Forbes richest Americans list features the usual locals plus a newcomer



Neal Patterson cracked the Forbes 400 this year.
  • Neal Patterson cracked the Forbes 400 this year.
On Wednesday Forbes released its annual list ranking the 400 wealthiest Americans. And, surprising no one who read our recent Answering Machine theme issue, Garmin co-founder Min Kao was the top Kansas City metro resident on the list with an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion, good for No. 218.

The rest of the locals on the list fell into their general spots from previous years' lists. Gary Burrell, Garmin's other co-founder, landed at No. 347 with $1.3 billion. Wichita's Charles Koch, although not really local, tied with his New York-based brother David for No. 4 with $31 billion apiece. And Columbia's Ann Walton Kroenke ($4.5 billion) and Stan Kroenke ($4 billion) came in at No. 79 and No. 92, respectively.

Perhaps more interesting on the 2012 list is that Cerner CEO Neal Patterson cracked the list for the first time. The other Kansas City-area billionaires should throw him a welcome party. Patterson, who founded the health-care IT company in 1979, broke into the list at No. 391 with a worth of $1.12 billion. The magazine says of Patterson, 62: "Cerner went public in 1986 and has been consistently profitable, boasting annualized 22% growth in the value of the firm's shares; that growth landed Patterson on The Forbes 400 for the first time. In 2011, the company posted $2.2 billion in sales and net income of $307 million. He also co-owns the Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City. Says he is a devoted follower of Ayn Rand, and has been known to give copies of Atlas Shrugged to family members."

That last libertarian detail is interesting. In April, in a lengthy April Forbes piece titled "The Obama Billionaire," the magazine examined how emerging federal health-care policies, including ObamaCare, will only add to Patterson's fortune.

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