Last year, despite a nasty and very public securities and wire fraud investigation—an investigation that’s since resulted in an elephantine $1.8 billion dollar settlement fine—famously secretive hedge fund fat cat Steven Cohen went on a hardcore residential real estate buying spree that included a much-ballyhooed $62.5 million acquisition of a 6.5 acre ocean front estate (above) in East Hampton, NY. The sale price was a full $2.5 million over the official asking price.
Now, less than a year later, comes word down the East Coast über-high end property gossip grapevine via the plugged-in property gossips at The Observer that Mister Cohen and his second wife, Alexandra, have caught a classic case of The Real Estate Fickle and have quietly made the property available for the right price if you know the right East End real estate agent to ring.
According to an unidentified attorney who’s “familiar with the transaction,”it’s not the $1.8 billion fine that has Mister Cohen scrambling for cash—he’s got a fortune estimated between $8 and 10 billion so he can cover that with relative east—but rather because the swanky seaside enclave of East Hampton is just “too Jewish.” Seriously, kids, that’s what some attorney told the Observer. Too Jewish.*
The Observer revealed that an obviously sick rich but otherwise unnamed Australian has expressed some interest in the property but it’s not clear if said Aussie was willing to equal the price Mister Cohen paid. Of course, Your Mama and ever other property gossip on the globe wants to know if billionaire David Geffen might want a second crack and the place since—so the story goes—he also wanted to purchase property but was outbid by Mister Cohen’s all-cash offer.
The property was sold by the widow of private equity bigwig Robert McKeon—he committed suicide in the fall of 2012—and includes an approximately 10,000 square foot, three-story main residence, extensive gardens and vast lawns, a tennis court, and a bean-shaped swimming pool nestled into the dunes. Although Mister and Missus Cohen reportedly planned to gut and remodel the existing residence, at the time of its sale it had antique oak and limestone floors, a “barn-style” double-height ceiling, and an ocean view master suite plus six additional family bedrooms.
Some of the other wickedly wealthy and/or famous homeowners on (or just off) Further Lane include Jerry Seinfeld, hedge funder Jim Chanos—who owns the beach front house next door to Mister Cohen’s smaller spread, Johnson & Johnson heir James “Jimmie” Johnson, modern art mogul Larry Gagosian, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, Austria-born fashion designer Helmut Lang, and ad man and t.v. personality Donny Deutsch. Immediately next door to Mister Cohen’s $62.5 million acre spread is an even more impressive and painstakingly landscaped 18-ish acre estate that, after a long legal battle, passed from the late financier Christopher H. Browne to his architect widower Andrew Gordon. Mister Gordon passed somewhat suddenly last fall and, according to a well-connected Hamptons real estate insider, it might (or might not) be that Mister Cohen is thinking some real estate super-whale might come along and want to snatch up both properties to combine into one mega-estate? Hmm. Stranger things have happened, right?
The voracious collector of contemporary art and inveterate real estate baller’s extensive portfolio of private residential real estate also include but may or may not be limited to:
—A 9,000-ish square foot multi-gambreled cottage-manse on 2.1 manicured acres that’s also on East Hampton’s Further Lane that he and the missus picked up in 2007 for $18,072,000
—Their primary residence, a 14-ish acre landscaped estate in Greenwich, CT, they bought in June 1998 for $14.8 million and has a Richard Serra sculpture in the front yard. They also own the 4.5 acre spread next door with its recently rebuilt and substantially smaller mansion.
—An art-filled, 9,000 square foot duplex in Midtown Manhattan that they bought in 2005 for $24 million, had worked over by Charles Gwathmey, and currently have on the open market for $98,000,000 after it was recently reduced from its ballsy original ask of $115 million.
—Two, newly erected (although not quite finished) eight-story side-by-side townhouses, also in the West Village, that were bought in December 2012 for a combined $38,806,000.
—An almost 10,000 square foot triplex maisonette condo at the Abingdon building—a former nursing home—in New York City’s West Village that they scooped up in June 2013 for $23,419,750 million.
—As we were reminded by one of the children…A nearly 14,000 square foot house on 2.54 lake front acres in the swanky (if not fully built out) guard-gated Stone Creek Ranch developement. Property records show Mister and Missus Cohen picked up the 8 bedroom and 10.5 bathroom mansion in late 2005 for $8,500,000. Other homeowners in the community, as per property records Your Mama peeped, include retired professional football player Samari Rolle, waste disposal heir and investment conglomerate head H. Wayne Huizenga Jr., Italian foodservice mogul Louis Piancone, wireless technology entrepreneur Stephen Cavayero, natural gas magnate Francis Mennella, and toy and hobby supply wholesaler Brian Gobitz.
*Mister Cohen’s representatives subsequently told The Observer that not only is the Jewish comment “fabricated, false, and despicable” but that the neither the house in question nor Mister and Missus Cohen’s other house in East Hampton, a non-oceanfront mini estate also on Further Lane, are currently for sale. Make of that what you will.