- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2002

As the economy shrunk, so did the fortunes of the region's wealthiest people.
Nine persons from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia made Forbes magazine's list of the 400 Richest Americans, released Friday, down from 11 a year ago.
A declining stock market and a slump in advertising and tourism slashed the net worth of several executives of companies in the region, and a lack of new business meant no new regional representatives on Forbes' list.
The declining number of locals on the list can be blamed on the sliding net worth of two local millionaires: AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case, once a billionaire, and Allegis Group CEO and Baltimore Ravens part-owner Stephen J. Bisciotti.
Mr. Case, once the high-flying CEO of Sterling, Va.-based America Online, lost more than $300 million in the past year as an advertising slump ate away at the value of the AOL Time Warner's Internet and publishing assets.
Forbes estimates Mr. Case's worth to be about $760 million, down from $1.1 billion last year, when he was number 211 on the list of the richest Americans. In 2000, at the tail-end of the technology boom, he was the ranked 189th, with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates remained the richest American, worth $43 billion, followed by Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, with $36 billion and Microsoft CEO Paul Allen, with $21 billion. Notable dropouts from the list included former General Electric CEO Jack Welch and embattled media tycoon Martha Stewart.
Many of the local rich stayed on the Forbes 400 but saw their ranking fall along with their net worth. The fortunes of Marriott Hotels founders Richard and John Willard Marriott fell nearly 30 percent as travel and tourism declined.
Richard Marriott saw his fortune drop from $1.4 billion to $1 billion since last year, and his Forbes ranking dropped to 209 from 158. John Willard Marriott, meanwhile, is now worth $840 million compared with $1.2 billion last year. His ranking fell to 285 from 189.
Other locals on the Forbes list included circus magnate Kenneth Feld, worth $775 million, down from $780 million last year and banker Bernard Francis Saul III, worth $775 million, down from $800 million last year.
There were, however, some signs of resiliency among the region's wealthiest.
The richest area residents remained brothers Forrest and John Mars, heirs to the Mars family candy fortune. Each is worth $10 billion and made $1 billion last year. Their Forbes ranking rose from 18 to 13.
The District's three richest men, Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson and Danaher Corp. founders Steven and Mitchell Rales each maintained their net worth at $1.3 billion.
Mr. Johnson sold BET to Viacom early last year for about $3 billion.
Meanwhile Danaher, best known as the maker of Craftsman Tools, showed itself to be one of the nation's sturdier manufacturing firms. A flurry of acquisitions in the last year have boosted the value of the company, and its stock price has avoided a precipitous dip even in the midst of a manufacturing slump.
Danaher Chairman Steven Rales, 51, owns more than 4 million shares of the company. His brother Mitchell, 45, heads the company's executive committee and owns about 2 million shares, each worth $58.59 at the end of trading on the New York Stock Exchange Friday.
While the Rales brothers and Mr. Johnson saw their net worth hold steady, their ranking in Forbes' 400 rose from 172 to 149.

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