This morning we're going to engage in a little rumor and gossip. Did you hear that children? Ru-mor and gos-sip, so there isn't much here you should read as fact.
Over the last few days Your Mama has heard from no less than three New York City sources who all whispered the same thing: The real estate drama for the allegedly (April issue, page 38) financially strapped socialite Veronica Hearst has yet to come to an end. The children will recall that the Widow Hearst recently endured a nasty, prolonged and public foreclosure on Villa Venezia, the pa-lay-shul 52-room Palm Beach spread she and her late huzband, newspaper heir Randolph A. Hearst, purchased for nearly $30,000,000 just a few months before Mister Hearst was called by life's Editor in Chief. (The property has since been reportedly purchased by filthy rich financier Franklin Haney.)
First, Your Mama heard the rumor from The Fifth Avenue Flap Jaw that the co-op board of Miz Hearst's dignified and limestone clad building at 4 East 66th Street was quietly encouraging Miz Hearst to even more quietly sell her large apartment before another foreclosure fracas presented itself that might shine the kleig lights of publicity on the other discreet and ridiculously rich residents of the dee-luxe building, or even worse, allow an unwanted buyer to swoop in and purchase the posh co-op at auction thereby skirting the usual, byzantine and sometimes humiliating hoops of co-op board approval. Property records show other residents in the swanky building include Pharmaceutical honcho Howard Soloman, hedge hog Daniel Nir and Deutsche Bank director Kevin Parker and his wife Ulla. Our high society snitch, The Social Butterfly, told us ages ago that Texas based billionaires Sid and Mercedes Bass also maintain a residence in the building.
Next we heard from someone we'll call Yelena Yaksitup who whispered to Your Mama that she heard an unsubstantiated rumor that the Widow Hearst's apartment had already been sold...for $31,000,000. Property records do not reveal a sale and we are somewhat skeptical if only because we're hard pressed to believe we'd get scuttlebutt this scandalous before the much more established real estate gossips in New York City. None the less, the $31,000,000 number does sound about what Your Mama would expect the (approx.) 8,000 square foot full floor co-op overlooking Central Park would fetch if it were to be sold.
After hearing what Yelena and Flap Jaw had to say, Your Mama got on the horn with The Social Butterfly who made a few discreet inquiries with some of her more hoity toity acquaintances and reported back that the ladees in Balmain suits who lunch at Swifty's and Michael's haven't heard a thing about this particular real estate rumor and doubt very seriously that Miz Hearst would give up her apartment unless she was dead or being dragged out kicking and screaming in all 7 of the languages she speaks.
Let's be real children. Despite that uglee foreclosure bizness in Florida, neither Your Mama nor anyone else besides Miz Hearst and her team of accountants and attorneys has any inkling about Miz Hearst's financial (in)stability or exposure. Just because it has been reported that she put up the Fifth Avneu apartment as collateral for the massive loans she took from New Stream Capital, the reality could easily be that Miz Hearst still has more money than Your Mama and most of the children...combined. Although it does take big buckets of bucks to live a life of private planes, couture lunching suits and multiple residences with outrageous tax and maintenance bills, just because she couldn't afford to keep Villa Venezia, does not automatically infer that she can't well afford to keep her Fifth Avenue digs and/or her 45 acre estate in New Castle, NY.
However, if the scuttlebutt is true and the Widow Hearst's bank accounts are gasping for air, Your Mama advises that the ladee either marry well, again, or sell her big ticket properties and pay cash for something small and chic at the Sherry Netherland and perhaps treat herself to a petite pied a terre in Paris. Who needs the nonsense of constant debt restructuring and refinancing not to mention public and private chatter among her couture clad crew just to be able to maintain the image of massive wealth? It just ain't worth it.
For those of the children that do not already know, Miz Hearst's decadent digs on Fifth Avenue were exquisitely done up and did over by (now deceased) Italian trompe l'oeil genius and master of interior decorating fakery Renzo Mongiardino, a man who could (and did) make cardboard look like butter soft and aged calf skin and then meticulously installed it in some of the finest homes in the world.
The photos above show Miz Hearst's Fifth Avenue crib and were shot sometime in 2007 for the large format fashion glossy V Magazine. In the article, Miz Hearst's gal about town in a good pair of shoos daughter Fabiola Beracasa is interviewed and featured in additional and fun photos inside mommy's lavish apartment slouching on spectacular and exceptionally upholstered red velvet brocade chairs as well as straddling an ancient stone horse while standing on a gilded commode. Good stuff, children, have a look-see for a glimpse of how the young and entitled in New York City get by.
And remember kids, for now this is just rumor and gossip...rumor and gossip.