Monday, January 20, 2014

UPDATE: Steven Cohen

Last year, despite a nasty and very public securities and wire fraud investigation—an investigation that's since resulted in an elephantine $1.8 billion dollar settlement fine—famously secretive hedge fund fat cat Steven Cohen went on a hardcore residential real estate buying spree that included a much-ballyhooed $62.5 million acquisition of a 6.5 acre ocean front estate (above) in East Hampton, NY. The sale price was a full $2.5 million over the official asking price.

Now, less than a year later, comes word down the East Coast über-high end property gossip grapevine via the plugged-in property gossips at The Observer that Mister Cohen and his second wife, Alexandra, have caught a classic case of The Real Estate Fickle and have quietly made the property available for the right price if you know the right East End real estate agent to ring.

According to an unidentified attorney who's "familiar with the transaction,"it's not the $1.8 billion fine that has Mister Cohen scrambling for cash—he's got a fortune estimated between $8 and 10 billion so he can cover that with relative east—but rather because the swanky seaside enclave of East Hampton is just "too Jewish." Seriously, kids, that's what some attorney told the Observer. Too Jewish.*

The Observer revealed that an obviously sick rich but otherwise unnamed Australian has expressed some interest in the property but it's not clear if said Aussie was willing to equal the price Mister Cohen paid. Of course, Your Mama and ever other property gossip on the globe wants to know if billionaire David Geffen might want a second crack and the place since—so the story goes—he also wanted to purchase property but was outbid by Mister Cohen's all-cash offer.

The property was sold by the widow of private equity bigwig Robert McKeon—he committed suicide in the fall of 2012—and includes an approximately 10,000 square foot, three-story main residence, extensive gardens and vast lawns, a tennis court, and a bean-shaped swimming pool nestled into the dunes. Although Mister and Missus Cohen reportedly planned to gut and remodel the existing residence, at the time of its sale it had antique oak and limestone floors, a "barn-style" double-height ceiling, and an ocean view master suite plus six additional family bedrooms.

Some of the other wickedly wealthy and/or famous homeowners on (or just off) Further Lane include Jerry Seinfeld, hedge funder Jim Chanos—who owns the beach front house next door to Mister Cohen's smaller spread, Johnson & Johnson heir James "Jimmie" Johnson, modern art mogul Larry Gagosian, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, Austria-born fashion designer Helmut Lang, and ad man and t.v. personality Donny Deutsch. Immediately next door to Mister Cohen's $62.5 million acre spread is an even more impressive and painstakingly landscaped 18-ish acre estate that, after a long legal battle, passed from the late financier Christopher H. Browne to his architect widower Andrew Gordon. Mister Gordon passed somewhat suddenly last fall and, according to a well-connected Hamptons real estate insider, it might (or might not) be that Mister Cohen is thinking some real estate super-whale might come along and want to snatch up both properties to combine into one mega-estate? Hmm. Stranger things have happened, right?

The voracious collector of contemporary art and inveterate real estate baller's extensive portfolio of private residential real estate also include but may or may not be limited to:

—A 9,000-ish square foot multi-gambreled cottage-manse on 2.1 manicured acres that's also on East Hampton's Further Lane that he and the missus picked up in 2007 for $18,072,000

—Their primary residence, a 14-ish acre landscaped estate in Greenwich, CT, they bought in June 1998 for $14.8 million and has a Richard Serra sculpture in the front yard. They also own the 4.5 acre spread next door with its recently rebuilt and substantially smaller mansion.

—An art-filled, 9,000 square foot duplex in Midtown Manhattan that they bought in 2005 for $24 million, had worked over by Charles Gwathmey, and currently have on the open market for $98,000,000 after it was recently reduced from its ballsy original ask of $115 million.

—Two, newly erected (although not quite finished) eight-story side-by-side townhouses, also in the West Village, that were bought in December 2012 for a combined $38,806,000.

—An almost 10,000 square foot triplex maisonette condo at the Abingdon building—a former nursing home—in New York City's West Village that they scooped up in June 2013 for $23,419,750 million.

—As we were reminded by one of the children...A nearly 14,000 square foot house on 2.54 lake front acres in the swanky (if not fully built out) guard-gated Stone Creek Ranch developement. Property records show Mister and Missus Cohen picked up the 8 bedroom and 10.5 bathroom mansion in late 2005 for $8,500,000. Other homeowners in the community, as per property records Your Mama peeped, include retired professional football player Samari Rolle, waste disposal heir and investment conglomerate head H. Wayne Huizenga Jr., Italian foodservice mogul Louis Piancone, wireless technology entrepreneur Stephen Cavayero, natural gas magnate Francis Mennella, and toy and hobby supply wholesaler Brian Gobitz.

*Mister Cohen's representatives subsequently told The Observer that not only is the Jewish comment "fabricated, false, and despicable" but that the neither the house in question nor Mister and Missus Cohen's other house in East Hampton, a non-oceanfront mini estate also on Further Lane, are currently for sale. Make of that what you will.

aerial image (East Hampton): Bing


Anonymous said...

He owns a mansion in the gated Stone Creek Ranch community in Delray Beach, Florida.

Let us remind ourselves of this great Vanity Fair article, which revealed to us that only the curtains in houses such as the ones owned by Mr. Cohen could end up costing between $20,000 and $25,000:

Anonymous said...

Seriously, why would you pay 2.5 million MORE than the asking price? Just WHY!?

The Aussie

Sandpiper said...

Another stroll, Mama, back to my neurons firing on '07. That's when you, via dear Max Abelson, first wedged a big piece of real estate spinach between Stevie's front teeth. It's still there and sure it will be for a long time to come. Meow.

In bouts of insomnia, I pass on the ocean waves machine. Rather, I'm an insatiable reader of Cohen messes.

For the three of you that might be interested, his ex, Patricia, has been bounced around the legal system for years trying to get a case heard. It's predicated on Steve-o (and accomplices) bilking her out of millions in the divorce settlement. Her suit's finally rolling. The nice lady simply want's her long-awaited day in court. God's speed, Patricia. You're in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

5:17 in the blog post was said there was other non cash offer from david geffen i believe, so thats why they put additional 2m on top of the listing price. personnally this is not that great estate, the house looks not like a 60m dollar property. That other property that was reported about a month ago, now that was a really wonderfull property.

Anonymous said...

Which other property?

lil' gay boy said...

Further Lane is home to a wide variety of architectural gems -- from provenanced modern and post-moderns to the historic Nid de Papillon next door, currently owned by Johnson & Johnson heir Jimmie.

However, this egomaniacal pile is little more than a very expensive tear-down for this neighborhood -- expanding Nid de Papillon would make more sense (and be easier than trying to get a demolition permit for it) in terms of trying to restore it to its original 100+ acres, as Mama posits: "...thinking some real estate super-whale might come along and want to snatch up both properties to combine into one mega-estate..."

I doubt any locals would shed a tear if this was razed. And the "too Jewish" comment seems unlikely to be true; just shit stirring to me...

Anonymous said...

Have been on the properties on either side of this one. James and Jennifer Johnson (parents of Jamie) to the west, and the Browne property to the east, which was inherited (after a major court fight with the Browne family) by his significant other, Andrew Gordon. Andrew, as noted, also died this year at a fairly young age, so I wonder who now inherits all that. . . Given that's it's a good deal bigger than the Cohen property -- stretching all the way from Further Lane, one can only imagine the stratospheric number that will be attached to that listing.

Browne had another estate across the road on Middle Lane, which was finally sold pretty recently. This ocean property previously was owned by the very old school socialite Elizabeth Fondaras. Browne and Gordon worked for many years on the landscaping, building a pond, etc, but left the house pretty much as is while continuing to live on the Middle Lane property.

The Johnson's place is a completely different deal. When I was there it appeared that nothing major had been done to it in years-- classic old money way of life. Imagine old tube tv's in the bedrooms, etc. Would bet the parents never spend a night there between Labor Day and the middle of June. The better part of the rest of the year they live on a several thousand acre collection of properties in the Pottersville area of Far Hills, New Jersey. Much of the it has been put in a land trust and can never be developed.

Btw, across the road from all of this is the beautiful estate called Lasata that was owned by the parents of Black Jack Bouvier, Jackie's father. It was bought (not from any Bouvier relations) and renovated in recent years by Reed Krackoff, the force behind the current version of Coach.

Apologize for going off topic, but thought some folks might find this stuff interesting.

Anonymous said...

1:10 this one
looks much much better :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks L'il Gay for the Old Long Island link. Didn't see it before I wrote the last post here. Didn't know the house was documented as such as Nid de Papillon, so that history was very interesting to me.

Very much doubt the Johnsons are interested in selling, but who knows.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to demolish Nid de Papillon?

Anonymous said...

@8:20 - So I think we can deduce that you don't know much of anything.

Sandpiper said...

Hi 7:57,
That's great off topic info you shared. Paints an interesting picture. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The richest 85 people in the world have more money than 3.5 billion other. Here is a good example....

Anonymous said...

12:52 Is this Obama? And who cares?

Anonymous said...

Steven COHEN is JEWISH. Definitely fabricated comment.

Sandpiper said...

Dear Mama,
Hope you're feeling a little better today. Wish I could run over some homemade chicken soup. Would if I could.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:43 maybe not fabricated. Everyone knows that Jews can be very critical of each other. I have a Jewish friend in fact that, when asked what kind of guys she likes, answers White Anglo Saxon Hebrews. Meaning Jewish guys that act like Episcopalians.

Anonymous said...

The Christopher Browne luscious and highly-detailed estate (Chateau Armois) was on Middle Lane just a bit further east from the Ted Ammons murder house. Middle Lane is parallel to Further Lane. I know of no CB estate near the house Cohen purchased last year which is on the Further Lane end toward Maidstone Club.

MS. Lily Pond

Anonymous said...

Chris Browne and then his heir and partner, Andrew Gordon, owned the property due east of the Cohen property, as I said in a previous post. Their intention was to sell the Middle Lane property and eventually move to the one on Middle. Andrew Gordon, who was an architect by training, had a website (at least before he died) with architectural renderings of what they intended to do with the existing house. They had several large benefits on the Further Lane property, and it's widely known that they owned that property. I'm sure all the big brokers in EH are strategizing for the listing that will inevitably result in one of the biggest real estate transactions in East Hampton's (indeed the entire Hamptons) history.

Rosco Mare said...

@ Anon 7:57

Thanks for the fascinating comments. Enjoyed them.