Illinois Billionaire Who Fled Chicago Amid High Crime Has Poured Over $1 Billion Into New Home State Of Florida
Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

The former richest man in Illinois and current Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, who recently moved his company to Florida, has already poured billions of dollars into the Sunshine State.

Griffin — whose $29 billion net worth places him among the 50 richest men on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index — moved to Miami after voicing concerns about the lackluster business environment and rising crime rates in Chicago. He announced earlier this summer that Citadel, which manages $51 billion in assets, would likewise relocate to Florida.

Griffin has already spent $175 million on five acres of property in southern Florida, on which he plans to tear down the existing house and build a new one, according to a report from CNBC. He has also spent $450 million on land for a new estate north of Palm Beach — a property larger than Mar-a-Lago, the home of former President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Citadel has spent more than $600 million on an empty lot that will house its new headquarters, as well as a temporary office building, an apartment building, and more than 100,000 square feet of office leases from which employees will work until the new headquarters is completed.

The real estate spending spree of more than $1 billion occurs as Griffin sells his two penthouses in Chicago. Griffin was also heavily involved in contributing to Chicago nonprofits, giving more than $600 million over the course of two decades to organizations such as Northwestern Medicine and the Art Institute of Chicago, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, Citadel has a lease on Park Avenue in New York City, and Griffin retains a $240 million home near Central Park, which constitutes the most expensive house in America.

Griffin slammed rising crime rates in Chicago in recent comments made to The Wall Street Journal. Under the leadership of Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), the city recorded 797 homicides in 2021 — the highest of any American city.

“If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” Griffin told the outlet. “I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.”

Meanwhile, Griffin has a prolonged feud with Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), who mocked the billionaire as he left the state. Construction machinery maker Caterpillar and airplane manufacturer Boeing also left Chicago this year.

“So like a spoiled rich kid, Griffin announced he was taking his toys and leaving Illinois,” Pritzker said in remarks for a meeting of the Florida Democrats. “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.”

“Really really sorry about that,” he continued, adding that supporting DeSantis over former President Donald Trump is “a little bit like saying you’ve never been a fan of Darth Vader but you support the Empire’s political agenda.”

Florida saw the nation’s largest net domestic migration between July 2020 and July 2021, with more than 220,000 people moving to the state, according to the Census Bureau. Florida was followed by Texas and Arizona, while New York, California, and Illinois led the nation in terms of numeric decline.

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