Ken Griffin, the 50-year-old multi-billionaire founder of the Chicago hedge fund Citadel, set a new world record last month by paying $238 million for a New York City penthouse apartment — the most expensive home sale ever recorded, as the Inquisitr reported at the time. But the massive outlay on a single dwelling may not seem as outrageous after Griffin’s astounding income from 2018 alone was made public on Saturday.
According to Bloomberg News, which released its list of the top-10 income-earning hedge fund traders, Griffin raked in $870 million in 2018 alone, swelling his personal fortune to almost $10 billion.
That figure means that if he were paid an hourly wage last year, Griffin earned $435,000 per hour, by the New York Post calculations.
Those earnings are 19,333 times higher than the median wage earned by the United States’ 115.9 million full-time workers in the fourth quarter of 2018, which was $900 per week, or $22.50 per hour in a 40-hour work week, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.
In addition to buying the record-setting Central Park South penthouse, Griffin also recently bought a $122 million, 20,000-square-foot “townhouse” in London, England; a $60 million Miami, Florida home; and a $58.75 million penthouse that occupies the top four floors of a Chicago condominium tower, according to the Post.
Griffin in 2015 also paid the second-highest and fifth-highest prices ever for works of art, shelling out $300 million for William de Kooning’s “Interchange,” and $202 million for the Jackson Pollock “drip” painting “Number 17A,” according to CNN.
His stellar 2018 represents quite a comeback for Griffin, who just 10 years earlier took a $200 million bailout from U.S. taxpayers to keep Citadel afloat, as the Inquisitr reported, on the heels of the financial meltdown that year. Citadel went into a tailspin that Griffin described as “incredibly humiliating,” losing $8 billion of his clients’ money in 2008 alone.
The taxpayer cash was funneled to Griffin’s firm through the insurance giant AIG, whose high-risk financial trading schemes had failed and put the “too big to fail” corporation on the brink of disaster. As Business Insider reported, Citadel had loaned hundreds of millions of dollars worth of securities to AIG, which used them in its failed “short selling” trades. Without the government bailout, AIG would not have been able to pay Citadel’s loans back, and Griffin’s company would likely have failed as well.
But taking the U.S. Treasury cash served Griffin well, as Bloomberg ranked him the third-highest-paid hedge fund chief last year. Only James Simons of Renaissance Technologies, who took home $1.6 billion, and Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates at $1.26 billion, pocketed more than Griffin in 2018, according to Bloomberg.