Net Worth:

$3.6 billion +6%

Last Year:

$3.4 billion




Beverly Hills

Source of Wealth:

Airplane leasing

The Money: Founder, chairman and chief executive of jet plane leasing pioneer International Lease Finance Corp., now owned by American International Group. Udvar-Hazy holds about $1.5 billion in AIG stock and saw his net worth grow along with the market capitalization of the insurance behemoth. Holds about $1.6 billion in other public companies, and some private investments.

Buzz: His Century City company owns more than 800 Boeing and Airbus jets which are leased to airlines around the world giving it a far bigger fleet than its customers. Shocked airline industry last year when he publicly criticized the speed and design of Airbus' new A350 midsize jet, helping send the plane back to the drawing board and costing the manufacturer billions. Closer to home, created controversy when his real estate company Emerald Financial bought up land in Laguna Beach and planned to shut down a landmark gay nightclub for a development. In response to flap, Udvar-Hazy extended the club's lease. Hungarian-born entrepreneur escaped oppressive Communist government when his family moved to Sweden, then to U.S. in 1958. Joined with fellow & #233;migr & #233;s Leslie and Louis Gonda to launch International Lease Finance in 1973, starting with a used DC-8. Sold to American International Group in 1990 for stock, but remains chairman. Also sits on the board of Utah-based Skywest Airlines. A lifelong aviation hobbyist, he gave $66 million to put his name on the Steven Udvar-Hazy Center at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.

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