America’s richest man now calls Florida his winter home. Like millions of other snowbirds, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is expected to winter here with his family now that he owns an equestrian property in Wellington, just west of Palm Beach. Gates rented houses for the past two winters for a total of $1.1 million but eventually signed off on the purchase of a four-acre property with a 7,200-square-foot crib and two barns for 20 horses. His teenage daughter, Jennifer, is training for show-jumping competition at the nearby stadium. According to Palm Beach County records, the property went for $8.7million, a relatively paltry sum for someone with $67 billion to his name. The deed is in the name of a secretive trust whose trustee is Bill McCaughan, a partner at the Miami branch of Seattle-based K&L Gates, a law firm founded by Gates’ dad. “I have no comment about this purchase,” McCaughan said. Residents include: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; new arrival Frank McCourt, who recently sold MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.1 billion; and Sulhail Rizvi, a private equity banker whose firm owns the rights to The Twilight Saga.
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