Indianapolis, IN

The 2 billionaires who live in Indianapolis

Ash Jurberg
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Recently Forbes released their richest 400 list. This features the wealthiest 400 people in the United States. Since that list was published, I have been writing articles on a number of these people, and today it is time to look at the two people who made this list that live in Indianapolis.

The wealthiest person in Indianapolis

Jim Irsay has a net worth of $3.5 billion. This makes him the 333rd richest person in the United States as well as the wealthiest in Indianapolis.

Of course, his name will be well known to the people of Indianapolis as the owner of the Indianapolis Colts.

Irsay was born in Illinois in 1959. He went to high school in Illinois before attending Southern Methodist University to study broadcast journalism. He played linebacker for his college team before an ankle injury ended his on-field football career. However, this led to the beginning of his off-field career with the Colts- a team he had grown up with since his father Robert purchased them in 1972.

When Robert Irsay relocated his NFL team from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984, Jim was promoted to Vice President and General Manager. When Robert suffered a stroke in 1995, Jim assumed day-to-day management of the team. Robert died in 1997, which led to a legal fight between Jim and his stepmother over the ownership of the team.

Jim won the legal stoush, and at the age of just 37, he became the youngest NFL team owner at the time. Since he became owner, the Colts have improved their on-field success- earning 14 winning seasons as well winning the Super Bowl in 2006.

His tenure hasn't been without controversy. In 2014 the NFL suspended Irsay for six games and fined him $500,000 following a charge for DUI issued by Hamilton County court.

" I've always felt like I had a personal relationship with fans. I'm not afraid to be emotional or vulnerable or humble." Jim Irsay

The other Indianapolis billionaire

Just behind Irsay is Herb Simon. He placed at number 340 on the list with a net worth of $3.4 billion.

Simon was born in 1934 and grew up in the Bronx in New York, the son of a tailor who emigrated from Central Europe.

In 1960 he started the Simon Property Group with his brother Melvin. Their first project was developing strip malls in Indianapolis. They grew the business substantially and in 1993 were able to list their business in what is the largest initial public offering of a real estate investment trust to date. Their company is now one of the world's largest real estate investment trusts. It owns 233 properties across the globe.

Like Irsay, Simon owns a major Indiana sports franchise.

In 1983, Simon and his brother Mel purchased the NBA's Indiana Pacers from Sam Nassi and Frank Mariani. The Pacers are now worth $1.5 billion. He is also the owner of the WNBA's Indiana Fever.

One other billionaire in Indiana

There is one more billionaire in Indiana- Carl Cook, who lives in Bloomington.

Cook has a net worth of $9.9 billion which ranks him at 230 in the world. Last year was an excellent year for Cook as his net worth increased by $1.9 billion.

Cook can thank his father, Bill, for his vast fortune. Bill Cook founded the Cook Group- a privately held company based in Bloomington that manufactures medical devices. Together with his wife Gayle, they started the company in their small Bloomington apartment in 1963. When Bill passed away in 2011, Carl took over as CEO of Cook Group.

The Cooks started with making catheters, needles, and wire guides from the spare room in their Bloomington apartment. Bill Cook invested $1,500 into a soldering iron, a blowtorch, and plastic tubing and from that was able to make catheters. The business has since grown to over 16,000 products that are sold in 135 countries. It has revenue of over $2 billion and employs over 12,000 people.

Readers, have you met either of the Indianapolis billionaires? What was the experience like? Would you like to see them invest some of their wealth back into the Indianapolis community?

As always, please leave your comments in the section below.


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