Yesterday, Your Mama was yakkety-yakking with a well-connected gal pal whom we’ll call Laveenuh Livesinahighrise who, between deep drags on one of her ever-present Virginia Slims, casually and off-handedly snickered that Mister Cage’s aristocratic and eccentric residence on swank Copa de Oro Road in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles is scheduled to be auctioned off on the courthouse steps in the early part of April.
We just about knocked our pitcher of gin and tonics over with shock. “AUCTIONED!” Your Mama screeched. “Whatchu talkin‘ ’bout Willis?” Miz Livesinahighrise, her words enveloped and blunted by a mouth full of acrid cigarette smoke said, “Yes Mother dear, ‘tis true. You oughtta check that shit out.” After bidding Miz Livesinahighrise adieu and placing the handset of our worn out but still bedazzled princess phone back into its cradle, Your Mama spent a few minutes peeping and poking around the interweb looking to see what sort of information we could turn up. Within minutes Your Mama hit pay dirt and–lo and behold butter beans–public records we accessed did indeed confirm Miz Livesinahighrise’s not exactly financially flattering celebrity real estate gossip regarding Mister Cage’s residence on Copa de Oro Road.
According to the 411 Your Mama mined out of the internets, in late 2009 Mister Cage received a nasty Notice of Default on a large mortgage with Citibank secured with the Copa de Oro Road residence. It was recorded on December 16, 2009. How’s that for a merry damn Christmas from your bank, Mister Cage? Shooooot, even Your Mama ain’t cold enough to wreck up someone’s quasi Christian holiday. Anyhoo, an even nastier Notice of Sale–recorded on the 18th of March, 2010–reveals that unless Mister Cage makes good on the defaulted mortgage the posh property will be auctioned on the 7th of April. The auction, which has a minimum bid of $11,004,189, is currently scheduled to take place at 10:30 in the a.m. at a Los Angeles County courthouse in Pomona, CA. Pomona. Pomona! Good grief, child. Surely it is upsetting enough to just lose one’s Bel Air mansion–not to mention all the other luxe properties Mister Cage has lost in the last year–but for it all to go down in Po-freaking-mona? Lo-word.
Nicky hunny, call Your Mama, we got a nerve pill or two with your name on it.
Mister Cage’s imposing English Tudor style white elephant, first listed in late 2007 with a skin scorching asking price of $35,000,000 and now listed at a greatly reduced but still upsettingly high $17,500,000, was designed by noted Los Angeles based architect Gerard Colcord. The Cage mansion was built in 1940, measures 11,817 square feet and includes, according to listing information, 6 bedrooms and 9 poopers. The sprawling residence, which perhaps looks a little too much like a damn dorm hall at an east coast college for our personal and questionable taste, also includes an 1,800 square foot wine cellar, a home theater, multiple marble fireplaces, original stained glass windows, hidden rooms and staircases, exercise facilities and staff quarters. The 1 acre of manicured grounds encompasses mature shade trees, a massive motor court, a huge heated swimming pool, and an outdoor kitchen with a built-in brick oven.
According to Colcord: Home, an exhaustively researched compendium on the architect Gerard Colcord penned and compiled by real estateophile Bret Parsons, Mister Cage’s house was commissioned in 1938 by May Ormerod Harris. Miz Harris, a ladee Your Mama has never heard of before, is–or was–the wealthy widow of a real estate developer named John Wesley Harris who developed parts of the Westwood area of Los Angeles. In certain circles, including that of Mister Parsons, the property is still referred to as Harris House after its original owner.
According to Mister Parsons’ publication, the Widda Harris granted the property to the University of Southern California in 1962 (or possibly 1964). The estate was quickly sold by the university for just $200,000 to Beverly Hills banker Stanley Stalford and his wife Joanne who sold it for $250,000 in 1968 to an heir to the Yuban coffee fortune. In 1972 the property was purchased by liquor luvin‘ crooner Dean Martin. According to Mister Parsons’ book, Mister Martin hired Mister Colcord in 1974 to add a 2,500 square foot entertainment complex that includes, “a foyer, curtained stage and movie screen, projection room, sunken wet-bar, large fireplace, two marble baths, and two dressing rooms” plus a children’s playroom. In 1976 Mister Martin sold the house to the campy and hairy chested troubadour Tom Jones who owned the property until 1998 when he sold it to our Mister Cage for six and some million clams.
The stately and legendary residence came to be just one of a dozen or more high priced and higher maintenance properties owned by Mister Cage whose property portfolio once bulged with a German schloss (sold in the spring of 2009 for around $2,300,000), a couple of historic mansions in New Orleans (lost to foreclosure in late 2009), a 27-acre estate in Middletown, RI with a 24,667 square foot mansion (bought for $15,700,000, now listed for sale at $9,995,000), a private and undeveloped island in the Bahamas (listed at $6,000,000), a house on Paradise Island in the Bahamas (status unknown), two combined condos in a New York City high-rise (sold last year for $7,750,000), a club-shaped castle outside of Bath in the U.K. (reported to be sold at a million dollar plus loss), a gorgeous Georgian style townhouse in Bath itself (sold at a loss of a couple hundred thousand bucks), a more modest modern house in Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury (bought in June 2006, status unknown), a Las Vegas mansion (bought in September 2006 for $8,500,000, lost to foreclosure in December 2009, and since sold by the lender for $4,200,000), a behemoth bay front mansion in Newport Beach, CA (sold in early 2008 for around $35,000,000), another small house in Newport Beach occupied by his recently deceased father (bought in December of 2006 for $1,700,000 sold in February of 2010 for $1,000,000), a worn out, mid-century modern-ish house above Lake Hollywood (sold in October of 2009 for $1,375,000), and a couple parcels totaling around 400 acres in the mountains above Malibu (listed in late 2009 with combined asking price of around $12,000,000, current status unknown). And that, children, is just the properties Your Mama can scratch off the top of our booze marinated brain.
In the wake of his financial melt-down, Mister Cage filed suit against his now former business manager Samuel Levin claiming his one-time money man led him down a path to financial ruin by allowing him spend money that he did not have on big ticket items that he could not afford. Mister Levin has, of course, filed a counter suit claiming Mister Cage created his own financial quagmire with his wildly profligate ways. According to Mister Levin’s suit, at the peak of his spending Mister Cage required an annual income of at least $30,000,000 in order to maintain his immoderate lifestyle of unrestrained spending.
Take a moment to think about that popsicles…thir-tee millon damn clams a year just to pay the bills. That’s enough to make Your Mama, a well known financial hypchondriac from way back, want to faint with flabbergast and blanch with pecuniary heebie-jeebies.
Anyhoo, Mister Levin’s suit contends that in the year 2007 alone Mister Cage bought 22 cars–a count that included 9 damn Rolls Royces–12 pieces of fine jewelry, 47 pieces of art and three homes totaling more than $33,000,000. And that was just what Mister Cage spent on the big toys, imagine what the man frittered away on the myriad of less expensive purchases not to mention what it cost him to maintain the homes, planes, and boats that he already owned.
Lo-word have mercy piglets, just thinking about his rampant and unrestrained spending makes Your Mama quiver and sweat. We certainly don’t begrudge anyone a little luxury in their life but, people, there’s really something so vulgar and disturbing about the insanely excessive lifestyle Mister Cage craved. His need for expensive gewgaws and swank real estate seems almost pathological, don’t it? For what it’s worth and as fer as Your Mama is concerned, there is much more dignity preserved when a wildly rich person knows when plenty is enough than when a money mongering multi-millionaire (or billionaire) spends their entire life sucking up pricey possessions like they actually mean something. Even still, as much as we loathe and can not comprehend Mister Cage’s unrestrained lust for conspicuous and superfluous consumption, we do wish him a modicum of real estate peace in the near future and, even more, we hope he’s learned a necessary lesson in financial restraint and good sense.
Your Mama would also ask the children to keep in mind that it is quite possible that Mister Cage will or has already managed to make good on his mortgage and thus stave off the auction of his house. But as of this day in March, public records show the auction is on. May we all soon be able to put Mister Cage and his real estate miseries to bed and out of our minds for-evah.
photo: Pacific Coast News