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AriZona founder makes Forbes’ ‘Rich List’; Trump drops 92 slots

Domenick Vultaggio, co-founder of AriZona Iced Tea, in

Domenick Vultaggio, co-founder of AriZona Iced Tea, in his Woodbury office. Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

AriZona Iced Tea co-founder Domenick “Don” Vultaggio was added to the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans in 2017, bringing the number of Long Islanders to seven.

Vultaggio, with an estimated net worth of $3 billion, ranked No. 264 overall and seventh among Long Islanders. In 2015, Vultaggio, of Sands Point, bought out the other co-founder of AriZona after a bitter court case.

President Donald Trump fell 92 slots to No. 248 as his wealth shrank to $3.1 billion from $3.7 billion in the 2016 list, Forbes said.

James Simons, the former Stony Brook University mathematics professor who founded hedge fund Renaissance Technologies Corp., continued his reign as the wealthiest Long Islander. Simons, of East Setauket, ranked No. 25 with a net worth of $18.5 billion.

The second wealthiest Long Islanders were sisters Margaretta Taylor of Southampton and Katharine Rayner of East Hampton. Each sister’s estimated $8 billion net worth, tied at No. 59, sprang from an inherited stake in Cox Enterprises, a media and automotive company.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of software maker Microsoft Corp. was the wealthiest American for the 24th straight year, according to Forbes. The philanthropist is worth $89 billion.

Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos held on to the second overall spot with a net worth of $81.5 billion. He was followed by Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg with $71 billion; Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison with $59 billion; brothers Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries whose $48.5 billion net worth each tied them for sixth; former New York City mayor and founder of Bloomberg LP Michael Bloomberg at $46.8 billion, and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, whose $44.6 billion and $43.4 billion net worthy put them at Nos. 9 and 10.

Other Long Islanders on the list were:

No. 118: Cable television pioneer Charles Dolan and family, of Oyster Bay, with $5 billion. His son Patrick Dolan is the majority owner of Newsday.

No. 167: Hedge fund innovator Julian Robertson Jr. of Locust Valley with $4.1 billion.

No. 248: Home Depot investor Kenneth Langone of Sands Point with $3.1 billion. At No. 248, Langone was tied with Trump and 14 others.

Forbes said that 169 U.S. billionaires failed to reach the minimum $2 billion net worth required to make the list. Five Long Islanders who were on the Forbes Billionaires list released in March failed to make the cut for the Forbes 400.

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