Citadel CEO Ken Griffin revealed on Tuesday that he moved from Illinois to Florida after a senior colleague was robbed at gunpoint during a coffee run in Chicago, while another was attacked without provocation by a “random lunatic.”
Griffin — whose $30 billion net worth places him among the 50 richest men on the planet, according to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index — began buying property and moving his personal fortune to Miami after voicing concerns about the lackluster business environment in Chicago. He later announced that Citadel, which manages $57 billion in assets, would likewise relocate to Florida.
During an interview with Bloomberg, Griffin said he finally decided to leave Chicago after two of his colleagues were assaulted in the Windy City. The former was robbed after a person put “a gun to his head” during a coffee run, and another was confronted by “some random lunatic just trying to punch him in the head” while he was waiting for a car.
Griffin donated more than $600 million to local nonprofits over the course of two decades.
Violent crime in the Windy City has indeed been on the rise in recent years. Under the leadership of Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the city recorded 797 homicides in 2021 — the highest of any American metropolis.
Meanwhile, Griffin intends to turn Miami into “Wall Street South” — transforming the local economy as other finance professionals embrace the robust business climate fostered by the state government of Florida.
“We’re not sort of in — we’re all in,” Griffin asserted.
The executive, who plans to personally pitch the city of Miami to other large corporations, added that Citadel would invest as much as $1 billion in its new headquarters. “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.”
Citadel has already spent more than $600 million on an empty lot that will house the 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, according to a report from CNBC. In a personal capacity, Griffin has 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. 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.
The real estate spending spree occurred as Griffin sold his two penthouses in Chicago. Beyond his real estate portfolio, Griffin plans to support philanthropic efforts in the Sunshine State — particularly those related to education.
Griffin is an ardent supporter of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who he would support over Trump in a potential 2024 contest. The financier said he “will definitively be involved in the presidential race” and would consider serving leading the Treasury Department in a DeSantis administration — a position he declined when approached by Trump officials.