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Colorado’s billionaires about $10B richer despite pandemic

DENVER — Eight billionaires in Colorado have acquired $9.7 billion in new wealth over the past year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Ergen, the co-founder of Dish Network and EchoStar Corporation, gained the most between March 18, 2020 and March 18, 2021, The Denver Post reported Monday.

Forbes data revealed Ergen was worth $5.4 billion last March and is now worth $10.7 billion, a 98% gain that made him the state’s wealthiest person. Ergen surpassed investor Philip Anschutz, whose net worth drop during the pandemic, from $11 billion to $10.1 billion, or about 8%, Forbes said.

University of Denver economics professor Markus Schneider said the economic downturn in 2020 was different than the Great Recession, noting that the stock market has soared since hitting a low point last March.

“As has become painfully clear, the stock market is not, in fact, the economy,” Schneider said. “Recently they are trending quite differently and yes, in a downturn like this if you’re relying on income from work then you’re in a much more vulnerable position.”

He added: “During the Great Recession, things happened in financial markets and therefore, of course, the stock market also declined rather rapidly.”

Ken Tuchman, founder of the Englewood-based outsourcing giant TTEC Holdings Inc., had the largest percentage increase of the state’s billionaires from $1.3 billion in March 2020 to $3.1 billion last week, according to Forbes data. TTEC Holdings Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.

Liberty Media Corporation Chairman John Malone gained $2.3 billion over the past year and is now worth $8.1 billion.

Pat Stryker, the medical technology heiress and the state’s richest woman, took in $900 million and is now worth $2.9 billion. Media heir Gary Magness gained $500 million and is worth $1.6 billion.

The Denver Port reported that messages left with their spokespeople seeking comment were not returned.