Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hoosier Billionaires

Forbes magazine released its list of the 400 richest people in America. Four Hoosiers made the list, including:

No. 68. William Cook, 76, worth $4.5 billion accumulated through the medical devices business.

No. 130. Melvin Simon, 80, $2.9 billion from real estate.

No. 286. Dean White, 84, worth $1.7 billion from the billboard and hotel business.

No. 317. Herbert Simon, 72, $1.5 billion from real estate

Only one of these men goes about his business without asking for government subsidies. Can you guess which one it is?

UPDATE: The sad truth is that none of these men can say they've gone about their business without government subsidies. I thought Bill Cook qualified for that distinction, but upon reviewing evidence of subsidies for the French Lick casino, it looks like he too has accepted directed subsidies from the government.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

My guess is # 68 William Cook


Simon's take money from the tax payers if not direct in the way of subsidy and since the other is in the Hotel business, I would suspect that he also feeds from the public trough. Am I close or did I blow it completely?

Steve said...

I'm guessing Cook.

Advance Indiana said...

It's Cook by a long shot. Even his investment in the French Lick casino is in the form of a public benefit corporation he created.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong. Cook Group received a ten year property tax abatement for a project in Monroe County that they would have built anyway.

Advance Indiana said...

If you include tax abatement, you include every significant business in the state of Indiana. I was thinking more in terms of direct subsidies from the government.

Anonymous said...

If you include tax abatement, you include every significant business in the state of Indiana.

Then why did you make a big deal of it when Stephen Hilbert's newest venture received a property tax abatement?

Advance Indiana said...

More specifically, I was commenting on this reports in the Star with regard to Hilbert:

"Haverstick Consulting, the tech and business services company led by ex-Conseco chief Stephen Hilbert, is moving from Carmel to Indianapolis," writes the Star's Erika Smith. "In exchange for relocating, the city of Indianapolis offered property tax abatement worth more than $68,000, and IEDC offered Haverstick up to $30,000 in training grants."

For the already existing business at the same location:

"The state is providing New Sunshine up to $420,000 in tax credits and $92,000 in training grants. The city is providing $126,000 in a property-tax abatement. New Sunshine employs 314 people."