Palm Beach’s uneventful storm season has passed as the resort’s social-and-sport playlists get underway. The King Library’s annual benefit at the Four Arts attracted several hundred patrons. The Palm Beach Civic Association might not be holding its “Welcome Home Party” until November 30 but the group recently hosted its first major event of the season — a town hall meeting with Congressman Allen West attracting an SRO crowd despite a downpour and a scatter of chanting protesters curbside in front of the Episcopal Church. Now, if only the up-and-down real estate market can once again rival the heights of the island’s social sphere.
King fling benefits Four Arts library
The Gioconda and Joseph King Library at The Society of the Four Arts held its second annual King Fling to benefit the King Library Restoration Fund. With books becoming among the most endangered and bookstores rapidly vanishing from the landscape, the Four Arts houses a magnificent collection of more than 65,000 volumes within its landmark Italian Renaissance-styled building designed in 1938 by Maurice Fatio. The event gave supporters a preview of the season’s first weekend book sale of the season along with a wine tasting, tantalizing bites, live music and a chance to win raffle prizes from The King Library Gift Shop.
Anheuser-Busch scion places waterfront estate for sale
Palm Beach Civic Association’s first major event of the season hosts US Congressman Allen West
The Palm Beach Civic Association and more than 200 guests recently welcomed US Representative Allen West as the headliner for the group’s first major event of the season held at the Guild Hall of the Episcopal Church of Bethesda by-the-Sea. An SRO crowd heard Congressman West’s point of view on national and international issues. Established in 1944, the Palm Beach Civic Association is dedicated to keeping its 2,000 members informed on the issues that challenge the quality of life on Palm Beach. Bob Wright is the organization’s current CEO and chairman, J. Patterson Cooper, secretary-treasurer, and Ned Barnes, president.
However much the bridges leading onto Palm Beach make the town appear easily accessible quite often the island is as exotic as a foreign port or planet with its own language and customs. Which is about the best answer I can give whenever someone asked me to explain why Palm Beach allows LLCs and Trusts to name only an agent of record — usually one of the three As, attorney, accountant, or architect — not an actual owner(s) when seeking any public approval from the Town Council, ARCOM, or Landmarks. Rather than disclose, as can be found required on the mainland, all actual property owner(s) with at least a five per cent interest. Otherwise, doesn’t the public disclosure process become a charade? Thus, wouldn’t be possible for one or all of the voting commissioners to have conflicts of interest while having the appearance of being oblivious to a conflict? Palm Beach’s has a long history of being a refuge for public figures, political icons and corporate titans in need of reprieve from public scrutiny, inherent most notably amidst its private club culture. And while many Palm Beachers no longer know their neighbors, shouldn’t they at least know Who’s What?
Manalapan oceanfront sold for $25.5 million
Attorney Francis B. Brogan Jr. as trustee of a Florida Land Trust sold 820 South Ocean Boulevard in Manalapan to RJK(2007), a Delaware-based LLC, c/o 1881 Grove Avenue, Radford, Virginia for $25.5 million, according to a sequence of recorded deeds. The LLC’s address is the same as Pinnacle Pharmaceuticals where Randal J. Kirk serves as chairman of Pinnacle’s board of directors. CEO of Third Security LLC, Mr. Kirk was a founder of New River Pharmaceuticals. On October 4, auto dealer and Palm Beach resident Terry R. Taylor and his wife Cynthia Taylor deeded the property via a 30 September 2011 Florida Land Trust agreement to Mr. Brogan for $10. Pascal Liguori broker-associate at Premier Estate Properties had listed the approx. 29,000-sq.-ft palazzo for $29.9 million according to their web site; for the buyer, Cristina Condon and Susan Wright, associates with Sotheby’s International Realty. Currently in Palm Beach, Terry and Cynthia Taylor own Casa Nana at 780 South Ocean Boulevard, purchased in 2003 for $24.2 million, that has been on-and-off the market for in excess of $60 million with broker Linda A. Gary.
Beatrice Tollman deeds Chesterfield Hotel for $6.5 million to corporate entity
According to recently recorded court documents filed by Proskauer Rose lawyers Allen J. Loeb and Mark Harris, Palm Beach-London-Capetown resident Beatrice Tollman, as principal agent for the Tollman-Hundley Court LP, deeded the Chesterfield Hotel for $6.5 million to Chesterfield Hotel Property Inc., a Delaware-based corporation. As you may recall partner Monty Hundley was jailed on a variety of federal fraud-related charges while Bea and Stanley Tollman fled to London where they successfully fought extradition back to the US (Mrs. Tollman was too infirmed to leave their Knightsbridge manse). The Tollmans eventually reached a mega-million settlement with the Feds, allowing for liens to be recorded on their various stateside residential properties including a $20 million mortgage on Southwood, their 174 Via del Lago estate.
Membership in Palm Beach’s most exclusive club of residential owners who pay more than $1 million in property taxes has dwindled to only two prospective members, according to the projected 2012 property appraiser’s records. Coincidentally, the two most fortunate are next door neighbors — Nelson Peltz and County Road LLC, often reported as Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev. In past years, they were joined by other boldfaced corporate titans who have seen their appraised values shrink considerably. Rybolovlev’s $95 million Maison de L’Amitie has an appraised market value of $56 million with a $1.06 million tax bill due, down from $1.4 million.
Interestingly, though I am aware of the differences between residential and commercial property evaluations, the approx. 10-acre oceanfront parcel that includes only The Breakers landmarked hotel building consisting of 540 units, restaurants, cabana club and spa has an appraised value of $151 million with a tax bill of $2.7 million, according to the property appraiser’s web site, only slightly more than the Peltz and Rybolovlev residential parcels combined. That’s what makes Palm Beach so fascinating, no?
Out Wellington Way
With Houston-Wellington polo patron John B. Goodman’s DUI/ Manslaughter/Leaving the scene trial slated for 2012, recently the Wilson v. Goodman civil case took a curious twist following the depositions by samurai forensic accountants. Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley ruled almost all of what was widely-believed to be Goodman’s hundreds of millions will be off limits to the jury when/if they consider awarding damages to the plaintiffs because his primary assets are actually held in trusts owned by his two children.
Thus, instead of being worth more than $100 million, as Mr. Goodman once claimed for a Goldman Sachs account, he may actually be worth closer to $10 million. Yes, it appears, at the moment, the kids own everything — the Wellington polo club, the 86-acre ranch, the Houston condo, as well as the biggest chunks from the reported billion-dollar sale of the Goodman family’s manufacturing interests. According to court documents, my eyes are blurred, John Goodman leases the entire operation from his children’s trusts and receives modest management/consultant fees, something like $300,000 annually.
In court documents, attorneys stated “… (Goodman) spent $2-$4 million a year playing polo at the Wellington club to support his children’s major interest in the International Polo Club” and that he “has discontinued playing polo.” Additionally, in the case of the billion + offload of the family business, Goodman’s cut was less than one per cent, only about $9 million; Mr. Goodman’s father’s net worth at the time of his death was somewhere down in the $24-$25 million range.
If the current depositions by forensic accounts hold under cross-examination and further discovery, Goodman might someday return to the polo field. That is, when/if attorney Roy Black channels his legendary courtroom abracadabra and frees him from the criminal charges. Meanwhile, Mr. Goodman may still find time to get in a few chukkers with pal John Walsh, the nation’s number one crime fighter and emcee of the television show America’s Most Wanted.
Deutsche Bank files $24 million foreclosure at 101 Casa Bendita
DB Private Wealth Management has filed an unprecedented $24 million foreclosure notice on 101 Casa Bendita, an oceanfront estate owned by New Haven/Nantucket high-flyer Robert V. “Bob” Matthews and his wife Maria “Mia” Sneden Matthews. A onetime close associate of impeached former Gov. William G. Rowland, during the past several years Matthews has accumulated a considerable amount of loan defaults in several states including several commercial venues in Palm Beach. According to the State of Connecticut Department of Revenue, Robert and Maria Matthews are the state’s leading income tax delinquents, owing $1,763,956.31 as of 30 September 2011.
Casa Bendita gazebo bulldozed
The Town of Palm Beach has demolished a gazebo associated with Casa Bendita, one of Addison Mizner’s most epic designs. The ancillary structure, however charming, was said to be placed within the street’s cul-de-sac circle following a re-plat of the estate after the demolition of the John S. Phipps’ main house. Rather than spend an estimated more than $150,000 to rehabilitate the ancillary structure and without any resident desiring to add the structure as a garden refuge for orchids or birds, the Town Council opted to tear it down.
Former Vanderbilt-Webb estate sale pending in Gulf Stream
Although the six-acre waterfront estate in Gulf Stream asking $6 million had only two owners during the past 75 years, current pending approvals will permit the construction of six new houses. On a parcel said to have been acquired by E.F. Hutton, Vanderbilt great-grand William Seward Webb Jr. and his wife Gertrude Gaynor Webb, daughter of New York City mayor William J. Gaynor, retained Palm Beach architect John Volk in 1935 to design a stately British Colonial style house directly across from Miradero, the Ocean Boulevard mansion built by Mr. Webb’s mother, Eliza Osgood “Lila” Vanderbilt Webb.
Several years earlier, Lila Webb, whose father was William H. Vanderbilt, had moved her family from Palm Beach’s North End to the more sedate enclave of Gulf Stream. Webb Jr., who died in 1956, was a founder of the real estate firm Webb and Knapp Inc. that was sold to the Zeckendorf interests. During the early 1970s, the Webb family sold the property to renowned Mid-century Modern New York furniture designer Edmond J. Spence and his wife Regina “Jean” Spence who became a well-known local philanthropist. When Mrs. Spence died in December 2010, the estate became available for redevelopment.
On 17 October 2011, additional property adjacent to the Webb-Spence estate was sold when Chris D. Wheeler deeded an 8,000-sq.-ft. waterfront house at 24 Hidden Harbor Drive for $3.75 million to Joseph David Morris and his wife Jennifer Stiles Morris.
WPB hosts New Urbanism conference
CK CEO pays $4.5 million for 100 Regent’s Park Road
Lori and Michael Bernstein sold their 100 Regent’s Park Road house to Paul and Lynda Murry for $4.25 million according to the recently filed warranty deed. The more than 6,000-sq-ft house featuring four bedrooms was one of several neo-classical styled houses in a spec subdivision built by Clarence William Mack. Mr. Murry is president and CEO of Calvin Klein.