In reaching the Major League Baseball playoffs, the Washington Nationals had their best year in 2012 since the franchise moved from Montreal — and their majority owner didn’t have a bad year himself.
Theodore N. “Ted” Lerner of Chevy Chase is now the richest man in Maryland, taking over that spot from businessman Mitchell P. Rales of Potomac, according to Forbes’ 27th annual rankings of the world’s billionaires released this week.
Lerner is among Montgomery County’s six richest business executives whose net worth as of February increased from a year ago. The county’s seventh billionaire on Forbes’ list — Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder of Potomac — saw his fortune fall by $100 million.
Lerner, 87, rose to 329th on Forbes’ global list, up from 344th last year. He had a net worth of $4 billion as of February, an increase of $700 million from a year ago.
Lerner, who could not be reached for comment, founded Lerner Enterprises in 1952 in Rockville, where the company’s headquarters remain on Tower Oaks Boulevard. The company owns about 20 million square feet of commercial and retail space, and its projects include White Flint mall in North Bethesda, Fallsgrove Village Center in Rockville and Dulles Town Center in Virginia.
Rales, co-founder and executive committee chairman of Washington, D.C., manufacturing and technology company Danaher Corp., dropped to 346th place globally on the list from 296th last year. That was despite Rales, a trustee of the National Gallery of Art whose Potomac estate includes the Glenstone Museum — his vast, private collection of post-World War II art — being worth $200 million more this year.
David M. Rubenstein of Bethesda, co-CEO of Washington, D.C., private equity firm The Carlyle Group, earned Montgomery’s third spot. He fell to 458th place worldwide from 418th last year, despite his fortune increasing by $200 million to $3 billion.
Richard E. Marriott of Potomac, board chairman of Bethesda lodging real estate investment trust Host Hotels & Resorts, was fourth in the county and rose 28 spots worldwide to 736th place, with a net worth of $2 billion. His brother, J.W. Marriott Jr. of Potomac, executive chairman of Bethesda hotel giant Marriott International, had the fifth position with $1.75 billion, dropping 64 spots to 868th.
B. Francis Saul II of Chevy Chase, CEO of Bethesda real estate investment trust Saul Centers, ranked sixth in Montgomery with a fortune of $1.2 billion. Saul founded Chevy Chase Bank in 1969 and sold it to Capital One for some $476 million in 2009.
Last year, Saul was tied on the worldwide list with Snyder, who fell more than 200 spots this year.
In 2012, there were also seven billionaires living in Montgomery County, according to Forbes. Only two other Maryland residents made this year’s list, both from the Baltimore area: Ravens owner Stephen Bisciotti and Kevin Plank, CEO of sports clothing company Under Armour.
Forbes’ list this year included a record 1,426 billionaires, 200 more than last year. Their collective value was $5.4 trillion, up from $4.6 trillion in 2012.
Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim Helú earned the top spot for the fourth-consecutive year, with his fortune rising $4 billion to $73 billion. Technology titan Bill Gates earned the second position with a net worth of $67 billion.
“Rebounding equity markets and strong consumer brands” were key factors for the increase in billionaires and their fortunes, according to Forbes.