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Bloomberg now the city's richest man

(Credit: Politirazzi)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg. AP photo

By Jason Fink

What economic downturn? Mayor Michael Bloomberg is rolling in it.

Bloomberg is the only one of the top 20 on the Forbes list of the world's richest people, released Wednesday, who has gotten wealthier since last year, clocking in at No. 17 with a net worth of $16 billion. And for the first time, he’s the richest person in the city.

The founder of the media and financial services company that bears his name, Bloomberg's worth has dipped since its high of $20 billion in September, according to Forbes, but is 40 percent higher than the $11.5 billion he was worth last March.With Bloomberg citing his financial prowess as the justification for extending term limits, his apparent ability to get richer even as Bill Gates loses billions, may bolster his claim.

“He's doing well,” said Anat Golub, 29, of Queens. “He's a smart businessman, so good for him.”

The mayor, who spent $150 million of his own money on his two elections, does not discuss his finances but estimates are that he owns 88 percent of Bloomberg LP, a private company that is not required to disclose its assets.

Matthew Miller, a senior editor at Forbes, said the magazine based its estimate on the $4.5 billion Bloomberg LP paid in July to buy back a 20 percent stake in the company that was owned by Merrill Lynch.

“He must have believed he paid the right price for it,” said Miller.

A spokesman for the mayor, Stu Loeser, emphasized Bloomberg's philanthropy. He was ranked the most charitable living individual last year.

“The mayor doesn't pay much attention to these lists, and has always thought that how you use your money to make the world a better place is a lot more important than how much of it you have,” he said.

And he certainly has a lot.

Alan Mattei, managing director of Novantas, a business consulting firm, said Bloomberg LP, which charges monthly subscriptions of up to $1,800, is among the few well-positioned media companies.

“If I was in his position I'd be looking to acquire other companies,” he said.

Of course being New York's richest man doesn't always endear you to voters.

“People are probably going to wonder how this guy keeps getting richer with New York City doing so poorly,” said Jenny Rodriguez, 44, of Manhattan.

Gabrielle Korn contributed to this story

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