Of the 400 richest Americans, 39 are immigrants who came to the United States from 23 nations and fulfilled the American Dream, and only one of them is Latino, according to "The Forbes 400: The Richest People in America" released earlier this week.
Born in Argentina to Cuban parents, Jorge Pérez, 64, is worth $1.55 billion and was called the "Condo King of South Florida" by the Wall Street Journal. Pérez moved to Cuba when he was just 9, so his family could collect his grandfather's inheritance, and moved to Miami after finishing high school in 1968, according to WSJ.
According to Forbes, Pérez started out as an urban planner, specializing in low-income housing developments, and co-founded the Related Group of Florida in 1979. In the 1980s, Pérez moved from building affordable housing to high-end condo construction.
Since 1982, he has constructed more than 80,000 apartments in Florida.
The Related Group is considered the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States, with a development portfolio of projects worth in excess of $10 billion. His Related Group company, which made roughly $960 million in 2012, is currently ranked as the #3 business in the Hispanic Business 500 list. In August 2005, TIME Magazine named Pérez, one of the top 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States.
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Pérez is the CEO of the premier real estate firm in Florida, which inevitably means he went through ground zero of the housing crisis in 2008. Pérez called the crisis "the toughest two years of my life.”
The billionaire's bounce back could be, in part, attributed to his optimism and foresight.
"You're going to sit down in five years and say, `I should have bought,''' he told the Miami Herald in October 2008.
Pérez was right, he reappeared on the Forbes 400 list in 2012.
The billionaire also happens to be an art lover. He has donated his entire $20 million Latin American art collection and an additional $20 million cash donation to the Miami Art museum, which has been controversially renamed the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum of Miami Dade County or PAMM.