Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Holding slips in wealth ranking

Drops to 101 on Forbesí list

Express Staff Writer

Earl Holding owns Sun Valley Co., Snowbasin ski resort in Utah, Sinclair Oil and several well-known lodging properties in the West, including the Grand America hotel in Salt Lake City. Photo by David N. Seelig

Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding was the only Idahoan to reach Forbes magazine's annual tally of America's 400 richest people. But he fell to position 101, making it the fourth year in a row that his ranking among the country's billionaires has fallen.

Forbes estimates his net worth at $3.1 billion. Last year, Holding was the nation's 93rd richest person with $3.3 billion. He was 77th in 2008, 63rd in 2007 and 59th in 2006 with $4.2 billion, which was a monumental year for Holding. Just a year earlier, Forbes had estimated Holding's net worth at $1.5 billion and ranked him 207, meaning he almost tripled his fortune from 2005 to 2006.

The 83-year-old owner of Sinclair Oil has more real estate in Salt Lake City than anyone but the Mormon Church, according to Forbes, and derives more than a third of his fortune from hotels and his two ski resorts, Sun Valley and Snowbasin in Utah.

Energy investments account for the bulk of his wealth. Even though he sold a Tulsa refinery for $130 million last year, he still owns two others and roughly 1,000 miles of pipeline.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates unsurprisingly remains at the top of the heap with an estimated net worth of $54 billion. The big surprise came from Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, who is estimated to be worth nearly $7 billion, more than tripling his $2 billion of last year. Zuckerberg, 26, increased his wealth, percentage wise, more than anyone else on the list. He also recently announced that he's donating $100 million to Newark, N.J., schools.

Trevon Milliard:

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