Four Hoosiers rate among 400 wealthiest in U.S.

The widow of medical device industry pioneer Bill Cook again is the top Hoosier on the latest Forbes 400 list of the nation’s wealthiest people, and this time has cracked the top 100.

Gayle Cook, 79, of Bloomington rose 19 spots on the list to finish 85th with a net worth of $5.2 billion, according to the annual list released Monday. In 2012, she was ranked 104th with a net worth of $3.7 billion. Bill Cook, who died in April 2011, founded Cook Group Inc. in Bloomington.

Simon Property Group co-founder and Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon fell in the rankings, settling at No. 293 this year with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Simon, 78, was ranked 218th last year with a net worth of $2.2 billion.

Hotelier Dean White, 90, of Crown Point was the next wealthiest Hoosier, ranking No. 296 with $1.9 billion.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, 54, lost yardage on the list, dropping from No. 311 to 342th. His net worth actually increased from $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is the richest American for the 20th year in a row and has reclaimed the title of world’s richest person from Mexico’s Carlos Slim with a net worth of $72 billion. Warren Buffett, again No. 2, was the year’s biggest dollar gainer, having added $12.5 billion to his fortune for a total of $58.5 billion.

Facebook’s hot stock pumped up Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune by $9.6 billion, leaving him with $19 billion. That total put him back into the top 20 after missing the top cut last year.

Five years after the financial crisis sent the fortunes of many in the U.S. and around the world tumbling, the wealthiest as a group have finally gained back all that they lost, according to Forbes.

The 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion, roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of Russia. That is a gain of $300 billion from a year ago, and more than double a decade ago.

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