Forbes richest Americans list includes 11 from Michigan

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Michigan is home to 11 of the nation’s richest people, among them Mike and Marian Ilitch who saw their wealth jump by more than $1 billion in the last year, according to Forbes magazine.

In releasing its list of the 400 wealthiest Americans Tuesday, the magazine said the Bingham Farms couple, who founded the Little Caesars pizza chain, joined the list of the top 100 wealthiest Americans this year, ranking 88th in wealth. Last year they were ranked 122 on the list.

The Ilitches’ net worth rose to $5.4 billion — up $1.4 billion from last year — and up from a $2.7 billion estimate in 2013 by the magazine. The couple jointly owns the Detroit Red Wings; he owns the Detroit Tigers and she owns MotorCity Casino Hotel.

The Meijer family, owner of the eponymous privately held grocery and retail chain, is worth $7.9 billion, making them the wealthiest family in the state.

The magazine, which updates the rankings several times throughout the year, put brothers Hank and Doug Meijer’s wealth at $10.7 billion in March. They slipped from 55th in the rankings to 58th in the last few months. Both are co-chairman of Meijer. Hank Meijer is CEO of the company founded by their grandfather. The company operates 220 stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky and expanded to Wisconsin earlier this year.

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Amway co-founder Richard DeVos of Holland is the 84th wealthiest, worth $5.6 billion, down $100 million from an earlier estimate and his rank of 83rd last year. DeVos, 89, owns the Orlando Magic, in addition to co-founding the Ada-based consumer products firm.

Franklin businessman Dan Gilbert fell sharply in the ranking — to 149th richest American — compared to 117th last year.

Gilbert — who controls about 40 companies led by Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. and is a major mover and real estate holder in downtown Detroit — is worth $3.8 billion, down from an estimate of $4.7 billion in March and $4.2 billion in September 2014. Gilbert also owns the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Two members of the Stryker family, whose company makes replacement joints and other medical devices, and its former CEO are on the list.

Ronda Stryker, the Portage granddaughter of the founder, is worth $3.7 billion and came in at 159th in the rankings. Her brother, Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo, is worth $2.1 billion and ranked 327th. The company’s former CEO, John Brown, is worth $2.2 billion and ranked 307th.

Roger Penske, 78, of Birmingham, who is worth $2 billion, jumped to 342nd — up from 386th — up $700 million over the last year. He owns the Penske Auto Group, a group of more than 300 auto dealerships worldwide. Forbes said during the recession, Penske's net worth briefly fell below $1 billion — and it's still below the $2.7 billion that Forbes said he was worth in 2008.

Tying with Penske is Manuel "Matty" Moroun, 88, and his family, who control the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit and several trucking firms. His ranking is 342nd. The magazine pegged the Morouns net worth at $2 billion, up $300 million over last year.

Off the list is the late real estate magnate Alfred Taubman, 89, of Bloomfield Hills who died April 17 and whose wealth was listed earlier this year at $3.1 billion.

Also not on the list this year is Martha Firestone Ford, 90, the widow of William Clay Ford, the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford and an owner of the Detroit Lions. She was part of an earlier list of global billionaires released in March and reportedly worth $1.5 billion.