Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UPDATE: Villa Leopolda

The rumor and gossip about billionaire widow Lily Safra's notoriously high maintenance Villa Leopolda seems never to end.

In the summer of 2008, it was widely speculated (and reported) that The Widow Safra sold her legendary Belle Epoque estate in the Cote d'Azure to Russian billionaire Mikail Prokhorov for a teeth chattering and record breaking £392,000,000. That's around $560,000,000 to all us Americanos at today's rates. However, back when the deal was alleged to have been done, it rang up to $750,000,000, a nerve-wracking amount of money, the thought of which nearly landed Your Mama right up in the hospital with a colossal case of shock and awe.

Naturally, Mister Prokhorov's people said, "Nyet!" and vehemently denied Mister Prokhorov's involvement in any rumored sale of Villa Leopolda. Then came a report in early January of 2009 in The Londoner's Diary that stated The Widow Safra's trophy estate had, in fact, not Aha! been sold. About that time, Your Mama heard from a couple our savvy sources connected to the same sorts of jet-setting circles The Widow Safra runs in and both whispered in our big ol' ear that the news of a sale was just a bunch of hooey at best and a pathetic publicity ploy at worse.

Fast forward to the middle of February when the scuttlebutt starts up again in the London papers. Earlier today, both the Times Online and the Daily Mail ran titillating articles that claim Mister Prokhorov wants out of the alleged deal and is demanding his £39,000,000 deposit be returned by The Widow Safra.

Miz Safra, a lacquer haired high society ladee who knows well how to grind the financial gears, has reportedly refused to return the massive deposit citing French law which states property buyers lose their deposit in the event they back out of a real estate deal after the sales agreement has been signed.

As the children might imagine, the Widow Safra remains mum on the matter and, as usual, Mister Prokhorov's people have once again declared, "Nyet!" Mister Prokhorov's spokesman went on to repeat the oft repeated claim that the insanely rich Russian billionaire would conduct no bizness in the country of France until French authorities apologize for arresting him for the alleged procurement of prostitutes for himself an some horny friends while they all threw it down billionaire style in the swank ski resort of Courchevel in January of 2007. Needless to say, the French authorities have not apologized, nor does it look like they're going to. All of which means, of course, that any news of an offer, sale ore request for a deposit to be returned is all just speculation and gossip.

Your Mama imagines we won't know when or if Villa Leopolda sells until a fleet of moving trucks shows up in the dead of night in an attempt to covertly squirrel out all The Widow Safra's glitzy gew-gaws and swellegant knick-knacks unnoticed by the media. We shall see, children, we shall see.

Incidently, one report went on to say that the global economic downturn has hit rich Russians halaciously hard and that even uber-flashy Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is quietly trying to dump his lavish water front spread in the Cap d'Antibes, another unconfirmed rumor that we should all savor, relish and take in with a gigantic grain of salt.

24 comments:

StPaulSnowman said...

Mama......you are the best......you always come through at the right time. Just when we thought spring might be coming, the mercury is plummeting so you late afternoon post is most welcome.......a hearty thanks!

Anonymous said...

Any chance of posting the Safra autopsy photos?

Anonymous said...

Are you referring to Mrs. Safra's autopsy after the Russian mafia gets the best of her?

Anonymous said...

great riposte!

Anonymous said...

Old Lady Safra is correct. No deposits returned in France. The Russian should stick to his promise & do no business in France after his hooker fiasco! The French Riviera, Italian Lakes, Monaco, Swiss Alps & London in particular would be better without them ALL!

Anonymous said...

Old Lady Safra is correct. No deposits returned in France. The Russian should stick to his promise & do no business in France after his hooker fiasco! The French Riviera, Italian Lakes, Monaco, Swiss Alps & London in particular would be better without them ALL!

angeleyes said...

On the one hand, I can understand Mister Prokhorov's decison to back out of the deal. The is decidedly not the time to be thinking about buying the most expensive spread on the planet, regardless of personal wealth. On the other hand, he was apparently so anxious to acquire a trophy property to add to his collection, that he acted impulsively and recklessly in plunking down an enormous deposit without thoroughly checking to make sure of what he was getting himself into. Goes to show the uber rich aren't always smarter than the rest of us, just luckier until it runs out. Great article Mama, thanks :)

brooklawn dr. said...

Sorry for being a bit, well alot off topic, but speaking of big sales, I found this tid-bit:

"Spelling, Aaron (former): 594 S. Mapleton Dr. Los Angeles, California 90024 56,000 sq. ft.; asking price by Candy Spelling (after Aaron's death) was $150,000,000

some Arab prince bought it for around $130,000,000"



http://celebrityaddressaerial.com/Celebrity/CelebrityAddressAerial-S.html

Has anyone heard this information? Mama????

Anonymous said...

brooklawn - someone read the rumors posted by mama and others and repeated them without making it clear they were rumors.

Sothebymole said...

It was actually an Arab Queen who will probably keep Michael Jackson in that doll room for recreation. Many of the Jackson treasures from the upcoming auction will be used to furnish Candy's old place. The Neverland gates are to be enameled pink and installed in the pool area.

Anonymous said...

He is out of luck.
A deposit is a deposit and as long as she has performed and did not defraud or deceive him, she is entitled to keep the deposit.

Anonymous said...

Who caaaaaaaaaaaaaares

Viva! said...

As I've said before...when HBO finally decides to do a mini series on Mrs Safra...only Joan Collins can play this part. Safra is a truly terrifying presence, Joan could do her justice (and look prettier whilst doing so!)

Anonymous said...

Well then you up there at 8:56 pm, who do you care about?

I find this Safra woman to be fascinating. One woman and all that house. Do you think she has guests all the time?

Anonymous said...

I think there is going to be carnage amoungst the world's mega property owners - how many of them have lost billions with Madoff and now 'Sir' Alan Stamford?

bentley said...

'Swellegant' - Mama, thank you for that. I shall use it.

Anonymous said...

I've seen La Leopolda (from the outside) and it is immense! It takes up an entire hillside and the gardens are magnificent.

Having said that, I can see why she wants to get rid of it. It's too huge.

She is terrifying and she will get to keep her deposit.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. When she was married to Safra they lived in a penthouse in Monaco, right? Then came the fire, she became a widow and moved out. Did she buy this place immediately thereafter? I thought she went first to London. When did she get this palace? And why? Has she been living there? It was built by the king of the Belgians in the 20s?, 30s?, for his ho...er, mistress, was it not?

Kissyface said...

Wait! Is that photo in Mama's Daily Mail link (not the palmettoed pile, the adorable guy underneath!) really a picture of Mikail Prokhorov, 13-times over Russian billionaire ... or of Alfie Patten, 13-year old English daddy of newborn baby Maisie? Whoever he is, he has the most ADORABLE face of an 8 year old EVAH!! O, I know: They're the same person! XXXXXXX OOOOOOO

But the boy is so, well, so irresponsible! First he knocks up a 15 year old (probably in Courchevel, if you connect the dots) and then he's agreeing to pay £392,000,000 for a legendary Belle Epoque estate in the Cote d'Azure! Sad, really.

Maybe if he agreed to spend a few nights frolicking with Lilly she'd give him his deposit back?

TonyV said...

She is absolutely terrifying, yes! If an "ordinary" society lady was messing with the Russian mob I'd say watch it. But this is a woman who is heavily guarded and quietly suspected in the mysterious deaths of, not one, but TWO fabulously rich husbands.

bwemerson said...

Just to set the historical record straight: Although the property was once owned by King Leopold, the house was built by noted American society architect/decorator Ogden Codman (who co-wrote 'The Decoration of Houses' with Edith Wharton)for his own use. No sooner had he undertaken the project than the great depression of 1929 wiped out many of his paper gains (history always repeats itself), and he was forced to give up the house (if memory serves correctly, there was talk of it being rented by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor but Codman thought the alterations she required were tacky, so no go), and live more simply in the large 18th century chateau he already owned in another part of France. Then, at some point, the joint was purchased by one of the Greek shipping tycoons---was it Niarchos? I don't remember.

Kissyface said...

Well, for anyone who cares, Villa Leopolda's former owners are said to include Izaak and Dorothy Killam and Gianni Agnelli and Marella Agnelli.

Villa Leopolda also plays the role of Lermontov's villa in movie "The Red Shoes." The heroine dramatically ascends the villa stairs under the misconception that she's been invited to dinner, BUT SHE'S REALLY THERE TO BE GIVEN THE STARRING ROLE IN A FANCY NEW BALLET!!

I can't remember if she ever does get dinner. But I suppose it doesn't matter, since ballerinas aren't supposed to eat much anyway. So who'd want to stuff her face in front of the guy who just offered her a plum role? Also, Boris Lermontov (played by Anton Walbrook in the movie) wasn't as cute as that picture of Mikail Prokhorov from Mama's Daily Mail link. That matters because under strict ballet custom the "Red Shoes" heroine presumably promptly commenced some hot monkey love with the choreographer, a la Balanchine!

But under old Hays Office rules, that was off-camera.

bwemerson said...

My bad. I should have googled before commenting. Indeed it was owned by Gianni Agnelli, not Stavros Niarchos.

Anonymous said...

Messing with the Russian Mafia, or getting into disputes with Russian Billionaires is not a recommended when doing business.......