Boston’s Billionaires Club
They’re rich. They’re powerful. And combined, they’re worth more than the GDP of a small country. These are our area’s highest-net-worth tycoons.
Michael Stern has the goods on the one percent. His vast repository of intel on Massachusetts’ millionaires and billionaires, called AffluenceIQ, is packed with everything from their biographies and hobbies to the values of their enviable manses down the Cape. “My kids call me a stalker,” says Stern, who curates his subscription-based database by poring over public records and following tips. Who needs all of this inside information? Think hedge fund managers and real estate agents, not to mention the state’s many charitable organizations and colleges. We partnered with AffluenceIQ to bolster our look at the area’s wealthiest power players.
1. Sheldon Adelson
Born to limited means in Dorchester, this self-made casino mogul amassed his fortune in fields as diverse as candy machines and trade-show organizing before settling in as CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. And Adelson, a prominent GOP donor who has infamously dabbled in newspapers, hasn’t shied away from using his wealth to influence politics and boost nonprofits in the Hub, even siphoning a cool $1 million into last year’s campaign to quash marijuana legalization. Though he spends much of his time on the Strip, he still comes home to a sprawling $5.5 million estate in Newton.
2. Abigail Johnson
3. Ned Johnson III
When Ned Johnson III, the longtime head of Fidelity, announced his retirement last year, it surprised no one when his daughter Abigail was coronated as chairwoman of the company founded by her grandfather Edward C. Johnson II in 1946. Named CEO in 2014, the 55-year-old Milton resident is now calling all the shots at a firm that has more than $2 trillion in assets—and continuing to quietly flex her philanthropic muscles as well. Look for Abigail and the rest of the powerful Johnson clan on boards shaping the arts, the Ivy League, medicine, public parks, and more.
4. John Grayken
Proficient in the dark arts of the distressed-assets business, the Lone Star Funds founder has enough money to live wherever he damn well pleases. His list of addresses includes the whole of Cohasset’s Whitehead Island and Millennium Tower’s 13,000-square-foot penthouse (at $33 million, the most expensive condo ever sold in Boston). But those are just part-time pads: After renouncing his U.S. citizenship in 1999 for tax purposes, he now spends most of his time overseas, where he owns a $70 million mansion in London and the sprawling Irish estate featured in the 1976 movie The Omen.
5. Jim Davis
As head of New Balance, Boston’s king of reasonably priced running sneakers has spent the first half of this decade constructing what he hopes will be the city’s epicenter of sweat, a project near the Allston/Brighton line that he’s calling Boston Landing. Surrounding Davis’s world headquarters will eventually be a hotel, apartments, fitness-focused shops, restaurants, and a sprawling sports complex. Further proof that he’s about way more than sneakers: over $70 million in donations to Middlebury College, his alma mater, as well as the support of charities through the New Balance Foundation.
6. Bob Kraft
The winningest owner in the NFL, Bob Kraft is the only Boston billionaire whose portfolio centerpiece is a 6-foot-4 health nut in Uggs. But there’s more to his legacy than an unbeatable football team: The owner of the Patriots and the New England Revolution is now among investors in the UFC, alongside Tom Brady, Mark Wahlberg, and Ben Affleck. When he’s not taking in a private Rolling Stones concert, the dynamic philanthropist, who has given more than $100 million to charity, is unwinding at his $11.2 million Brookline estate or his $6.8 million Cape Cod abode.