42) David Murdock (down arrow)
Source of Wealth: Real estate, finance, agriculture
Net Worth: $620 million
Last Year's Rank: 21
Background: Made fortune in Arizona, California, and Hawaii real estate development from the '60s through '80s. Controlling shareholder as well as chairman and chief executive of both Dole Food Co. and real estate developer Castle & Cooke Inc. Owns a slew of private companies, most lucrative being Flexi-Van Leasing, the nation's largest truck-chassis lessor.
Money Track: Between Hurricane Mitch and European import restrictions on bananas, it's been a tough year for Dole and hence Murdock. Dole's stock is down 25 percent from last year, putting a $168 million dent in his net worth. In April, just before the World Trade Organization ruled against European restrictions on banana imports, Murdock bought an additional $43.7 million in Dole shares. Secret weapon is the unglamorous Flexi-Van, which Murdock owns completely, and earns him millions a year.
Buzz: Murdock has poured fortunes in pet projects with mixed track records. Transferred Dole-owned pineapple plantations in Hawaii into a tourist resort at a cost of $550 million. The resort was a bust. Two years ago, he spent $285 million of his own money on Sherwood Country Club & Estates in Ventura County. Borrowed heavily from his truck-leasing company last year in order to finance the divorce from third wife. He owns a 64-room mansion in Bel Air that he bought in 1980 for $12.5 million. Also has a 2,000-acre ranch in Ventura County and a 12-room apartment in New York, decorated at a cost of $10 million. One of L.A.'s biggest Republican donors.
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