If you're looking for a list of the 5 billionaires who lost it all, you've found it. It is not difficult to compile because the economy certainly brought many very rich people to their knees and took the wind out of their sails. It is actually sad to read stories of true successful businesses that went wrong from circumstances that were really beyond the control of their owners.
- Omid Kordestani. Born in Iran but a resident of San Jose, California at the age of 14, graduated with a college degree in electrical engineering and went to work for Hewlett Packard. He later received his MBA. As Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development at Google Inc, and called Google's "business founder" because he led the development of the initial business model and brought Google to a big profit state quickly, he still was dropped off the billionaires list when he had to pay for a very expensive divorce.
- David Murdock. At age 87, raised a billion dollars with the initial public offering of Dole Food that he owns. However, he had to use that money to pay a huge mountain of debt. His finances have improved somewhat, and he is more committed than ever to his $1.5 billion North Carolina Research Campus that is being built in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
- Henry Ross Perot Sr. Perot is best known for his two failed attempts to become President of the United States. Huge debt forced him to sell the data processing firm that he founded, Perot Systems, to Dell. He also had to sell his real estate firm, Hillwood.
- Maria Elisabeth and Georg Schaeffler. Mother and son, were knocked off the billionaires list when they began drowning in debt when their Continental AG company was taken over by their automotive company INA. The car industry slowed down in Europe, and the threat of the unity of the two companies not being under the direction of the Schaefflers would cost thousands of highly skilled workers their jobs. The group depends on money from the state to exist, but Maria-Elisabeth insists that the company will pay everything back to the taxpayers.
- Robert L. Johnson. Johnson became the first African-American billionaire when he sold his BET (Black Entertainment Television) to Viacom for close to $3 billion in 2001. Viacom also assumed the $570 million in BET's debts, and Johnson received $1.5 billion in Viacom stock. However, his fortune started to dwindle with an extremely expensive divorce from his wife and BET co-founder. Also, Viacom stock declined and his investments in real estate felt the recessionary nightmare. He tried to develop an airline but was thwarted by the FAA. He became the principal owner of a Charlotte, North Carolina, basketball team that began playing in 2004-2005, but it will take a lot of favorable conditions to make that into a profitable franchise.