The decade's most triggering comedy
CEO Ken Griffin, the former richest man in Illinois and current chief executive of hedge fund Citadel, has contributed more than $100 million to Republican midterm candidates after moving his business and much of his personal estate from Chicago to Miami.
The financier has donated over $48 million to Republicans running in federal races, including $18.5 million in contributions to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican Super PAC, according to data from Open Secrets. Griffin also devoted $50 million toward the unsuccessful Illinois gubernatorial campaign of Richard Irvin, who was defeated in the state’s Republican primary.
At the federal level, progressive billionaire George Soros has contributed more than any other donor. Griffin’s $48 million in contributions was also slightly surpassed by fellow Republican donor Richard Uihlein, a supply chain magnate.
Griffin boasts a net worth of $29 billion, placing him among the 50 richest men on the planet, according to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He began purchasing property in the Sunshine State earlier this year after voicing concerns about the lackluster business climate and rising violent crime in Chicago. He subsequently announced that Citadel, which manages $57 billion in assets, would likewise relocate to Florida.
During a recent interview, Griffin indicated that a breaking point was the violent assault of two separate colleagues in the Windy City. The former was robbed after a person put “a gun to his head” during a coffee run, and another was attacked by “some random lunatic just trying to punch him in the head” while he was waiting for a car.
Griffin has since set his gaze on transforming Miami into “Wall Street South,” personally inviting other businessmen to pour their resources into Florida as officials in the state government prioritize a robust business climate. Citadel alone plans to invest as much as $1 billion in its new headquarters, while Griffin has spent $175 million on five acres of property in southern Florida and $450 million on land for a new estate north of Palm Beach.
“I’m going to work to create a building that’s iconic in Miami,” Griffin said. “If it takes longer to fill the building, so be it. It’s more important to me to create the right environment to draw human capital that drives Citadel.”
Meanwhile, Griffin has divested from the state of Illinois, selling his two penthouses in Chicago. During recent remarks for a meeting of Florida Democrats, Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) bashed Griffin for leaving his state.
“So like a spoiled rich kid, Griffin announced he was taking his toys and leaving Illinois,” Pritzker said. “Where did he move to? You guessed it. His $400 million, 20-acre Palm Beach estate. And he’s one of Ron DeSantis’ largest donors.”
Florida saw the country’s largest net domestic migration between July 2020 and July 2021, with over 220,000 people moving to the state, according to data from the Census Bureau. Florida was followed by Texas and Arizona, while New York, California, and Illinois led the nation with respect to numeric decline.
Other businesses, such as construction manufacturer Caterpillar and aerospace firm Boeing, have left Illinois this year. Pritzker’s office has nevertheless insisted that “countless companies” are still opting to stay.