Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Even More Madoff Madness

Late last week Your Mama swore to ourself that we were done, done, DONE discussing the real estate portfolio of swindler Bernie Madoff and his mousy, blond wife Ruth, and we really thought we were. However, thanks to a covert communique from the Palm Beach Squealer, we've got a little more poop to dish on the history of Bernie and Ruthie's Palm Beach spread as well as a dee-lishus floor plan for the 8,753 square foot residence that includes, by Your Mama's count, 5 bedrooms and 7.5 poopers...the half pooper being located in the garage and presumably for use by the day-help.

Although it isn't likely to be new news to any of the lock-jaws down in Palm Beach, 410 N. Lake Way once belonged to Peter and Roxanne Pulitzer, he of the newspaper Pulitzers, of course. Peter Pulitzer unloaded the property in 1986 in the wake of the couple's histrionic, vitriolic and very public dee-vorce that rocked the staid streets of Palm Beach with scandalous allegations of coke parties, rampant infidelity, lesbian sex, ménage à trois, gun brandishing and incest. The nasty dee-vorce left ex-Missus Pulitzer with so little money that she was forced to become an aerobics instructor, a situation that set vicious tongues wagging all up and down Worth Avenue. Ex-Missus Pulitzer later bared her big fake boobies in the pages of Playboy and, natch, wrote an eye-popping tell-all autobiography in which ol' Peter Pulitzer did not come out smelling like a rose or any other flower for that matter. Oh children, who doesn't love a love story?

Anyhoo, after Peter Pulitzer sold the place, the Banyan tree shaded house on N. Lake Way fell into the hands of a gentleman surnamed Burrows. It's our understanding that Mister Burrows did a major remodel of the house before selling it in 1994 to Bernie and Ruthie who paid for it with $3,800,000 of other people's money. Talk about some bad real estate juju. Larhd have mercy, it's going to take more than a little sage burning and a priest sprinkling holy water on all those Mexican pavers to clear this place out. Seriously, there's some bat crap crazy floating around those rooms.

We've covered the basics of the homeowner drama, now lets have a look-see at the photos and floor plan for the Madoff manse currently listed by the Feds with an asking price of $8,490,000. Your Mama quickly notices a few strong points such as the 22-foot high Cyprus beamed ceiling in the living room, the numerous and commodious closets (including a secret space under the stairs), and the small but private poopers in each of the bedrooms. However, it's the trio of atria that define the interior spaces. The atria not only suck light down into the dark inner recesses of the house but keep the bowling alley like gallery that runs from the front door all the way to the living room at the back of the house from inducing regressive memories of shooting down the birth canal.
The couple of the obvious problems would be all that Mexican paver tile–we like a Mexican paver tile as much as the next person, but puh-leeze–and the nearly hidden circular staircase that leads to the master bedroom. The rather dee-luxe master suite may have a large covered veranda, two large dressing rooms, two large walk-in closets and two poopers but, according to P.B. Squealer, it does not have view of the water due to the raised roof line on the first floor. Listen chickens, for eight and some million clams in Palm Beach Your Mama wants to wake up looking at the water, thank you very much.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to someone like Your Mama, who does not pal around with Palm Beach blue bloods, is the crappy kitchen in the Madoff residence. All that (ill-gotten) moolah and the kitchen looks like its slapped together with pressboard cabinets and linoleum counter tops? Oh, hell no. When we asked P.B. Squealer, who is himself from an old line Palm Beach family, why so many of the kitchens in older Palm Beach mansions look dated and downmarket, he said: "A lot of the old school Palm Beach houses have horrible kitchens as they are generally not open to the rest of the house and no one cooks. Any of the 'service' areas–including staff rooms, etc–are finished totally different than the opulent public rooms in the older Palm Beach homes. Not only are the vastly rich homeowners cheap as a miser with his last dollar, they want to show everyone in the household who does and who does not matter." Oh, dear. If Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter were to try pull that off with our imperious house gurl Svetlana she would most assuredly become ferociously unhinged. Svetlana does not play that way. She's either in with 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets or you're out on your ass, you know?

Anyhoo, P.B. Squealer thinks it's highly likely that someone will buy the old Madoff Manse in Palm Beach for land value, rip it down and build one of those over-sized Mediterranean confections that seem to be so popular in the area. Could be. But iffin anyone were to ask Your Mama, which of course no one did, we think this house could be salvaged with a few fixes. Overhauling the kitchen and poopers and doing something about all that terracotta tile is a given so let's not even go there. We'd recommend opening up the living room to the den and using the former den as the dining room. Then we'd convert the dining room to a tee-vee/family room, and the former family room would become the breakfast room. These things wouldn't solve all the problems with the plan and program and it won't buy a water view from the master bedroom, but it's a start towards turning this grain of sand into a pearl.

Everyone who cares about things like Bernie Madoff and/or real estate already knows that in addition to the Palm Beach house, the Feds have also listed Bernie and Ruthie's Manhattan penthouse doo-plex and their oceanfront hideway in Montauk which is reported to have sold for more than the $8,750,000 asking price. The scamming couple's 3 bedroom condo in the South of France was reportedly sold by Ruthie after the shit hit the fan and before all the couple's assets were seized. Along with their Peugeot, which they used to drive down the hill to the marina where their seven million dollar boat was parked, the condo was sold to a rich Russian for somewhere around $1,400,000.

Thanks to the ever intrepid B.S. Beaverman we've also learned that three of Bernie and Ruth's boats will be auctioned off on the 17th of November as well as a 1999 Mercedes Benz CKL 320 convertible with only 12,827 miles. The three boats are named Bull, Sitting Bull and Little Bull, names that will surely feel like a slap in the face to some of the folks bilked of their life savings by Mister Madoff's financial shenanigans.

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