Forbes’ annual look at the 400 richest Americans was released last month, so I thought I would again take a look at the Mormons on the list, and was surprised to find a different Mormon on top of the list. Aaron B. claimed last May that Steven Udvar-Házy is LDS, and I have been able to verify that at least his wife is from an LDS family. Udvar-Házy now tops the Mormons on the Forbes list.
Others on the list have moved around also since this past May. Richard Peery has jumped from #5 among Mormons to #3, while the Marriott brothers have dropped and switched positions.
Udvar-Házy is a Hungarian immigrant who grew up in New York City and Los Angeles. He essentially invented the aircraft leasing business when he started International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in 1973 with two partners, growing the business from handling a single plane to thousands. Udvar-Házy continued to run ILFC after it was purchased by AIG in 1990 in a transaction that made him a billionaire. But when AIG was bailed out by the government in 2008, the resulting restrictions led him to retire in 2010, and then attempt to buy back the company. When that failed, he started a new leasing firm, Air Lease Corp.
Steve Hazy, as he is often known, has also become a large donor, usually to aircraft-related concerns. He is perhaps best known for his $66 million donation to the U.S. National Air and Space Museum, which created the Museum’s large annex near Dulles Airport in suburban Virginia, which will eventually house more than 300 aircraft. He also provided funding for the Christine and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Library and Learning Center at the Prescott Campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Closer to home for many Mormons, Hazy funded the Udvar-Hazy School of Business at Dixie College in St. George, Utah. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Skywest Airlines (also owned by LDS Church members).
Still, I must admit that all I can verify is that his wife seems to come from an LDS family, although Aaron B. claims that she was Relief Society President at one point in a ward covering the part of Beverly Hills, California where they live.
Here’s the list as it now stands from Forbes:
#107 – Steven Udvar-Házy $3.2 billion (up from $2.8 billion in May)
#117 – James Jannard $3.0 billion (same as in May)
#227 – Richard Peery $1.9 billion (up from $1.5 billion in May)
#312 – Richard Marriott $1.4 billion (down from $1.8 billion in May)
#331 – J. Willard (Bill) Marriott $1.3 billion (down from $1.9 billion in May)
To be honest, many of these changes are due to changes in the values of stock and real estate holdings, which have seen significant changes in the current uncertain economy. May’s list was based on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires, where as this list is based on its list of the 400 richest Americans. Udvar-Házy was not included in the main part of May’s list, but was mentioned in the comments by Aaron B.
[Last May I addressed whether or not we should care about who are on these lists. If you object to this, please read that post first before commenting — I don’t see the point in repeating what was said then.]