#49 – Steven Udvar-Hazy
Net Worth: $520 million -82%
Last Year: $2.9 billion
Residence: Beverly Hills
Source of Wealth: Aircraft leasing
AIG stock lost 97 percent of value in 2008, wiping out most of fortune that Udvar-Hazy amassed after selling jet leasing company to insurance giant 36 years ago. Smaller stake in Skywest Airlines dropped 51 percent as air travelers stayed home. Remains on list because of remaining portfolio of holdings presumed to have suffered smaller losses.
International Lease Financing owns largest airplane fleet in world with more than 950 craft. Ironically, aviation subsidiary achieved solid profits in 2008, despite troubles at AIG, which stemmed from bad bets on housing market. Chairman and chief executive of ILFC tried to buy company back, announcing at airline industry conference he was ?ooking to close on the deal by March 2009.?But investors balked at ILFC? debt load of $31 billion and buy-back never materialized. Later ruffled feathers among plane makers with prediction Boeing and Airbus will face 30 percent to 35 percent cancellation of orders in 2009 as economic downturn clips air travel. Native Hungarian attended UCLA, then launched ILFC in 1973. He and partners sold it to insurance giant AIG in 1990 for $1.3 billion in stock. Century City office decorated with 2,000 model planes. Donation of $65 million put his name on Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.