Abandoned and cursed “Lady Malibu” finally sells… for $33 million

Guess what, everyone! Don’t pay your taxes this year. Let that parking meter run out. Shred that speeding violation. Whip your hair like you just don’t care. Wanna know why? The Jupiter-sized sinkhole that is the US government just got $33.5 million (or so) richer this month. Or $33.5 million less poor, as it were. They don’t need your cash no more.

Before we get to the juice, we’ve got something to say. We know this is going to elicit some eyerolls and some stern, disdainful glances from pious folk like Rabbi Hedda and any of you other peeps who have been following this site for some time. But Yolanda needs to toot her own horn for a minute. We just don’t get enough opportunity. And we promise we’ll be quick with it.

You see, your ol’ gurl Yolanda doesn’t know a thing about politics, business, sports, or how to ghostride the whip (???). But we do know about real estate. And for being as unclassy, disjointed mess of a gal as she is, Yolanda is almost always dead-on accurate when it comes to that. You see? We always knew Mrs. Yakketyyak wasn’t lying when she told us we were special growing up.

Now put on your thinking caps and rewind all the way back to early May (2016). It was then that Yolanda discussed an epic mega-estate up on a very prominent Malibu hilltop in the guard-gated and celebrity-packed “Serra Retreat” community. It’s known as Lady Malibu. Or that’s what neighborhood folks have christened it.

Just a few days prior to posting that story, we’d heard from an old school chum who resides in Serra Retreat — let’s call her Serra Sweetwater — who whispered that neighborhood rumors were running rampant about the long-vacant and woefully neglected estate being soon sold to a hyper-rich couple from Mexico City named Mauricio & Sharon Oberfeld. Naturally, we included said rumor in our post.

Well, weeks passed, turned into months and still no sale. Yolanda began to second guess herself, thinking perhaps the deal fell through or worse, that the property was never in escrow at all! This despite the fact that Ms. Sweetwater has never, ever steered us wrong when it comes to Serra Retreat.

Well, kiddies, guess what? Even though it’s been nearly three months and though the off-market sale has still not yet made its way into public records, the real estate gossip grapevine is abuzz with news that the property has officially sold. Sold. S.O.L.D.!

According to both the real estate street and our best gal-pal Your Mama over at Variety, the estate went for somewhere right around $33,500,000. We’re not positive about the exact number, but that’s what we hear. But can you guess who the buyers are? Wait for it. Wait for it…

Mauricio and Sharon Oberfeld. That’s right, y’all. Is Yolanda (or Ms. Sweetwater) psychic, or are we really just the damn best? Toot toot on that hoot hoot.

Okay, we’ll stop boasting now. Anyway, not only is this far and away the biggest Malibu sale so far this year (that we know of), it’s also one of the top five in all of LA County.

(Crappy photos courtesy of the US Justice Department via the LA Times.)

Unfortunately, as visible and notorious as this mansion may be, some things remain perhaps forever shrouded in mystery. We don’t know who the original architect was, and we also have never seen photographs of the interiors (photo above excepted). Though the house has now changed hands twice, it has never made its way onto the MLS.

Our previous post went into great depth about the estate’s history, so we’ll be brief here, but suffice to say the massive mansion — easily one of the city’s largest — was built over a period of several years beginning in the mid-1980s by a Beverly Hills real estate developer named William (Bill) O’Connor and his mysteriously wealthy then-wife Karen.

The lavish and symmetrical Spanish hacienda-style crib was completed in 1991 and features a horseshoe-shaped main residence of 15,000 square feet, a guard house that’s larger than most regular folks’ house, a guest house, another structure of unknown use that may be another guest house or extra garage space, a three-hole golf course/greens, a koi pond that’s large enough to qualify as a mini-lake, and an infinity pool with low, wide views across the entirety of downtown Malibu’s coastline. All this on 15.74 acres.

Sounds like a dream, right? Unfortunately, this place caused the previous owners nothing but grief and heartbreak. We’re not sure if all those hokey rumors of a “curse” are factual, but we’re hoping the Oberfelds at least took them into consideration before signing on the dotted line. Y’all can never be too careful…

But we digress. Less than 3 years after completing the estate, the O’Connors began bitter divorce proceedings, eventually incurring more than $3,000,000 in attorney fees and costs. In the end, Mr. O’Connor was basically shipped off to the poorhouse and the former Mrs. O’Connor — who immediately changed her name to Karen Rabe — continued living in the estate. Alone, for all intents and purposes.

In 2006, Ms. Rabe sold Lady Malibu for $30,000,000 in an off-market all-cash deal to a shell company called “Sweetwater Mesa LLC” — a front for Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the party-boy son of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been President of Africa’s tiny and ultra-poor yet oil-rich nation of Equatorial Guinea for nearly 40 years.

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Teddy Jr., as we’ll call him, is known for calling himself as a prince and indulging his nearly-insatiable taste for luxury with exotic sports cars, private jets, and Michael Jackson memorabilia.

In October 2014, the US Justice Department seized the home in a blaze of glory and publicity. We’re not sure when Mr. Obiang actually moved out, but it was most assuredly long before that date. For the last couple years, the property has been vacant.

sweetwater_mesa_abandoned

By 2015, the abandoned house and grounds had fallen into major disrepair, and the Lady Malibu received a citation for her excessive weeds being a public nuisance. Last month, our gurl Serra Sweetwater sent us the following eyewitness pics she took, which reveal the degree of Lady Malibu‘s decay. We’d hazard a guess that the house is in poor shape but still salvageable.

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Now, nearly two years after the seizure, the Oberfelds will take control of our Lady‘s destiny. Will they refurbish her old glory and live there? Will they flip it for a substantial profit? Or could they — and would they — tear down the house to build a modern mega-mansion? It’s not out of the question. Mr. Oberfeld owns a high-end home construction firm, Dugally Oberfeld.

In case you’re wondering where Mauricio and Sharon Oberfeld (they are married) get $33,500,000 to drop on a house — well, Yolanda will tell you. The Oberfeld family is a clan from Mexico City but of Polish Jewish ethnic background. They made their money, so we hear, through banking and real estate and have frequently been described to Yolanda as “old Mexico City money”. Everyone in Beverly Hills knows them, everyone knows they are super rich, and apart from that what more do we need to know, right?

mauricio_oberfeld sharon_oberfeld

Though you won’t ever find the Oberfelds on a Forbes wealth list, Yolanda would be absolutely shocked if the clan are not billionaires. These folks are so rich, y’all. We can’t emphasize that enough. They are loaded.

In addition to their new $33.5 million mansion in Malibu (or however much they actually paid), various members of the Oberfeld family currently own: two mansions in Beverly Park, two mansions in Beverly Ridge Estates, two side-by-side mid-century residences in the best section of Beverly Hills, and a few other scattered mansions in and around Beverly Hills.

Once upon a time, Mauricio Oberfeld himself owned (and built) a spec-mansion in Beverly Park. Our boy sold the 19,000-square-foot faux-Tuscan terror to highly-compensated sitcom star Kelsey Grammer and his former Real Housewives alum wife Camille in early 2004 for $17,500,000. The Grammers — lucky in Beverly Park but unlucky in love — then lickety-split flipped the crib just two years later for a whopping $22,000,000 to Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad, a nephew of the late King Abdullah.

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Oberfeld’s Beverly Park spec-build: sold to Kelsey Grammer, currently owned by a Saudi prince

Mauricio & Sharon Oberfeld currently reside in their showplace near the tippy-top of the Bird Streets. Designed by Culver City-based architect Zoltan Pali and built by Mr. Oberfeld himself, the all-white uber-modern extravaganza has an exterior clad solely in cement paneling. The L-shaped crib overlooks a very large (for the Birds) patch of green grass and an oh-so-sleek and expensively engineered infinity pool with crystal-clear views to the Pacific Ocean.

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But we digress. While the (rumored) $33.5 million sale price of Lady Malibu may seem high, it isn’t anywhere near the most ever paid for a home in the city. In early 2013, sunglasses and camera billionaire Jim Jannard dropped $74,500,000 for fellow billionaire Howard Marks’ oceanfront estate in the northernmost reaches of Malibu.

Then, just last year, an unprecedented trio of massive sales hit the beachside community: Jimmy Iovine paid $60,000,000 for Marcy Carsey’s renovated Paradise Cove compound (it was the biggest sale in all of 2015), Laurene Powell Jobs threw down $44,000,000 for Jack Ryan’s unfinished estate on the opposite end of Paradise Cove, and Cindy Crawfod & Rande Gerber dolled out a downright shocking $50,500,000 for the development-ready estate next door to their longtime residence and just two doors away from the Jannard sale record-breaker.

But, as nice as all those other places are, Yolanda actually believes Lady Malibu, with her A+ in the Serra Retreat, her gigantic size and proportions, and her sweeping, unsurpassed vistas —  is about as epic as Malibu estates get. We’d even go so far as to say it’s the ultimate Malibu trophy estate. So, obviously, Yolanda is of the opinion the Oberfelds got a very good value with this sale. Of course, keep in mind that the property is currently in very poor condition and does not have direct beach access. Wanna have a quiet evening beachside stroll? You’ll have to pack up the family van (or Bentley Bentayga — good Lord, that thing is butt-ugly) and valet at Nobu first. But ain’t that the fun of Malibu, after all?

Lady Malibu is the irreplaceable Malibu estate to rule all Malibu estates.  Just take our word for it.

And babies, when you read this same story on one of those larger and classier news websites, which you eventually will – and without credit to Yolanda, natch — don’t ever forget that it was your chick who first whispered this to you, all those months ago. Oh, oopsies. There we go tooting on that horn again.

lady_of_malibu

Willows whiten, aspens shiver.
The sunbeam showers break and quiver
In the stream that runneth ever
By the island in the river
       Flowing down on through
Four gray walls, and four gray towers
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
       The Lady of Malibu…

4 Comment

  1. Hope its a teardown, God knows we need another fancy office building er, home in LA.

  2. Their Nightingale residence looks interesting, I’ve never seen pictures of it before so thanks for those. I wonder what they will do with “Lady Malibu”!

  3. Good news is, in a few years a house doesn’t really fall apartment. It’s not actually in disrepair I’d bet, just needs to be cleaned up and re-landscaped.

  4. I know who the architect is. William Pauli.
    My company produced the Windows and Doors for the O’Connors when it was built.

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