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Did Howard Marks Lose Money on $75MM Malibu Sale? Plus 4 Other Major LA Whale Flops

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Marks in Malibu
Oaktree Capital Management chairman Howard Marks may have made a ton of money selling his property in Malibu for $75 million this month, but we hear otherwise. Pretty much nothing about this sale (which included "one of the largest pieces of oceanfront property in Malibu," along with a house with work by designer Michael Smith, according to the Wall Street Journal) is clear: first it was reported that a Russian billionaire couple had bought the estate, then that it might've been Oakley founder James Jannard, then that it wasn't him. What we do know is that the Markses paid $31 million for the property in 2002. They were allegedly "quietly shopping" it for about $125 million when it sold. But a well-connected tipster tells us Marks put tons and tons of money into the property (and it should be noted that he has major real estate all over the country/world--Manhattan, London, Brentwood--the kind of places that require full-time care)--our source says he ended up spending somewhere around $120 million all told. When he listed it in that range, he was "looking for that Russian oligarch or that magic buyer to try to get out even." Obviously that didn't work out, but when you're worth something like $1.5 billion: whatever.

Sunset Boulevard Megamansion
One of the worst things about the Sunset Boulevard megamansion with the gold doorknobs (besides the actual megamansion) was that everyone was keeping an eye on it--it was right out there staring at any pleb driving between West Hollywood and Westwood. Real estate investor C. Frederick Wehba started building the joint in 2006 as his family's supposed dream house, before Lehman Brothers collapsed and it probably all started looking a little too French Revolution; he reportedly spent at least $40 million on it. It hit the market just after completion in 2010 asking $68.5 million and finally sold to a Chinese couple in June 2012 for $34.5 million.

Le Belvedere
Prolific megamansion builder Mohamed Hadid said he spent $59 million building this totally ridiculous specimen in Bel Air known as Le Belvedere (it has a ballroom, a movie theater, a Turkish hammam, and gilding out the ass). He originally tried to sell in 2009 for $85 million but ended up giving it away the next year for just $50 million.

Michael Jackson Death House
Having Michael Jackson die in the mansion you own, that could go either way probably. For Ed Hardy owner Hubert Guez and wife Roxanne Guez it went poorly. They bought the house in 2004 for $18.5 million, according to Redfin, and listed in 2008 for $38 million. After failing to sell, they leased to an aging pop star named Michael Jackson in 2009; he died in the house the same year. After several more years, they finally managed to off-load it in late 2012 for $18.1 million.

Fleur de Lys
Do you think rich people have a sense of irony about modeling their houses after French palaces? Philanthropist Suzanne Saperstein and Texas entrepreneur David I. Saperstein spent several years in the early aughts building their Fleur de Lys spread on more than four acres in Holmby Hills, then almost immediately decided to get divorced. The house has been on the market approximately forever (since 2007), steadfastly asking $125 million. There were some rumors that Tamara Ecclestone, the British heiress and sister to Petra Ecclestone, who bought nearby white elephant The Manor in 2011, was interested, but still no sale. Hey, maybe this one will end up a win and Suzanne will get $200 million or whatever she'll need to cover the cost of holding onto a house like that (12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a ballroom, two kitchens, etc.) for five years. But probably not.
· Whale Week 2013 [Curbed LA]

Fleur de Lys

350 N. Carolwood Dr., Los Angeles, CA