Friday, September 17, 2010

Financier Leonard Ross Declares Bankruptcy!

In September of 2007 Your Mama discussed–at length here, here, here, and here–the opulent and behemoth Beverly Hills, CA estate that attorney and financier Leonard Ross had on the market with a mind melding asking price of $165,000,000. At the time, Mister Ross's ritzy pink stucco residence was the most expensive property listed on the open market in all of the United States.

The grandiose and fabled estate was taken off the market in 2008 without a buyer to sign on the deed's dotted line, which is a cryin' shame because today word slips down the gossip grapevine that big living Mister Ross has done declared bankruptcy claiming a punishing $40,000,000 in mortgages on the walled and gated hilltop estate now known as The Beverly House Compound. According to the sassy folks who pen the Page Six column of the New York Post, Mister Ross also declared debts of $350,000 owed to the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, $3,000,000 owed to his ex-wife Merri Jean Ross and additional outstanding bills at the Brentwood Country Club and UCLA.

The Mediterranean manse, designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann who also designed the nearby Greystone Mansion and had a hand in the design of Hoover Dam, was built in 1927 for banker Milton Getz. In 1947 the plum property was purchased by married publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst who called the property Beverly House and moved his long time mistress Marion Davies into the main mansion. Mister Hearst died at Beverly House in 1951 and within two weeks Miss Davies moved her extra-curricular man-friend Horace Brown into the mansion. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Anyhoo, in 1953 newlyweds John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy spent part of their honeymoon holed up in the palatial pile and the property was used later as the West Coast headquarters for Mister Kennedy's presidential campaign. The boo-teek hotel sized house was was also featured in The Godfather film including the scene where a producer awakens to find the head of a horse lying next to him in bed.

Mister Brown inherited the property from Miss Davies, subdivided it and sold it in 1966. Our Mister Ross scooped up the main part of the estate in 1976, renovated and restored the structures, whipped the gardens into their former glory, and bought up some of the parcels that have been subdivided and sold off. According to a report in a 2007 article in The Los Angeles Times, Mister Ross attempted to sell the estate in the late 1980s with an asking price of $25,000,000.

The multi-parcel property sprawls across 6.25 meticulously manicured but kind of old-fashioned acres behind the Beverly Hills Hotel and includes a titanic 20,000+ square foot main mansion, 3 additional residences plus a separate apartment and cottage for security staff. There are, according to multiple previous reports, a total of 29 bedrooms, a heart stopping 40 poopers, 3 swimming pools, 2 tennis courts, and a damn disco.

Your Mama had a chit-chat this morning with an well connected informant we'll call The Birthday Boy who had opportunity to visit the property a few years back and didn't have the nicest things to say about the property. The Birthday Boy told Your Mama–and we quote here–"The house was classic faded aristocracy. It needed new carpet, new paint, etc. The landscaping was kind of overgrown and the hardscape was falling apart." The Birthday Boy did, however, have very complimentary things to say about both Mister Ross and his much younger wife Nataalia Rey.

Now that Mister Ross's finances have gone belly up, can we expect to see his historic and legendary house go back on the market with a more reasonable and realistic asking price? Your Mama, like everyone else, waits on pins and needles to see what happens.

22 comments:

Eric said...

Hearst, Kennedy, and the Godfather aside, the disco in the house was used in the The Jerk with Steve Martin. I'm suddenly hungry for some pizza in a cup now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Grey Gardens link - those 2 have always fascinated me. Great work for the children!

Anonymous said...

Trivia Tidbit: this is the house that was used in The Bodyguard as Miss Whitney's diva estate (or charachter Rachel M's estate); recall her out on the upper terraces, and here, there and all around the place?

Veddddy interesting news, Mama, about Mr. Ross. Great scoop!

I'll be looking forward to the Weekend Wrap-Up this weekend that you have been spoilin' us chil'en with!

avg joe :{} said...

So does that mean the 165MM compound will end up selling for 10MM ??? that will kill the RE market being that is over 90% drop, just like I predicted 2 years ago would happen,

:)

surely he can't continue on living there if he is bankrupt, who will protect him from those that the millions are owed to ???

Anonymous said...

Looks to me as if it should be made into a hotel, if a buyer could get the zoning for that.

commentator said...

...and the library/office and I believe the motor court were used in "Fletch".

lil' gay boy said...

I should live so long as to accumulate over forty million dollars of debt. I could never see him getting $165MM for this; I wonder what it will finally fall for?

One tiny note (as I dry my eyes, weeping for poor Mr. Ross) –– according to multiple sources, the (in)famous head-of-a-horse scene was actually filmed in the living room of Falaise, the Guggenheim estate on Long Island where, unrelatedly, Charles Lindbergh spent the night prior to his transatlantic crossing. Perhaps Mama's sources meant to indicate the exterior?

Dogatella Versace said...

I drive by this house every morning on my way to the canyon, man i would love to get inside. there was a great story about ms.davies in vanity fair like 15yrs ago, and her heirs, talked about this estate and the crazy going ons in palms springs and the daughter she had, very bizzarre happenings before she passed away

Anonymous said...

for anonymous 10.19. that is greystone, not gray gardens. gray gardens was the house of jackie o's aunt and cousin on long island. greystone was the home of ned and lucy doheny. and was certainly done by gordon kaufmann.

Anonymous said...

Just hit @ $95MM

http://www.hiltonhyland.com/properties_viewer.php?id=1788#

Jimbo said...

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

angie said...

This is rather interesting for a couple reasons.. a financier who can't manage his own finances to the tune of $40MM in debt and the brink of bankruptcy, and a financier who can't appropriately price his home for sale even if it means saving himself from $40MM in debt and the brink of bankruptcy. I honestly think it's time for his relatives a consider a competency hearing, and I seriously doubt he'll get more than a third of what he believes it's worth.

Anonymous said...

I still feel badly about poor Khartoum.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I worked for Mr. Ross in this home as his personal assistants. This home is unreal and unlike anything I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I done some work on a motel of his in Texas and he only paid all the contractors a fraction of what they were owed he's a cheat and some people got no pay

Anonymous said...

The head scene in Godfather was actually in one of the hallways of the Ross home. As far as I'm concerned he is getting what he deserves for hurting so many people for so many years. I know, I worked for him. He has no people skills at all.

Anonymous said...

Not true.. I was there

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I heard her ghost can still be seen walking around.

Anonymous said...

He still owes alot of money to alot of his employees. I don't know how or why I worked for him for so many years. If his hotel walls could talk!!!