There’s one born each minute.
An enormous, 35-foot-wide, 12,321-square-foot Higher East Facet constructing that reportedly as soon as housed stars together with Grace Kelly and her husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, in addition to singer Harry Belafonte, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and even George Soros, offered final Thursday in a foreclosures public sale.
That’s loads of home and loads of historical past for a beginning bid of simply $15 million (the closing worth has but to be revealed).
However there’s only one downside: Regardless of practically a decade of advertising efforts, information stories and dealer braggadocio touting the house as “Grace Kelly’s townhouse” with the intention to drum up the value — there is no such thing as a proof that the princess of Monaco, nor any of her well-known associates ever owned and even lived at 51-53 E. 73rd St.
Meaning some yet-to-be-identified purchaser is having their “George Washington slept right here” second, whereas the public sale home collects a fats price.
The rip-off dates again to at the very least 2013, when the house’s then-broker Sergei Millian advised the Each day Information in regards to the dwelling’s movie star pedigree. Millian, a former president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, is best often known as “Particular person 1,” the alleged supply for the anti-Trump Steele file, which heaped a sizzling load of scandal onto the 2016 presidential election.
Whereas it’s not unusual for brokers to manufacture a house’s provenance, reached through social media, Millian advised The Submit that he didn’t invent the Kelly story however merely repeated claims made by the proprietor, late actual property supervisor Paul Ender.
On the time, Ender was deep in debt and searching for some $48 million for the deteriorating townhouse (right now it incorporates 13 unoccupied items and 5 places of work).
Since buying the townhouse in 1973, Ender had handled the constructing like a piggybank, and by the tip of 2016, the mortgage stood at $15.25 million, in keeping with public information.
After Ender’s demise in 2015, his spouse Simone Ender and daughter Monique Ender Silberman defaulted on its mortgage, and shortly racked up liens, fines of $10,100 per day and bills of round $28 million. A chapter submitting had stalled the sale for the final yr.
“We have been taken benefit as a result of we’re girls, interval,” Ender Silberman advised The Submit.
All of the whereas, the mansion’s doubtful movie star lore went unchecked, and was at instances actively promoted.
The true historical past of the house tells one other story.
In 1889, developer and architect John G. Prague constructed the dual, four-story, townhouse-style condo buildings, between Madison and Park avenues, with a complete of 17 items. In 1947, metropolis information present that the properties the place mixed right into a single condo complicated.
At the moment, a then 17-year-old Grace Kelly was simply incomes her diploma from the Stevens Faculty in Philadelphia. After graduating, she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, whereas residing within the Barbizon Lodge for Girls for the following three years.
Within the early Nineteen Fifties, Kelly moved to the white-brick Manhattan Home at 200 East 66th Road, in keeping with the Landmarks Preservation Fee. Whereas acting on stage and display, Kelly was discover by legendary director John Ford, whose studio gave her a seven-year contract in 1952, which allowed her to maintain her Manhattan handle. Now, a film star (she appeared in her first Hitchcock image “Dial M for Homicide” in 1954), her subsequent cease within the neighborhood was to an much more trendy handle at 988 Fifth Ave. In 1955, she traveled to Monaco and married the prince the next yr — after which it’s exhausting to think about that the royal couple slummed it in a one-bedroom condo.
Rumors of different celeb occupants of the E. 73rd St. additionally add as much as nuts.
Belafonte complained bitterly that no landlord on the Higher East Facet would lease to him within the Nineteen Fifties and he subsequently tricked the homeowners of 300 West Finish Ave. into promoting him a house through the use of an organization identify.
As for Rockefeller, he lived proper down the block in swank fifth Ave. digs. He would have handed the constructing continuously on the way in which to the Buckley Faculty at close by 113 E. 73 St., the place his kids have been enrolled. He even stopped by the varsity, the place he launched Henry Kissinger earlier than a speech, on the day he died in 1979 — within the arms of a mistress at his workplace on West 54th Road. However there is no such thing as a proof that he owned or rented one of many flats at 51-53 E. 73rd St.
Likewise, Soros is extra apt to stash lovers in modest Higher East Facet flats than to stay in them. Requested if any of those boldfaced names might need rented love nests within the constructing, Ender Silberman shrugged: “Do you suppose whores signal leases? I don’t suppose so.”
The Princess Grace Basis, the Rockefeller archivist and the Soros basis didn’t return requests for remark.
However don’t really feel too sorry for the sucker who purchased this mansion’s phony bologna. The sale of the large unfold included 2,000 sq. ft of air rights, making it prime for a very kingly conversion.
“As a mansion it actually stands out, and it’s on the Gold Coast of Manhattan,” mentioned one dealer accustomed to the property who requested to stay nameless. “It’s wonderful how many individuals have that form of cash.”