Secrets of the Cronkite Townhouse Sale!

As The Real Deal magazine reported on its Web site late Friday, the godly anchorman Walter Cronkite just sold a townhouse at 160 East 95th Street for $4.275 million.

The deal has a few interesting back stories, starting with the fact that the 11-room house really belonged to his son Walter "Chip" Cronkite III, who lived there with his wife Deborah Rush (an actress from Strangers With Candy), according to a broker with knowledge of the deal. The couple is on the sales deed, along with the elder Cronkite.

The Real Deal named Thomas Carter as the buyer, but there are three more names listed on the deed, including Ginny and Guy Millner, the GOP big-shot who founded the staffing supplier Norrell. Mr. Millner poured millions into three anti-abortion, anti-crime campaigns–one for U.S. Senate (in 1996) and two for Georgia governor (in 1994 and 1998).

As for the Cronkite couple, they cycled through three brokerages–Warburg Realty, Leslie J. Garfield & Co., and then the Corcoran Group–before the house sold. "It was kind of a mess of a deal," said the broker Jed Garfield. Even though the Cronkites eventually took the townhouse listing away from Mr. Garfield and gave it to Corcoran, the buyers were brought in when he had the exclusive. (In case you were wondering, that means he gets the commission.)

The deed also shows that it took months for this deal to close. Maybe that's because the IRS put a federal lien on Chip Cronkite way back in December 2004 for $33,511.73, according to public records, though a "release of federal lien" wasn't registered until this July.

He did not return a call to his cell-phone. But considering that dozens of liens are filed in Manhattan every day, and that high-end Manhattan real estate brokers aren't quite easygoing, the family's townhouse troubles aren't all that surprising. And on the bright side, the elder Mr. Cronkite is supposedly coming out with a new show, on a network called Retirement Living TV.