ADELSON JUMPS TO NO. 8 ON FORBES’ RICHEST AMERICANS LIST

 Nevada’s weathiest man, Las Vegas-based casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, has jumped from 13th to eighth among the richest Americans on the Forbes 400 list.

Adelson, roaring back after falling from the No. 3 position five years ago, is worth $21.5 billion, according to the Forbes list released Wednesday. His wealth was pegged at  $14.7 billion a year ago.

Even more remarkable, he didn’t take his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., public until 7 years ago.

“He got richer faster than anyone else in history,” said Peter W. Bernstein, co-author of “All the Money in the World,” told the New York Times a few years ago. Bernstein’s book profiled the people on the Forbes 400 list.

The 78-year-old Adelson, Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., trailed only Bill Gates and Warren Buffett before the global recession hit. They remain atop the richest Americans’ list, with Gates ahead, $59 billion to Buffett’s $39 billion.

Adelson’s closest local completion on the list is Steve Wynn, who ranks 130th with $2.8 billion. He lost half of his wealth more than a year ago through his divorce from longtime wife, Elaine, who made Forbes list at No. 263 with $1.7 billion.

Two longtime billionaires who have lived part time in Las Vegas for years – eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and casino developer Kirk Kerkorian – made the list. Omidyar ranks 50th with $6.2 billion and Kerkorian No. 117 with $3 billion.

Omidyar, who now calls Hawaii home, built the most expensive residential property in Nevada in the past decade. He paid about $200 million to acquire 19 custom home sites atop Seven Hills and built four structures encompassing 65,000 square feet on the compound.

Other Las Vegans making the list:

Walmart heir Nancy Walton Laurie, 139th, $2.7 billion; Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, 166th, $2.4 billion and brothers Frank Fertitta III, No. 355, $1.25 billion and Lorenzo Fertitta, No. 359, $1.2 billion)  who own Station Casinos and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

–NORM CLARKE, Vegas Confidential

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