Forgotten Lady

Yolanda was scrolling through her recently published “stories” this weekend, and we quickly realized there’s something amiss. And no, it’s not just our general lack of class. Very funny. It’s that we haven’t discussed Malibu much recently! It’s been all Beverly Hills and then some random scattered shit. But have no fear, Yolanda is gonna remedy that over the next couple weeks. Lots of fun oceanic stuff in the hopper – perfect timing with summer just around the corner (already, egads).

Whenever Yolanda has real life conversations about Malibu real estate, there are two properties that almost always get brought up, no matter who we’re talking to. And we ain’t the one doing the “bringing up”, baby. Crazy, right? Other folks seem genuinely intrigued by both these compounds, despite the fact neither one has ever been occupied by a big “celebrity”, at least one of the traditional sense.

Which two compounds is your gurl babbling about? We’ll give you a hint. They’re two of the most expensive in the city. Both are worth many tens of millions. Until today we haven’t discussed either one on this blog. And both, at some point, have been acquired using massive, shadowy overseas cash sums. We’ll deal with the larger and more publicized one today. The second we’ll discuss later this week or maybe the next, but we promise we won’t forget.

The largest and undoubtedly most expensive property in Malibu’s double-guard-gated and celebrity-infested “Serra Retreat” is this massive Spanish hacienda compound up on Sweetwater Mesa.

The main house has about 15,000 square feet of living space, vast golf greens, and spectacular views out over the city. There’s also a tennis court, a cod-stocked “pond” that’s really more of a lake, at least two guest houses, and a two-story guard/gate house out front. All on nearly 16 acres of prime real estate.

Looks pretty nice, right? Or it did. It doesn’t look like that anymore. Take a gander at this recent aerial image.  Here’s one of Malibu’s largest and most-expensive mansions today. A bit unkempt, eh?

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All the landscaping is either dead or overgrown, the pool is downright nasty, and whole place looks ready to rot. We’re not sure how the inside looks but can’t imagine it’s in any better condition.

But wait, there’s more. Yolanda knows a certain someone in Serra Retreat and thus we got in possession of a couple snaps showing the deterioration of the property.

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Although you can’t see much from this one and the one up top, dead branches are strewn everywhere, the guard house is abandoned, and even the front gate is carelessly ajar, inviting intruders. It’s a tad creepy.

Guess that’s what happens when the son of one of Africa’s most corrupt dictators is allowed to “secretly” buy into the community. Of course, as these things do, that “secret” unraveled faster than a cheap sweater.

If you want to read more about Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the full-name of the guy who purchased the estate for $30,000,000 in cash back in 2006, go here. Suffice for this blog to say that he’s the spendthrift son and heir apparent of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled the tiny but oil-rich coastal African nation of Equatorial Guinea as a dictator since 1979. As part of a corruption investigation, the Department of Justice officially seized the property back in 2014.

Mr. Obiang’s purchase and subsequent loss of this property have been well-documented all over the web. But Yolanda wanted a more complete history of the estate – how did this mansion come to be, and who allowed it wind up in Obiang’s corrupt paws? We did a little digging and a little asking around and sorted out that the property was built over a period of several years beginning in the mid-1980s by a real estate developer named William (Bill) O’Connor Jr. and his new wife Karen (they married in 1985). Records show the hilltop heaven was completed in 1991. Sorry, but we’re not sure who the architect was.

Unfortunately, the O’Connors didn’t get much time to enjoy their marital compound together. According to divorce documents Yolanda dug up, the couple separated in 1994 and the split was far from amicable. The divorce took more than three long years to settle, thanks to the couple vigorously battling over their assets. Records show that by 1997, the couple had already incurred more than $3,000,000 in legal costs alone to bitch-fight each other in court. Dayum! Ain’t it always cheaper to keep her, Mr. O’Connor (may you RIP)?

In the end, the late Mr. O’connor was left with just about $2 million in total assets, while the former Mrs. O’Connor walked with over $40 million in liquid assets alone. Those liquid assets do not, of course, include the massive hilltop Malibu mansion. And yes, she got that in the divorce too.

Don’t think that Mrs. O’connor robbed Mr. O’connor blind, though.She was already tremendously wealthy prior to the marriage. We don’t know where all her money came from, so don’t ask, but we’re pretty damn certain of that. Perhaps a prior marriage? Who knows.

But we digress. As we said, Mrs. O’Connor got the Malibu mega-mansion in the divorce, which we think was finalized sometime in 1998. She subsequently changed her name to Karen Rabe and continued living in the home. It was the Ms. Rabe who sold the house for $30 million in cash to Mr. Obiang’s shell company.

Now, as you know, we usually don’t mention realtors on here (we think they probably prefer it that way), but it’s worth noting that the guy who brokered this secret deal was mega-real estate agent Jeffrey Hyland. Mr. Hyland, baby, you know your gurl Yolanda has got mad love for you, but we’ve got a tiny bone to pick with you today. What the hell were you thinkin’ when you assisted this fool in his acquisition? Did you really not foresee the impending shit-storm, or were you focused solely on them greenbacks? Come on now. Be honest.

But really, we can’t blame our boy too much. If it hadn’t been him, Mr. Obiang and/or Ms. Rabe likely would have found a new realtor to complete the transaction. And with a $30 million home sale, we’re talking about a ton of cheddar in real estate fees. More than a million. A guy’s gotta eat, after all. So we forgive you, Mr. Hyland. Plus, you gave your gurl something juicy to talk about today. Kudos for that.

But we digress. For a solid 1.5 years (at least), the property has sat, abandoned and woefully neglected. In November 2015, according to public records, a notice was filed against the estate for “weeds on property are a public nuisance”. Tsk, tsk.

So why hasn’t this place been sold? We asked our Serra Retreat chum, and he/she told us that once upon a time our boy Elon Musk was interested in the compound. Supposedly, he even went sniffing around up there several times. But in the end, he (allegedly) decided not to buy. Probably a good thing. Homeboy already has four houses in Bel Air alone. Even billionaires can only handle so much property drama.

But now there’s something else folks are whispering about. According to our inside source, the latest neighborhood rumor has it that the property is about to be sold to Mauricio Oberfeld of the well-known Oberfeld family of Beverly Hills. The Oberfelds, in case you didn’t know, are from Mexico City and they’ve always had tons of dough. Old money but huge money.

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Mauricio Oberfeld, Sharon Oberfeld, and their modern showplace in the Bird Streets

Mr. and Mrs. Mauricio Oberfeld currently own and reside in an award-winning uber-contemporary mansion way up on one of the best Bird Street streets, over in the Hollywood Hills.

Of note is that Mr. Oberfeld owns and operates a high-end construction company calling itself “Dugally Oberfeld”, which specializes in high-end spec mansions. If the rumors are true that Mr. Oberfeld is indeed buying this property – and we’re not saying they are – could it be that he wants to build an enormous new pinnacle palace? With all the crazy construction and $50 million teardowns that are flying around these days, y’all, we don’t think we’d even bat an eyelash. Sad. Are we really that jaded?

So will anyone tell your gurl what’s going on with this old beotch? Are the Oberfelds indeed about to buy it? Will they restore her old glory or bulldoze the hag? We can’t rest easy while Lady Malibu crumbles. Yolanda needs answers or she might just explode. Thanks in advance!

1 Comment

  1. I’d hate it if this got razed. I really would. It’s such a beautiful spot, albeit in dreary Malibu. I’d much rather like it if it were set ona promontory overlooking Beverly Hills or sonething, on a huge lot. Too bad it’s difficult to find out who the architect was.

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