SELLER: George Santo Pietro
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: Make Him An Offer
SIZE: 14,554 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A little birdie came chirp chirp chirpin’ along the other day and tittered in Your Mama’s ear that restaurateur and property developer George Santo Pietro—better known, perhaps, as the ex-husband of be-gowned Wheel of Fortune letter turner Vanna White—appears to have quietly floated his behemoth mansion in Beverly Hills’ Beverly Park community on the market with an undisclosed price tag.
We quickly queried a few of our better contacts in the Platinum Triangle—the pricey pocket of Los Angeles comprised of the Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills and Bel Air communities—who often know the what’s-what up in Beverly Park. We quickly heard back from an exceedingly well connected (and much valued) informant—let’s call him Ned Knowshisstuff—who told Your Mama that word on the Bev Hills real estate street is that Mister Santo Pietro hasn’t put an official asking price on the property, asking instead that interested parties “make him an offer he can’t refuse.” With all due respect, bitch pleeze. Come on now Mister Santo Pietro. You and Your Mama both know that ain’t no way to sell a damn house, even a gigantic one like yours. It’s just a way to ensure you feel indignant with insult when some bargain hunting billionaire offers half the amount you really want for the house.
Property records we peeped reveal Mister Santo Pietro first acquired the land in 1995 with his then-wife Vanna White. The erstwhile pair, who made a couple of kiddies together before the divorced in 2002, paid a member of the Saudi royal family $2,050,000 for the 5.076 acre spread near the northern gates of the guard-gated community of steroidal (mega-)mansions.
Deeds and documents we perused aren’t entirely clear about if ex-Missus Santo Pietro—that would be Vanna White—still maintains a financial stake in the Beverly Park property but we do know Miz White now lives in the nearby, guard-gated and star-stocked Mulholland Estates enclave in a significantly smaller but still undeniably gigantic 8,988 square foot Mediterranean mansion just a couple doors down from a similarly-sized and styled mansion long owned by troubled Tinseltown scion and sometimes volatile actor Charlie Sheen. Mister Sheen, celebrity real estate watcher surely recall, bought a larger house in the Mulholland Estates ‘hood last year and briefly had his old house—the one a couple doors down from Vanna White—on the market last year with a $7,200,000 asking price.
Anyhoo, the Los Angeles County Tax Man indicates Mister Santo Pietro’s crab-shaped mansion, a titanic Tuscan-style structure, was custom-built in 1997 with 14,554 square feet and 8 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. Since there’s almost no information available on the listing agent Mauricio Umansky’s website and the property is not currently listed on the MLS, it’s impossible for Your Mama to know if those numbers are entirely accurate the the home’s current configuration. Suffice to say the crib is colossal and there are plenty enough bedrooms and bathrooms to comfortably house 2 families and require a part-time minimum wage girl whose only responsibilities are scrubbing terlits and making beds.
Photos of the property on the listing agent’s website—the beau-hunky reigning real estate agent king of Beverly Park who stars on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with his wife Kyle Richards and who listed three of the most recent properties to sell in the community of bulky and bloated private residences—show a cavernous entrance hall with double staircase, spacious formal living and dining rooms done up with Old World oil paintings, dozens of gilded Louis the Something chairs, and at least two fringe-trimmed velvet upholstered tie-back sofas. Beyond the formal living room, in the much cozier, men’s clubby library the walls and ceiling are paneled in dark wood (that may or may not be mahogany or some other more exotic wood) with built-in lighted book cases and the herringbone patterned wood floors are covered in antique rugs and animal skins.
Less formal and family quarters comprise an open plan eat-in kitchen and family room festooned with red silk and fringed onion-shaped Chinese lanterns. The ceiling gives off an air of architectural authenticity with antique rough-hewn beams while a wood-burning fireplace with regal, carved stone chimney piece anchors the cluttered family room area at one end of the roomy room and a long row of industrial ranges runs along the entire back wall of the kitchen. A massive, u-shaped center island has a stool-height snack counter and double dishwashers. A jumbo (and truly terrifying) pot rack over the sink area would require Your Mama take out an extra life insurance policy just to run the dog’s water bowl under the tap. We’ll say nothing more of the two, cheap-looking plastic garbage bins inexplicably placed at the two ends of the center island.
A basement level wine cellar and lounge concrete floors, arched and vaulted brick ceiling, lots of tufted furniture and what appears to be and must be a knock off painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the original of which, as we all know, hangs permanently in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. It was here in this very wine cellar in early 2011 where hard partying Hollywood hot shot Charlie Sheen, just about to embark on a 36-hour bender, reportedly offered to rent Mister Santo Pietro’s big ol’ Beverly Park mansion at a rate of a quarter million clams a month so he could house the so-called “porn family” he wanted to create. Mister Sheen’s minders quickly put the kibosh on that deal according to the folks at gossip juggernaut TMZ.
Photographs of Mister Santo Pietro’s house on real estate agent Mauricio Umansky’s website shows a vast master suite, probably in itself larger than the average American home, that encompasses a ballroom-sized bedroom with fireplace, sitting area, access to a deep covered balcony with over the tree top canyon view, and a separate office furnished with a gilded desk that looks like it could might have once been owned by a gold-loving Russian czar. There’s also a small fitness chamber and a large Asian-themed massage room, a garage-sized closet lined with custom-built cabinetry, and at least one oval-shaped bathroom with inlaid marble floor, gorgeous glass chandelier, celebrity-style make-up vanity, and a separate soaking tub and steam shower. Although we can’t fathom why, the open center area of the unnecessarily roomy master bathroom is furnished like a damn living room with a sofa covered in a champagne-colored silk slipcover and a pair of lyre-back Chippendale-style chairs (that may or may not be actual Chippendales). Now children, we can certainly understand the need for a stool or even a cushioned chair in which to plop down and trim one’s toe nails in the bathroom but why is it that someone might want enough seating in the bathroom to host a handful of people? Seriously? Do the wealthy enjoy an audience when they brush their teeth or pluck the hair from their nostrils? Why? But we digress into our own ignorance.
The back of Mister Santo Pietro’s palatial mansion opens to a series of arched colonnades that frame views over of negative edge swimming pool and spa and over the trees to the rugged ridge lines of the surrounding mountains. Lawn areas on either side of the swimming pool provide plenty of space for trampolines and impromptu matches of strip croquet. A steep slope on the front side of the mansion is planted vineyard-style with maturing grape vines, a horticultural folly that probably costs Mister Santo Pietro more to maintain each year than Your Mama earns in an entire year.
In July 1998 Mister Santa Pietro (and then wife Vanna White) paid a few million dollars to acquire the 2.11 acre parcel next door. Records suggest Mister Santo Pietro bought out his now ex-wife Vanna White in the summer of 2004 and by 2007 he’d erected an approximately 27,000 square foot with 9 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms.
In December 2010, after first listing the house at a now-obviously optimistic $50,000,000 and after leasing for a few month it to His Purple Majesty Prince at a reported rate of $200,000 per month, Mister Santo Pietro finally sold the opulent spec-built mansion next door to his own for $22,620,000 to a married couple whose fortune derives primarily from hawking mid-priced ladies handbags on QVC.
Although the high-end real estate market in Los Angeles (and elsewhere) suffered bitterly as a result of the mortgage crisis and global economic downturn in 2007-2009 there appears to be some serious life in the old girl the last couple of years with a healthy number of transactions in Beverly Park.
In September 2011 Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd (of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) sold their opulent faux-French pile for $18,800,000 and just a month later a two-house compound of 26,116 square feet once owned by Saudi Royal family member Abdul Aziz bin Adbullah went for $16,875,000.
In mid-November 2010 porn peddler Zorm Zada sold his geometric contemporary for $16,500,000 to a wildly wealthy Saudi businessman who, we were told by a Beverly Hills real estate maven, may or may not be member of the royal family and who quickly caught a severe case of The Real Estate Fickle and flipped the 11 bedroom and 18 pooper property back on the market a few months after buying with an asking price of $25,000,000. The 20,000-plus square foot compound was taken off the (open) market seven months later.
L.A.-based billionaire Tom Gores dropped $21,000,000 in late November 2010 on a 15 bathroom mansion with 20,013 square foot mansion, dubbed by the seller as The Great 78. Of course, Mister Gores already owned a slew of mansions in and around the Platinum Triangle so why he bought this one isn’t known to Your Mama but such are the wacky real estate ways of the ridiculously rich.
The MLS currently shows just one Beverly Park behemoth listed on the open market, an origami-esque concrete, wood and glass contemporary on 2.83 acres, designed by California architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and currently listed at $25,000,000. The multi-winged modern manse and its various outbuildings measure in at around 16,000 square feet with a grandly scaled entertaining spaces, a de rigueur home theater, 1,000 square foot fitness/spa facility, a dozen bathrooms, 4 bedroom suites in the main house, another two in the detached two-story guest house and an additional 1 bedroom guest apartment in what listing information calls a “secluded pool house.”
Undoubtedly there are several to many other estates in Beverly Park available for tour and purchase by Richie Rich types who can curry favor with the right well-connected real estate agent(s) able to gain access to any of the mega-mansions being shopped around as pocket listings.
As for Mister Santo Pietro’s real estate plans, we have no idea. We might guess he’s looking to downsize but then again he doens’t really seem the type to downsize, does he?