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Jeff Bezos tops Forbes' list of richest Americans for the third year in a row

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has topped Forbes’ list of richest Americans for the third year in a row, while President Donald Trump’s ranking dropped as the coronavirus pandemic slammed his office buildings, hotels and resorts.

The aggregate wealth of the Forbes 400 list, released on Tuesday, rose to a record $3.2 trillion, as the richest Americans continued to do well even though the pandemic has devastated the economy and caused more than 1.8 million Americans to lose their jobs.

Eric Yuan, chief executive officer of Zoom Video Communications, which has become ubiquitous in the work-from-home era, was one of 18 newcomers on the list with a net worth of $11 billion.

Trump’s ranking dropped to No. 352 from 275 last year as his net worth fell to $2.5 billion from $3.1 billion, as office buildings, hotels and resorts, have suffered during the pandemic. 

The top ten members of the Forbes 400 list for 2020 are seen in the table above

The top ten members of the Forbes 400 list for 2020 are seen in the table above

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has topped Forbes' list of richest Americans for the third year in a row

Trump's ranking dropped to No. 352 from 275 last year

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has topped Forbes’ list of richest Americans for the third year in a row, while Trump’s ranking dropped to No. 352 from 275 last year

His business, the Trump Organization, owns property in all three categories.

Trump has long refused to release his tax records, and has been locked in a battle with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who subpoenaed Trump for eight years of personal and corporate returns.

The annual list can serve as a way to track the wealthiest people in the country who hold the most power, said Kerry Dolan, assistant managing editor of wealth at Forbes, in an interview with Reuters TV.

‘As a society, we all should know who is behind the biggest companies and what they’re doing with their money,’ she said.

Other newcomers to the list include Alice Schwartz, whose Bio-Rad produces Covid-19 diagnostic tests, and Trevor Milton, founder of electric truck maker Nikola.

The list’s biggest gainer, in percentage terms, was Elon Musk, whose net worth jumped an astounding 242 percent, to $48.1 billion, on the rise in Tesla’s stock.

The list's biggest gainer, in percentage terms, was Elon Musk, whose net worth jumped an astounding 242 percent, to $48.1 billion, on the rise in Tesla's stock

The list’s biggest gainer, in percentage terms, was Elon Musk, whose net worth jumped an astounding 242 percent, to $48.1 billion, on the rise in Tesla’s stock

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also saw his wealth jump by $2.6 billion, or 62 percent, on this year’s list.

MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Bezos, also saw her net worth soar by $20.9 billion, or 58 percent. Her holdings are mostly in Amazon stock, which has risen sharply in the past year. 

Several members of the list saw their wealth drop significantly in the past year, including several who built their fortunes in the media, leisure, and oil sectors.

Warren Buffett’s fortune dropped $7.3 billion, more than anyone else on the list in dollar terms. 

Some of that drop was the result of a $2.9 billion gift of Berkshire Hathaway stock he donated in July to his children’s charitable foundations and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Forbes.

Warren Buffett's fortune dropped $7.3 billion, more than anyone else on the list in dollar terms

Warren Buffett’s fortune dropped $7.3 billion, more than anyone else on the list in dollar terms

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, saw her wealth drop by $5.3 billion, or 25 percent.

She inherited sizable stakes in Apple and Disney from her late husband, and although Apple stock is up 75 percent from last year, Forbes says it has new information regarding her holdings that caused it to revise its estimates of her net worth.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s net worth was also down, by $4.7 billion, or 14 percent.

His casinos, including The Venetian and The Palazzo on the Las Vegas strip, were shut for nearly three months amid the coronavirus pandemic. While other casinos laid off workers, Adelson vowed to keep paying his employees at least through October. 

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