Every now and then, children, there are some spectacular deals out there. Glorya Kaufman, the philanthropic widow of tract-house tycoon Donald Kaufman who continues to dump her millions into N.Y. and L.A.’s dance scene, listed her unusually expansive 48-acre compound in L.A.’s Mandeville Canyon in April 2013 with a publicity-assuring $40 million pricetag. At the time, the ultra-high-end property market was in overdrive, so the steep price didn’t seem like an overreach to many real estate insiders we chatted with. Alas, a year later, with no deep-pocketed buyers willing to do the deal, the asking price for the sprawling property, had plummeted $23 million. The estate, dubbed Amber Hills, was re-listed this May, with an inexplicably higher, $29 million sticker, and eventually sold via a live outcry auction for a smitch over $16 million.
Who snatched up the property at a stunning 60% discount off the original asking price, enquiring real estate obsessed minds want to know? According to consummate Platinum Triangle real estate insider Peter Propertyseller and the inestimable real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak, the previously unidentified new owners are legally embattled but exceptionally rich New York City-based financier David Ganek and his novelist wife, Danielle. Ganek shuttered his multibillion-dollar hedge fund, Level One Global, several years ago amid a federal investigation into insider trading that has, so far, left him relatively unscathed, but will likely land his former partner, Anthony Chiasson, in the pokey. (Chiasson’s conviction is pending appeal.)
This property gossip can’t claim any inside intel on what, if any, renovations or improvements the Ganeks might wish to make, but digital marketing materials show the super-sized spread has a quarter-mile long driveway that winds its way deep into the property and over a small lake before it arrives in front of an approximately 12,000-square-foot manse originally designed by architect Paul Williams. Silver screen stars Dick Powell and June Allyson owned the property in the 1950s and ’60s, and the house was prominently featured in the campy ’80s crime drama “Hart to Hart” with Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. The scrupulously maintained grounds include lushly landscaped gardens, extensive terraces, a sizable swimming pool and spa, and a tennis court with viewing pavilion. The property also offers a separate guesthouse, caretaker’s cottage and maintenance building.
Like a lot of financial industry plutocrats, Mister Ganek maintains a heavy-duty portfolio of high-maintenance homes that include an 8,500-square-foot mansion in Apsen, Colo., purchased in March 2012 for $7.25 million, and an oceanfront spread in Southampton acquired in 2002 for $12.65 million. Over the summer, the Ganeks shelled out $28 million for a newly developed 6,000-ish-square-foot penthouse atop the famed Puck Building in lower Manhattan; they have their monumental, art-filled duplex at the much-ballyhooed 740 Park Avenue, once the childhood home of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, up for grabs on the open market at $44 million.
listing photos: Hilton & Hyland