Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Angelo Mozilo Shakes Up Real Estate Portfolio

SELLER: Angelo Mozilo
LOCATION: Thousand Oaks, CA
PRICE: $3,400,000
SIZE: 6,238 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday, while mindin' the necessary ps and qs for our discussion about the Thousand Oaks, CA mansion recently leased by phoenix-like pop phenom Britney Spears, we rather randomly ran across another, smaller mansion located behind the guarded gates of the well-heeled Sherwood County Club owned as per property records–and much to our pearl clutching flabbergast–by the vastly-loathed and utterly disgraced former Countrywide Financial CEO and COB Angelo Mozilo who has the architecturally conventional (mc)mansion listed on the open market with an asking price of $3,400,000.

Mister Mozilo, a mortgage industry maverick who co-founded Countrywide in 1969 and nearly 30 years later co-founded the dramatically collapsed IndyMac Bank (now OneWest Bank), is widely regarded as one of the more Machiavellian sub-mortgage-men who helped march the U.S. (and global) economy straight off the cliff in the mid-Noughts. While Mister Mozilo and his mortgage-making army pushed and pedaled sub-prime home loans he talked up the then-flourishing company's stock price, earned hundreds of millions in compensation, and cashed out more than $400,000,000 worth of Countrywide stock, a large portion of it during the last couple of years of his tattered tenure as the king of Countrywide.

Alas, the sub-primed fueled real estate bubble burst sometime around 2007 and Mister Mozilo left Countrywide in 2008 after the crippled company was sold for $4.1 billion to Bank of America. In June 2009 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Mister Mozilo with insider trading and securities fraud and in September 2010 Mister Mozilo settled with the SEC and agreed to pay $67,500,000 in fines, $45,000,000 of which was paid by Bank of America. Despite the sizable payout, settlement terms allow Mister Mozilo to circumvent acknowledgement of any misconduct. We can't vouch for or confirm it but online idle chatter says he has a net worth well in excess of half a billion dollars.

To be honest, puppies, Your Mama isn't sure where exactly Mister Mozilo and his wife Phyllis currently (or previously) consider(ed) their primary residence. After all, In addition to the house in Thousand Oaks they now have on the market, they own a variety of luxury residences in Hawaii, Santa Barbara, and the affluent Coachella Valley desert community of La Quinta (CA).

Property records are a bit vague so we can't accurately discern what amount Mister and Missus Mozilo paid for the Thousand Oaks mansion they now have on the market but the deeds and docs we peeped online reveal the long-married couple picked the place up in March of 2000 with a $700,000 mortgage.

Redfin shows Mister and Missus Mozilo first pushed their red-brick, center-hall Georgian-Colonial-style (mc)mansion in Thousand Oaks on the market in late July (2011) with an asking price of $3,680,000. In mid-October the price was reduced to its current $3,400,000.

Listing information shows the stately two-story house was built in 1999 and sits on a half acre lot that backs up to the 2nd fairway of the Jack Nicklaus-designed par-72 championship course at the Sherwood Country Club, The meticulously maintained mansion measures 6,238 square feet with a total of 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and a finished 4 car garage.

A wide, lantern-lit brick pathway cuts through a rose-bush filled front garden to the front door that opens into an impressive but still intimately-scaled double-height foyer with cherry wood floors and a grand staircase lined with a tightly-spaced thicket of turned balusters that wrap around a the second floor gallery. A nearby powder pooper is trimmed with black marble baseboards and moldings, a bevy of hand-stenciled wall designs, "gold" or gold-plated fixtures, and a glimmering jet black terlit.

Listen, children, we get the perfectly acceptable decorative meme of transforming an ordinary powder room where guests engage in embarrassing vanities and ugly bodily efforts into an unexpectedly delightful jewel box. However, in our humble and entirely meaningless opinion, this one is all just so faux and sadly earnest that it makes us feel squeamish and unsettled. To use a tired decorating metaphor, this heavily-processed guest facility looks to Your Mama a little too much like putting a not-quite-right shade of coral-colored lipstick on an albino pig. Of course, if you can and would pay three million clams for this house, probably you either like this sort of thing or you can afford to change it so our sassy opinion is–we're well aware–entirely moot.

To the right of the foyer a formal living room has an acre of wall-to-wall beige carpeting, a focal-point fireplace with marble surround and carved wood chimney breast, and numerous over-sized windows partly obscured with yard after yard of draped and puddled metallic fabric. The cherry floors in the foyer extend in to the formal dining room where the walls above the wood-paneled chair rail have florid hand-painted architectural detailing, the same sort of stuff as on the walls in the powder room.

There is even more hand-painted detail work on the ceiling in the library/office behind the formal living room where two opposite walls have floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinetry and book/display shelves and the windows and sliding doors are festooned with the sort of elaborately pleated, trimmed and swagged drapery that always looks to Your Mama like it aspires to be something so much more than mere curtains in a multi-million dollar exurban (mc)mansion outside Los Angeles.

Less formal family quarters include a huge center-island kitchen with full-size side-by-side fridge and freezer, banking institution-like green granite counter tops set on custom chestnut or cherry (or whatever) raised-panel cabinets, a breakfast nook, and an exceptionally large butler's pantry. A long peninsula counter divides the kitchen from the family room with fireplace, entertainment equipment cabinet, and a pair of multi-paned sliding glass doors that glide back to reveal a smallish but fully-equipped brick and concrete entertainment terrace. At one end of the slim terrace there's a built-in barbecue center, at the other end a raised spa with golf course view and in between a plunge-sized infinity-edged swimming pool.

The sizable second floor master suite encompasses a sitting area with fireplace and opens through sliding glass doors to a private balcony with mountain and golf course views. There are two large, windowed and custom-fitted walk-in closets, a mirrored dressing area and a super-sized bathroom with brown and white marble-sheathed floor, even still more hand-stencil architectural details on the walls, twin sinks and vanities, a bidet for washing nether regions, a jetted soaking tub and separate glass-enclosed steam shower.

This is very decidedly not Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's dream master bathroom. The swaggy balloon shade over the built-in bathtub alone is enough to give Your Mama a damn coronary. None-the-less we find the chocolate brown white-veined marble rather attractive even though we'd much prefer it put down in large slabs rather that in less-exciting square tiles trying to act fancy with their 45-degree angle.

Anyhoodles poodles, beyond the swimming pool, the backyard tumbles and slides down to a mature tree-line that–one hopes–provides a modicum of privacy from the daily parade of golfers who stroll and roll by as they play the links and shoot the shit. The steeply pitched and very green lawn gets tamed into flat (or sort of flat) terraces with curving brick retaining walls lined with well-tended rose bushes and other pretty plants. A small round terrace just below the infinity-edged swimming pool has an elevated built-in brick fire pit. This is, it would seem, the perfect almost-but-not-quite-hidden spot where mommy and daddy can smoke an after-dinner doobie while the live-in Malaysian nanny helps their 2.3 children with their algebra homework.

As it turns out, listing their Thousand Oaks mansion isn't the only recent adjustment Mister and Missus Mozilo have made to their rather extensive portfolio of residential real estate. Property records reveal in March 2011 Mister and Missus Mozilo splashed out $1,800,000 on a .78 acre vacant parcel of land at The Madison Club, an upscale, guard-gated golf community in La Quinta (CA) that weaves and winds its way through and around an undeniably scenic Tom Fazio-designed course. Of course we don't have a clue what the Mozilos plan to do with the water feature-fronting parcel.

The Mozilos have owned desert digs since at least August 2005 when records show they procured a 4,161 square foot Mediterranean mini-mansion with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms that backs up to the golf course in the guard-gated The Quarry at La Quinta, another golf-centric community in La Quinta designed and developed around a Tom Fazio-designed course. Since buying the the house at The Quarry at La Quinta property records suggest (but don't make entire clear) Mister and Missus Mozilo own or owned one and possibly two 3,000-plus square foot condominiums same development.

Mister and Missus Mozilo have also maintained a residence in the upscale coastal community of Santa Barbara, CA since at least 1994 when they coughed up an unknown amount of money to acquire a house located a short and flat walk to both the beach and the casually elegant ocean front Four Seasons Resort, The Biltmore. Almost 10 years later in September 2003 they dropped and undisclosed amount for a house almost directly across the street, which they subsequently sold in February 2008 for $9,000,000.

In July 2004 Mister and Missus Mozilo, who clearly have a real estate thing for country clubby cribs that booty-up to hyper-manicured golf courses, dropped another unknown but no-doubt considerable amount of sub-prime mortgage moolah to buy a 12,692 square foot mansion with 9.5 bathrooms that borders and overlooks the Montecito Country Club.

In addition to their residential holdings in Thousand Oaks, La Quinta and Santa Barbara, property records also provide evidence that Mister and Missus Mozilo own additional residential property in or around Hilo, HI–it appears to be a condo–and in December 2010 they took in $2,500,000 when they successfully unloaded a large house in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of La Cañada Flintridge that they purchased way back in September 1993 for $875,000.

Certainly Mister Mozilo's career in the mortgage industry is over. In fact he's disbarred from accepting an officer or director level position of a publicly traded corporate entity for the rest of his life. Even still and even though he's a become a bit of a social and professional pariah, he can take whatever comfort there may be in his clearly sizable retained wealth that will likely allow he and his to live in guard-gated golf community luxury the rest of their lives.

listing photos: Prudential California Realty


Anonymous said...

Old Leatherface should not even own any homes. He should be in prison and all of his money and assets seized.

Doug said...

I won't discuss the business doings of Mozilo except to agree with Mama that it would be difficult to do your "business" in that bathroom.

Years ago you could buy a house from Sears. It wouldn't have been loaded in your Ford Super Duty at the store even if Ford Super Duty trucks had existed back then. It was shipped in and built on site. Now, this house doesn't look like it was bought at Sears. It looks more like it came from Wal-Mart, was loaded into a Super Duty (still in those boxes with Chinese instructions) and screwed together with the enclosed allen's wrench. The whole place has that cheap, faux look. Would saying the house is sub-prime be an unacceptable pun?

Anonymous said...

It looks seedy as if they cleared out in a hurry. Then again it reflects the owner.

angie said...

The home's exterior is nice enough. The overblown interior decorative flourishes not to much. The powder room would work great as guest facilities at the Hershey Chocolate factory, but not in a home.

Mr. Mazio's story is so depressing. He ends up with a half Billion $ fortune, only ends up paying a fraction of his fine, and the law can't come any closer to holding him accountable? I will now try to enjoy my dinner, but it won't be easy.

Doug said...

Angie, I'm in total agreement with you regarding the shady state of Mr. Mazio's business dealings. I'd say more, but out of respsect for Mama and the board, I'll keep that to myself and stay on the real estate topic. I'd say this house represents Mr. Mazio's soul: cheap and empty. May Mazio and his enjoy the holidays in whatever over-blown trail house they've decamped to.

Mama, another wonderful post. I'm reading great comments from some nice, knowledgeable and interesting people. You have a lovely place in a great community. Thanks for sharing yourself and your internet home with us.

Anonymous said...

Stop covering scum.

angie said...

Hi Doug. Mr Mozilo is part of this home's history, and Mama discussed him, so it's fair game for our discussion too. If you're concerned about staying strictly on topic because of the whining of the 'just give me the facts' poster from the previous article, don't be. There are any number of real estate listing sites if all a person wants are the facts. Mama takes the facts and expounds on them, making them interesting, informative, fun for us to comment on if we have something to say, so feel free to express yourself :)

Anonymous said...

1:38 my feelings exactly. All his properties should have been confiscated and used to pay down the national debt.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the difference in the ultimate outcome between Mozillo and Madoff? I don't see it. But one is in jail and one is enjoying his life, flush with cash stolen from others. Can someone explain?

Anonymous said...

re 11:06 AM Better lawyers, more patsies taking the fall.

Anonymous said...

1:48, I completely agree.

angie said...

@11:06, in very basic terms, Madoff ran a Ponzi scheme, a fabricated arrangement he used to swindle billions from unsuspecting investors, while Mozilo co-founded and chaired actual companies which he ran into the ground via shady sub-prime mortgage lending practices, and yet managed to pocket and walk away with half a billion dollars himself.

Mama gave a very good synopsis of Mozilo's unethical misconduct and mismanagement in the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of this article. To find out more about both men:

Carla Ridge said...

"The Banality of Evil" indeed. Moz def raped a nation, and THIS is what he did with all that ill-gotten loot? I mean, he chose *this* P.O.S. as the place to rest his weary head, take his morning coffee, take his grunting shits? Of course there were other places he parked the stolen cash, but in a world where the 'home' was the ultimate trophy, that he chose such a stinker says volumes. Hannah Arendt might not disagree entirely with my comparison of Mozillo to Eichmann.

Anonymous said...

It's time to take a page from our good buddy China's playbook and start executing these guys. AFTER we get the clawback.

Anonymous said...

Mozilo would be hanging from a lampost ala Mussolini if there were any justice in this country.

rajni said...
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