In a certain fantasy of post-apocalypse New York, the corporate executives whose financial behemoths helped lug down the housing market (and, also, the global economy) would suffer sticky real estate problems of their own. It’s beginning to happen.
In June 2007, Alvaro “Al” De Molina, who had recently stepped down as Bank of America’s chief financial officer, paid $4,295,000 for a three-bedroom, 2,391-square-foot sponsor unit at 110 Central Park South, which was once the hotel Navarro but had recently reopened as a co-op.
That month, he joined the gargantuan private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, eventually becoming the chief executive of GMAC Financial Services, the massive auto lender that Cerberus bought (along with Chrysler) for $15 billion in 2006. A Wall Street Journal item said he had bristled at his Bank of America job’s “regulatory constraints,” and appreciated “the aggressiveness and the atmosphere at Cerberus.”
Times have changed. Bank of America is now facing the prospect of full nationalization after a ghastly plunge, and the government’s rescue package has given GMAC several billion dollars. Worse still, according to a deed filed in city records, Mr. De Molina and his wife, Donna, have sold their Central Park South co-op for $4.5 million.
Their good news is that the co-op sold less than a month after Corcoran’s Patricia Cliff put it on the market. “My plan is to price close to the bone, and if you price close to the bone, you get your asking price, and you don’t have to fuss around with a whole bunch of shilly-shally,” she said. “It was a beautiful apartment. He got more than he paid, which is nice.”
“I mean,” Ms. Cliff said later, “he lost money because he paid commission and transfer tax.” The usual 6 percent broker’s fee works out to $270,000, and a deed lists New York State taxes at $47,787.84. “He minimally lost money. … Don’t you think a lot of people would die for that today?”
Mr. De Molina, whose main home is in Charlotte, may even come out on top: If he buys another New York pied-à-terre, his broker said, he’ll be buying “something bigger,” and he’d be likely to get a hefty discount that could make up for what he lost as a seller. “He didn’t shed any tears on this price. That’s what happens,” Ms. Cliff offered. “He was quite happy with what he got! He’s in the world of finance.”