Tuesday, January 20, 2009

UPDATE: Villa Leopolda

Poor rich Lily Safra.

The jet setting international socialite and mega-moneyed widow prefers to float well under the publicity radar of all the real estate gossips, but rumors and reports keep seeping out about Villa Leopolda, her legendarily high maintenance Belle Epoque estate on Villefrance on the Cote d'Azure that was widely whispered to have been sold last year to a big spending Russian billionaire for a knee buckling and heart stopping £392,000,000. That's 576,283,120 buckaroos to all us Americanos at today's rates, but back in August of 2008–before the global financial markets had a major meltdown–that figure converted to in excess of $730,000,000.

As it turns out, the palatial property was not sold. Or at least not according to a recent report in The Londoner's Diary. Your Mama isn't all that surprised to see this in print since both The Social Butterfly and Nelly Knowsitall, two of our better connected tipsters, told us ages ago that they'd heard on the hoity toity gossip grapevine they're privy to that all the brouhaha about a sale was just, well, brouhaha.

The reported £392,000,000 sale to Russian commodities tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov would have easily set a world record for the purchase price of a single family property. But alas...

Your Mama could certainly understand why Miz Safra, a ladee who knows how to marry well and whose fourth marriage was to Brazilian-naturalized Jewish Lebanese billionaire banker Edmund Safra who tragically perished in a highly suspicious conflagration of the couple's penthouse apartment in Monaco back in 1999, would want to unload this Villa Leopolda place. After all, she's no spring chicken anymore and it surely costs a small fortune and a few migraines each year to manage and pay the gardeners who maintain the gorgeously groomed 20 acre estate (who are oft reported to number 50 even though The Social Butterfly swears on her tiara it is a fraction of that), not to mention the serious doo-cats necessary to pay a full complement of house staff and team of scary security people, who are said to be armed and former members of the Israeli special forces.

The Gilded Lily, who cats around with swells like Prince Charles and that Camilla ladee he's married to and whose lavish lifestyle makes even the very rich look middle class, is also said to maintain posh properties in New York City, London, Monaco and Geneva.

Unless Miz Safra chooses to hand down the labor intensive property to one of her children, it's only a matter of time before Villa Leopolda sells to some billionaire or another whose looking for a trophy property they'll almost never use, but until then, it's pins and needles for all the folks like Your Mama who care about such frivolity as the fate of Miz Safra's celebrated estate.

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