Forbes estimated recently that the world is now home to a record 1,210 billionaires, and at least seven of those have reasonably strong ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry.
At the top of the group of Palmetto State representatives on the magazine's annual rankings of the wealthy is Charleston native and Nashville resident Martha Rivers Ingram (No. 459 worldwide), who unseated investor Richard Rainwater.
Ingram, sister of Charleston-based real estate investor John Rivers and a longtime supporter of the local arts community, and her family had an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion as of March, up from about $2 billion a year ago. They own Tennessee-based book distributor Ingram Industries and other business interests.
Rainwater (No. 512), husband of Lake City native and part-time Charleston resident Darla Moore, slipped to $2.3 billion, down from $2.5 billion.
Next up is former media mogul Ted Turner (No. 564), whose U.S. land holdings include prime Lowcountry acreage. The CNN founder and "Mouth of the South" saw his wealth jump by about $300 million over the past year to $2.1 billion.
A newcomer to the South Carolina-linked billionaires club is beverage industry mogul Jude Reyes (No. 651), who with his brother got their start in 1976 with the $740,00 purchase of an Upstate beer distributor. About five years ago, his Chicago-based Reyes Holdings snapped up North Charleston-based Lee Distributors.
More recently, Reyes became a local homeowner. He is manager of the company that last year paid $14.4 million for a 9,990-square foot spread on Kiawah Island.
Another first-timer on the Forbes list is onetime educator Anita Zucker (No. 692), who runs the North Charleston-based, family-owned InterTech Group empire she helped build with late husband Jerry Zucker, who died in 2008. Her holdings were valued at $1.8 billion.
Michael E. Heisley (No. 782) is next in line, with a net worth of about $1.6 billion, according to Forbes' accounting published in the March 28 edition. He claims Jupiter Island, Fla., as his primary residence, but the self-made industrialist and investor -- he's also majority owner of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies -- is a property owner on Kiawah.
Rounding out the South Carolina contingent is Houston Texans majority owner Bob McNair (No. 879), who was ranked 721st with an estimated $1.4 billion. The former Lone Star State energy honcho and wife Janice own a 13,000-square-foot oceanfront house on Kiawah. He's a University of South Carolina graduate; she's an Orangeburg native and Columbia College alumna.
Form a line
The dreaded income tax deadline is just a week away, but free help is available at Charleston County libraries for last-minute filers who need help filling out their IRS-1040 forms.
Here's the lineup:
--Monday: Main branch, 68 Calhoun St., Charleston, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Dorchester Road Regional Library, 6325 Dorchester Road, North Charleston, 10 a.m-2 p.m.
--Tuesday: Mount Pleasant Regional Library, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road, 1-5 p.m.
--Saturday: John's Island Library, 3531 Maybank Highway, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., but the cutoff is at 1:30 p.m.
The services are provided by the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program and AARP. They are aimed at residents with low to moderate incomes. AARP counselors will give preference to senior citizens.
A current picture identification card and Social Security card are required, along with the Social Security cards of any dependents.
Also, the IRS offers free walk-in services at its Charleston Taxpayer Assistance Center at 1 Poston Road off Sam Rittenberg Boulevard in West Ashley. Weekday hours are 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The phone number is 566-0209.
The tax deadline has been pushed back because the District of Columbia recognizes Emancipation Day, which falls on April 15.
Do the math
U.S. District Court Judge Patrick Duffy recently awarded attorneys fees and costs of $10.3 million in connection with the long-running lawsuit that resulted from downstream flooding caused by a Santee Cooper electric power plant in northern Berkeley County that went into operation in 1985 on Lake Moultrie at the then-newly constructed Rediversion Canal.
Lead attorney J. Edward Bell of Bell Legal Group in Georgetown represented the landowners, who eventually won settlements totaling $219.4 million, His group wanted 40 percent, or about $88 million, an amount Duffy found unreasonable
So it was up to the federal judge to figure out how much attorneys would receive.
Duffy determined Bell, who didn't keep records of all the time he spent on the case because he worked on a contingency basis, put in 9,700 hours and should be paid $600 an hour.
Other attorneys worked lesser hours and received lesser amounts per hour, but in all, the judge said they should get $6.89 million for their time spent on the case.
Duffy then applied a multiplier of 1.25 percent because of the exceptional circumstances involved with the case, bringing the amount up to $8.57 million for attorney fees.
Bell and company also requested $1.9 million in costs they claimed were related to the case. Duffy reduced the amount by 10 percent to reflect "reasonable" costs, giving attorneys $1.71 million for a total award of $10.3 million.