Citadel’s billionaire founder, Ken Griffin, said low taxes didn’t bring him to Miami, his firm’s adopted home.
“It’s gonna get me thrown out of here, but taxes weren’t part of our decision to come to Florida,” Griffin, now the state’s richest man, said Monday in a conversation with Francis Suarez, Miami’s Republican mayor. “When you’ve got great schools, a great environment and your streets are safe and clean, that’s when you’ve got a place you want to live in and call home.”
Griffin has an estimated fortune of more than $29 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This was his first public appearance in Miami since moving his family and the global headquarters of his Citadel and Citadel Securities to the city from Chicago earlier this year.
“There’s something very special about the government in Florida and their focus on delivering traditional values for the community,” he said.
Griffin has become one of the biggest Republican benefactors in the US midterm elections, giving Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, $5 million for his re-election race. Although he did not talk about DeSantis, who has a considerable lead in polls, in the Monday exchange, Griffin said in a recent interview to Bloomberg News he’d back him for president in 2024, even if up against Donald Trump.
Griffin said he was drawn to politics while still in Chicago, where he came to sharply disagree with policies, particularly involving law enforcement, that he considers responsible for unwinding years of progress. The Citadel founder has poured about $69 million in the 2021-2022 election cycle according to OpenSecrets, a group that tracks campaign donation.
Griffin’s Miami move is likely have a long-lasting effect on the city. To house its global headquarters, Citadel is building a waterfront tower in the Brickell financial district, which may cost $1 billion. He has also ramped up philanthropic donations.
Griffin is part of larger contingent of multibillion-dollar investors like Dan Och, Dan Sundheim and Josh Harris drawn to Florida during the height of the pandemic. Their arrival spurred last year the creation of the Economic Club of Miami, which hosted Monday’s event.
“We are trying to capture the zeitgeist of this Miami moment,” said Jon Hartley, chair of the club, which counts former Governor Jeb Bush’s son, Jeb Bush Jr. as one of its founders.