SELLER: Hassan Nemazee via The United States of America
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: (total of) 6 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: After a brief hiatus from the open market—and a change from a VP/Associate Broker at Sotheby’s to a much more prominent SVP/Managing Director at Brown Harris Stevens—the U.S. Marshall’s Office has re-listed the art- and objet-filled New York City duplex of convicted and jailed financial fraudster Hassan Nemazee with an asking price of $19,500,000.
Mister Nemazee—for those of y’all who don’t pay attention to the financial news and/or read the New York City gossip columns—was arrested in 2009 on scandalous charges of bank fraud. He later plead guilty to multiple charges that he sought and/or obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans secured with non-existent or value-inflated assets. He is now serving 12-and-some years in the clink.
Born into a wealthy Iranian family who fled to the U.S. during the run up to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Mister Nemazee wasn’t just any multi-millionaire white-collar crook. No siree Bob. Before his nefarious loan-seeking ways were exposed, prosecuted and proven Mister Nemazee was a major donor to and fundraiser for the Democratic Party. He was the New York finance chair for John Kerry’s failed presidential bid in 2004 and the national finance chair to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2006. In the late 1990s then-president Bill Clinton nominated Mister Nemazee to be the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina. The nomination was withdrawn after a blistering and unflattering expose in Forbes magazine about some of Mister Nemazee’s shady-seeming business dealings but that didn’t stop Bill’s wife Hillary Clinton from appointing him her national finance chairman when she made her own run for the presidency in 2007-8.
Anyhoo, as part of his plea agreement, Mister Nemazee agreed to surrender ownership of his Park Avenue apartment to the office of U.S. Marshall who took possession in the fall of 2009. In 2010, Mister Nemazee’s Missus, Sheila, made a valiant but failed legal attempt to retain ownership of the apartment—as well as other real property assets—for which, she claimed, she provided the approximately $1,500,000 down payment.
Mister and Missus Nemazee purchased their posh and traditionally decorated duplex pad located on a high floor in a notably swank, pre-war Georgian-style dowager on Park Avenue in 1989 for around $5,800,000. The mouth-watering floor plan (above) and current listing information shows the palatial 14th and 15th floor apartment contains a total of 14 rooms with four family bedrooms, five full and 2 half bathrooms plus an additional staff suite with one bathroom and two cell-sized bedrooms. Listing information goes on to point out the three exposures, 28 windows, two terraces and substantial but certainly not unusually high common charges of $11,505 per month.
The lower level living spaces include a compact entry vestibule with adjoining powder room; a bedroom-sized foyer/stair hall with elaborate, geometric inlaid wood floor and faux-finished trim work; a just-about-baronial, 29-plus foot long double exposure formal living room with fireplace and peach brocade wallpaper; a more intimately-scaled 20-foot long library with inlaid herringbone wood floor, second fireplace, built-in cabinetry and forest green brocade wall coverings; and a formal dining room with built-in china and linen closets at one end and blood red brocade wallpaper all around.
A windowed and well-equipped butler’s pantry connects the corner dining room—and the stair hall/foyer—to the spacious eat-in kitchen that, in turn, connect through a rear stair hall/mud room to a family room with adjoining half bathroom.
The rear stairs lead up to the aforementioned two bedroom and one bathroom staff quarters that also include a full-sized laundry room and three large closets. The main staircase in the front foyer curls elegantly around to the tail end of a T-shaped corridor off of which open four family/guest bedroom suites. Two of the family/guest bedrooms have walk-in closets and private poopers as does a third that also offers private access to a slender but still much-coveted set-back terrace. The two-room master suite encompasses a private study/sitting room with built-in cabinetry and direct access to a second, larger set-back terrace plus a separate 20-plus foot long bedroom, two walk-in closets and two additional standard-depth closets, and a pair of small but properly ventilated bathrooms.
This is not, it should be noted, the first time the U.S. Marshall’s Office has been to the real estate rodeo with this particular Park Avenue apartment. In March 2011, more than a year after the apartment was seized, it was pushed on the open market with an overly-enthusiastic $28,000,000 price tag. Seven months later the price plummeted to $23,000,000 and in March of this year (2012) it was slashed to $19,500,000 before being taken off the market in mid-August.
It might also be interestingly noted that the most expensive apartment ever to trade hands at 770 Park Avenue was in October 2007 when private equity bigwig Robert Niehaus and wife Kate dropped $20,000,000 on the duplex apartment owned by Washington, D.C.-based businesswoman and real estate tycoon Connie Milstein, another shamed hot-shot Democratic mover and shaker, some of the politically-minded children may recall, who was (in)famously caught on camera attempting to bribe homeless potential voters in Wisconsin with cigarettes.
A few of the other real estate assets Mister Nemazee agreed to forfeit—but that his wife Sheila sued to retain—include a 2 bedroom and 3 bathroom fifth and sixth floor (5H) duplex apartment at 101 Warren Street purchased in both their names in April 2008 for $3,008,623, seized by the U.S. Marshall’s Office in March 2010, listed the following month for $3,300,000 and sold for $3,105,662 in October of the same year. The apartment was reported by the kids at Curbed to have been previously occupied by one of the Nemazee’s five children.
The pampered couple also maintained a 12.5-plus acre compound just north of New York City in the bucolic and supah-swank Westchester County community of Katonah, the same neck of the woods where Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren both keep sprawling, high-maintenance country spreads. Records we peeped are a tad bit vague but it looks to Your Mama like Mister and Missus Nemazee acquired the two-parcel property—with multiple structures, swimming pool and tennis court—sometime in the late 1980s for around $1,500,000. The databases we scoured aren’t clear when exactly the U.S. Marshall took posession but they do show the tony estate was sold in February of this year (2012) for $3,650,000 to a corporation linked to a man named Allan S. Gordon who appears to be the producer of a slew of Broadway barn burners like Rent, Hairspray, Spamalot, The Pee-Wee Herman Show and the current revival of Evita.
A May 2010 article in (and on) Forbes noted that the couple also maintained a luxurious apartment in Rome and a 14th-century farmhouse in Italy that Mister Nemazee “agreed to forfeit to federal prosecutors as part of a plea deal.” Presumably those have already been or will soon be seized and sold.
listing photos: Brown Harris Stevens