Here’s How Much Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Is Worth
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Sure, the Kennedys have a lot of money. But they also have a lot of kids, leaving RFK Jr. with less than you might expect.
By Chase Peterson-Withorn, Forbes Staff
Standing on the roof of his Cape Cod home, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pans the camera from his grandfather Joe Kennedy’s mansion to his father Bobby Kennedy’s place next door, then to his uncle John F. Kennedy’s nearby “summer White House,” offering his 1.2 million Instagram followers an insider’s guide to his family’s famous compound. “After my last request for your support, we raised $3 million dollars in just three days!” he writes in the post’s caption. “As a way of saying thanks, I wanted to share some stories about my family.”
For decades, the Kennedy clan has been one of America’s most powerful–and most prosperous. Joe Kennedy, father to President JFK, Attorney General RFK and Senator Ted, got rich speculating on stocks and investing in real estate, seeding a family fortune that Forbes last estimated to be $1.2 billion in 2015. RFK Jr., one of Joe’s 29 grandchildren, is the fourth descendant to run for president—and the first to do so without the backing of the broader family. He’s not putting any of his own money into his campaign, either. Asking strangers for donations on social media may not seem very Camelot, but it makes sense once you realize that RFK Jr. has inherited a lot more Kennedy cachet than actual Kennedy cash.
Forbes estimates Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s net worth to be about $15 million–and that’s including the assets of his spouse, actress Cheryl Hines, who most famously played Larry David’s wife on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. A major reason RFK Jr. doesn’t have more money: The Kennedy family tree has a lot of branches. RFK Jr. is one of Bobby Kennedy’s 11 children, leaving him with far less than, say, cousin Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving descendant in their generation from John F. Kennedy’s branch.
That’s not to say that RFK Jr. has no family money. He shares in the Kennedy trusts, which date back as far as 1926. He holds at least $4 million of assets inherited from his forefathers, most notably a stake in Wolf Point, a massive development in downtown Chicago, on land that Grandpa Joe acquired in the 1940s.
Partnering with Houston-based property giant Hines and a real estate arm of the AFL-CIO federation of labor unions, the Kennedy family has developed two luxury rental apartment towers on the site, along with a 60-story skyscraper offering more than 1.2 million square feet of office space, mainly leased to software company Salesforce and law firm Kirkland & Ellis. RFK Jr. reported owning between $1.75 million and $6.5 million of equity in the project on a financial disclosure he filed in June. “It’s a phenomenal location,” says Tony Hardy, executive director of Keller Williams’ Chicago multifamily division. “Hines and the Kennedys, those guys have great reputations of delivering quality.”
Other Kennedy assets include as much as $500,000 worth of investments held in stock, private equity and hedge funds managed by the family’s Park Financial Holdings, part of a discreet family office in midtown Manhattan. RFK Jr. also lists a stake in Arctic Royalty, a limited partnership with oil-and-gas leases in Texas and Oklahoma, worth between $31,000 and $115,000.
But he has made plenty of his own money, too. RFK Jr., who declined to comment for this story, pulled in more than $5 million through his law firm, Kennedy & Madonna LLP, from the start of 2022 to the middle of 2023. He valued his stake in the firm, which represents victims of pollution, at $1 million to $5 million. A two-lawyer operation run out of partner Kevin J. Madonna’s New York home, Kennedy & Madonna has notched big wins, including serving on the team that secured a $670 million settlement from DuPont in the contamination case that inspired the 2019 film Dark Waters. But the firm doesn’t throw off consistent profits each year. “Income is a roller coaster in this line of work and never predictable,” Madonna wrote to Forbes in email. “Could be a lot one year and zero the next year.”
New Old Money
RFK Jr.’s riches don’t just come from grandpa Joe Kennedy’s trust funds. Much of his wealth is held in his Los Angeles home, money his wife Cheryl Hines made as an actress and an assortment of other investments, including more than $100,000 worth of Bitcoin.
RFK Jr. also works for other law firms, generating more than $1.5 million in 2022 and early 2023 income as a consultant for Wisner Baum, where he has helped with litigation against Merck’s Gardasil HPV vaccine, and $315,000 from JW Howard Attorneys, a litigation firm. He received more than $500,000 in salary and bonuses from Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit he started to “fight corruption, mass surveillance and censorship that put profits before people” that has drawn criticism for campaigning against vaccines.
Kennedy married well, too. His wife Cheryl Hines earned more than $1 million in 2022 and early 2023, when she appeared in the movie About Fate and the HBO series The Flight Attendant. She has two retirement accounts, which hold between $600,000 and $1.7 million, mainly in stock and bond index funds.
Outside of those accounts and the family trusts, much of their money is sitting in cash, though they also hold between $100,000 and $250,000 of Bitcoin, purchased after Kennedy gave a keynote address at a cryptocurrency conference earlier this year. “As president, I will make sure that your right to hold and use Bitcoin is inviolable,” he told the crowd.
In Los Angeles, they sold a 5,600-square-foot home for $5.9 million in 2021, reportedly to comedian and author Chelsea Handler, upgrading to a $7 million, 5,900-square-foot spread just up the road. The couple owes an estimated $4.5 million on the mortgage there. On the East Coast, there’s the six-bedroom Hyannis Port home, worth an estimated $3 million before deducting the $1.75 million mortgage.
Neighboring the home of his mother, who has been there since the Camelot era, RFK Jr.’s rooftop deck provides a perfect vantage point to regale his supporters with old yarns—tales of family football games on the lawn and watching Marine One fly his father and uncles home for weekends away from Washington. “It’s the history that’s brought me to this point,” RFK Jr. says to his donors, before offering a final sweeping view of the Kennedy compound as the video fades into a campaign sticker: www.kennedy24.com, where supporters are invited to make online donations.
With additional reporting by Kavya Gupta.
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