Michael Milken

Michael Milken Photo by Courtesy Photo

The money and the buzz on each of L.A.’s wealthiest.

THE MONEY: Said to have invested in distressed companies and debt – and already seeing strong returns. Education investments through private holding firm Knowledge Universe remained flat as demand for private education services lagged amid high unemployment.

BUZZ: Jumped into spotlight authoring opinion pieces for Wall Street Journal and Financial Times on Obama presidency, health care reform and capital markets. Hosted 13th annual Milken Institute Global Conference in April, bringing out VIPs Sumner Redstone, Ted Turner and Irving Azoff. Business career going strong. Knowledge Universe acquired Busy Bees, Britain’s largest child care group from Australia’s bankrupt ABC Learning Centres. Lost out in bidding war for 700 more ABC centers. Still, couldn’t shake reputation as junk-bond king. Media often compared Wall Street executives embroiled in financial crisis to Milken during ’80s takeover boom. Began career at Drexel Burnham in 1969, engineering issuance of high-yield bonds for noninvestment grade companies. Indicted for securities fraud in 1989; pled guilty to six felony counts, served 22 months in prison and paid $200 million in fines. Milken and brother Lowell continue philanthropy through Milken Family Foundation, funding medical research and educational causes.

NET WORTH: $1.31 billion +25%

LAST YEAR: $1.05 billion

AGE: 63

RESIDENCE: Los Angeles

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Investments

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