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The 10 Richest People in Aspen

Brandon Wenerd's picture


Richard Kinder

This Missouri-billionaire has stirred controversy from his role as the former president of Enron during its successful boom years when it concentrated on innovative energy distribution solutions. After leaving now-notorious company, he co-founded the natural gas and petroleum pipeline company Kinder Morgan Inc. and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. The company was privatized after being purchased by Goldman Sachs and Fayez Sarofim for 22 billion dollars. According to the Aspen Daily news, the 65-year old Kinder is known to be an angler and has a home along the Roaring Fork River.

Forbes 2009 Estimated Wealth: $3.2 Billion
Ranking on the Forbes 2008 World’s Billionaire List: #191


David Geffen

After dropping out from the University of Texas at Austin, David Geffen began a career trajectory to become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and all of show business. After a lucrative career as a record producer launching bands like The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Aerosmith, and Guns N’ Roses, Geffen teamed up with Jeffrey Katzenberg and iconic director Steven Spielberg to launch the Oscar-churning DreamWorks studio in 1995. In 1971, while at Asylum Records, Geffen sent a beckoning California group called “The Eagles” to play a month-long residency at the Gallery Club in Aspen before signing the group before signing them to Asylum Records. Rock and roll history was made and David Geffen has been spotted frequently around Aspen ever since.

Forbes 2009 Estimated Wealth: $ 4.5 Billion
Ranking on the Forbes 2008 World’s Billionaire List: #110


Roman Abramovich

Forbes estimates the controversial Russian oil and steel oligarch (and British tabloid darling) has lost anywhere from 13 to 20 billion dollars in the current global economic recession. Nonetheless, Abramovich still might be “the richest property owner in Pitkin County,” according to an article in last year’s Aspen Daily News. In the spring of 2008, Abramovich paid a cool $36.4 million in cash for a super-sleek 11-bedroom home on Wildcat Ridge, just outside of Snowmass. The architectural marvel is perched on 200-acres of meadows at 9,200 feet and was previously owned by legendary surgeon Leon Hirsch. It is interesting to note this was his second home in the area; the previous February, the billionaire paid $12 million for a chateau in close proximity to Snowmass Village. The global economic recession didn’t stop Abramovich from throwing an extravagant 2009 New Years party at his Snowmass estate. The event included an indoor ice rink and performances by the group Pussycat Dolls.

Before jet-setting and home-owning in Aspen, the tycoon spent his winter ski vacations partying in the posh French Alps town of Courchevel. In addition to owning a stylish Aspen ski property, Abramovich is currently building his navy-like collection of luxury megayachts, including the $355 million dollar, 555-foot Eclipse. The ship will be the largest and most expensive in the world when it is berthed next year. Abramovich owns the private investment firm Millhouse LLC. His other hobbies include ownership of England’s popular Chelsea Football Club.

Forbes 2009 Estimated Wealth: $8.5 Billion
Ranking on the Forbes 2008 World’s Billionaire List: 51


Michael Dell

According to Forbes and the Aspen Daily News, the self-made billionaire behind the namesake computer goliath started building and selling computers out of his dorm room at the University of Texas at Austin before dropping out to pursue his digital hardware passion fulltime. As the face and CEO of Dell Computers, the 44-year old Michael Dell brings his children to Aspen frequently to visit his parents, who reside in town.

Forbes 2009 Estimated Wealth: $12.3 Billion
Ranking on the Forbes 2008 World’s Billionaire List: #25


David and Charles Koch

Where does one go in the winter when one owns a primary residence on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue formerly occupied by Jackie Onassis Kennedy, a Southampton summer estate, and a massive Mediterranean-inspired Villa Del Sarmiento in Palm Beach? Aspen, of course! With an estimated wealth of 14 billion dollars, David Koch is the richest man in New York City. His brother Charles Koch is the richest man in Wichita, Kansas. According to this list, the Koch brothers are the combined winners of the title “wealthiest people in Aspen.”

Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries is a gigantic chemical company employing over 70,000 people in 60 different countries. The company focuses on developing products for pipelines, refineries, agriculture, ranching, lumber, polymers, consumer products, and developing chemical technology.

Both David and Charles Koch have homes in Aspen’s West End and are famous for lavish and wild New Year’s Eve parties. David’s house is rumored to include big-game hunt trophies from Botswana and Mozambique, as well as Ugandan elephant tusks in the dining room. According to the Aspen Daily News, David’s home is valued at 12 million dollars and Charles’ home is valued at 7 million dollars.

Forbes 2009 Estimated Wealth: $14 Billion
Ranking on the Forbes 2008 World’s Billionaire List: #19

If you were to take David and Charles Koch’s total wealth of 14 billion dollars and turn it into pennies, the area would cover a total of 196 square miles - about 20% of Pitkin County’s total land area.