Think you can name Tampa’s 5 richest billionaires? Chances are you won’t get many of them because none are big time Hollywood movie stars or lead singers of big bands you’d hear on the radio. The Tampa area’s billionaires are mostly those who’ve made their fortune in business. The richest of the bunch probably sold you the couch you sat on when you watched TV last night.

This list comes from the annual report from Forbes magazine. Forbes says there are more billionaires in 2024 than ever before. Around the world, you’ll find almost 2,800 with a billion in the bank. Most live in the United States. China is right behind us.

Who topped the list of the richest worldwide?

So who is the richest of the rich? They say Bernard Arnault tops this year’s list with a worth of about $230 BILLION! If his name doesn’t ring a bell, some of the brands he represents will. Louis Vuitton, Sephora and about 75 other fashion and cosmetic companies are under his watch. Ya know… basically all those places at International Plaza that try to take your paycheck. He’s officially a resident of France so who’s the richest one here in the United States? You probably have it narrowed down to 2.

Tesla owner Elon Musk and Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos are in a close battle for the runner up spot. Forbes says Elon is worth $195 billion and Bezos is $1 billion behind him. Facebook head Mark Zukerberg has a mere $177 billion so he’s in 4th place worldwide. Other familiar names that round out the top 10 here in the U.S. include Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

Who are Tampa’s 5 Richest Billionaires?

But what about the Bay area billionaires? Here are the 5 who can easily afford to dine at Bern’s every day of the week… twice. Actually let’s face it. They could all pretty much buy Bern’s if they wanted to.

  • #1: Ronald Waneck of St. Pete

    His name probably isn’t familiar to you. But chances are you’ve driven by an Ashley Furniture store lately. St. Pete’s Ronald Waneck founded the company. Forbes says he’s worth a cool $5.3 billion! That’s a lotta ottomans. The Tampa Bay Times reported Wanek has a $3.7 million waterfront estate in Treasure Island with a 600 bottle wine room, home theater and an Italian pool with a swim up bar.

    ashley furniture

    (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for DFS)

  • #2: Robert Duggan of Clearwater

    Worth almost $4 billion, this businessman invested in a drug to fight cancer after his son died from brain cancer, according to Fox 13.  It was a smart investment as they say it made him a billionaire.

    (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

    (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

  • #3: Edward DeBartolo Jr. of Tampa

    A real estate success story.  DeBartolo also owned the NFL’s San Francisco 49’ers for quite a long time. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2016 but after getting into some legal trouble on bribery charges, he was given a pardon by Donald Trump in 2020.

    TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 15: Former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. of the San Francisco 49ers watches warmups before play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers December 15, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The 49ers won 33 – 14. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

  • #4: Todd Christopher of Clearwater

    One of the younger billionaires on the list, Todd is worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes.  Not bad for a high school dropout huh?  He started a line of hair care products in 1987 and eventually sold it to Johnson & Johnson.

    Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

  • #5: Todd Waneck of St. Pete

    Name sound familiar?  Yup.  Todd is the son of the one that came in at #1.  Todd is Ashley Furniture’s current CEO.  In 2006, according to Wikipedia, Todd received the Spirit of Life award for his fundraising for cancer research.

    Todd just edges out Sarasota’s Kenneth Feld of Feld Entertainment (the ones behind Disney on Ice, Monster Jam and other live events) to take the last spot in the top 5.

    Todd Waneck of St. Pete

    (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

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