Evanston’s Jennifer Pritzker named first transgender billionaire on Forbes 400

Patrick Svitek, City Editor

Evanston resident Jennifer Pritzker on Monday was named the first transgender billionaire on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans.

Pritzker, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and heiress to her family’s Hyatt Hotel fortune, is worth an estimated $1.7 billion, according to the magazine. Pritzker, 62, came in at 327th on the Forbes 400.

In August, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that a memo to employees at the Pritzker Military Library and Tawani Enterprises advised them Pritzker “now identifies herself as a woman for all business and personal undertakings.” Pritzker was formerly known as James. A spokesperson for Tawani, Pritzker’s Chicago-based investment firm, confirmed the name change to The Daily on Tuesday.

“Col. Pritzker will be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker in recognition and support of her belief and true identity,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Pritzker’s name has surfaced several times in Evanston politics in recent months. City Council rejected her controversial bid for the Harley Clarke Mansion in July. Three weeks later, the city’s ethics board cleared Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) of any wrongdoing after two neighbors questioned a campaign contribution by Pritzker.

— Patrick Svitek