Who Are Our Tennessee Billionaires?



The Forbes 400 annual list of the richest people in the U.S. is out and Pith readers will be interested to know there are five Tennesseans who made the cut, including three from the Nashville area ...

No. 90 — Thomas Frist, Jr. & Family
Net worth: $5B
Source of wealth: Health care
(2012 rank: 92)

First on the list, the Frist family, scions of HCA. For a little perspective, we'd point out that last year's City Paper look at the most expensive homes in Nashville had three of the top five in the family.

No. 143 — Martha Ingram & Family
Net worth: $3.4B
Source of wealth: book distribution, transportation
(2012 rank: 151)

The symphony's savior has long been a patron of the arts and education in Nashville. The family's money comes from Ingram Barge and Ingram Content, one of the largest publishers in the world.

No. 243 — Frederick Smith
Net worth: $2.3B
Source of wealth: FedEx
(2012 rank: 271)

Our favorite story about the richest man in Memphis (and co-owner of the Washington NFL franchise with Daniel Snyder) is how he took FedEx's last $5,000 to Vegas and gambled it on blackjack in order to come up with the money for a jet fuel bill in the '70s.

No. 273 — Brad Kelley
Net worth: $2B
Source of wealth: Tobacco
(2012 rank: 250)

Kelley sold Commonwealth Brands — a discount cigarette manufacturer — a decade ago for $1B. His NC2 Media bought Lonely Planet guidebooks last year. The Land Report estimates that he is the fourth largest landowner in the U.S.

No. 369 — Jimmy Haslam
Net worth: $1.45B
Source of wealth: Retail
(2012 rank: 360)

The CEO of Pilot Flying J — and brother of Gov. Bill Haslam — is currently dealing with an FBI investigation of his company for fraud issues (as well as corresponding civil litigation). Oh, and the company may have a few billion dollars in debt. His Cleveland Browns are now on their third quarter back in three games. This has not been a good year for Team Haslam.

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