9 billion, No. 197. Last year: $5.5 billion.
- Oil and gas chief Trevor Rees-Jones of Dallas — $3.5 billion, No. 228. Last year: $3.7 billion.
- Dallas pipeline executive Kelcy Warren — $2.8 billion, No. 299. Last year: $4.3 billion.
- Dallas real estate honcho H. Ross Perot Jr. — $2.5 billion, No. 339. Last year: $2.2 billion.
- Fort Worth oil heir Sid Bass — $2.3 billion, No. 359. Last year: $3.1 billion.
- Dallas banker Gerald Ford — $2.1 billion, No. 391. Last year: $2.3 billion.
- Michael Dell, tech magnate — $35.6 billion, No. 18. Last year: $32.3 billion.
- Robert Smith, private equity entrepreneur — $6.2 billion, No. 125. Last year: $5 billion.
- Bert “Tito” Beveridge, vodka tycoon — $4.6 billion, No. 154. Last year: $4.2 billion.
- Thai Lee, tech entrepreneur — $3.1 billion, No. 268. Last year: $3 billion.
- Joe Liemandt, software entrepreneur — $3 billion, No. 278. Last year: $3 billion.
- John Paul DeJoria, hair care and tequila mogul — $2.7 billion, No. 319. Last year: $3.1 billion.
- Jim Breyer, venture capitalist — $2.4 billion, No. 353. Last year: $2.5 billion. (Breyer recently relocated from Silicon Valley to Austin).
- Brian Sheth, private equity entrepreneur — $2.3 billion, No. 359. Last year: $2.2 billion.
Of note, in just one year, Dell’s net worth soared by $3.3 billion — more than the entire net worth of fellow Austin billionaire Thai Lee. The chairman and CEO of the Round Rock-based tech company that bears his name is Austin's richest resident.
Elsewhere in Texas:
- Walmart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke — $8.4 billion, No. 58. Last year: $7.5 billion.
- Real estate, sports, and entertainment big shot Stan Kroenke — $8.3 billion, No. 59. Last year: $9.7 billion. (The Kroenkes live on a massive ranch near the North Texas town of Vernon.)
- Investor and former grocery distributor Drayton McLane Jr. of Temple — $2.8 billion, No. 299. Last year: $2.6 billion. McLane is former owner of the Houston Astros.
- Hearing-aid mogul Bill Austin of Brownsville — $2.2 billion, No. 378. Last year: $2.4 billion.