“The five Noel women have made a name for themselves by shoring up the virtues of a nearly extinct aristocracy,” said a 2002 Vanity Fair piece on Fairfield Greenwich Group founder Walter Noel’s pristine daughters. “They’re well educated and well married, and they’re raising a pack of well-behaved, multi-lingual children while keeping their string-bikini figures intact … with not a divorce or scandale among them.” The scene was a lawn party thrown for youngest sister Marisa, who was about to marry Matthew Brown.
Afterward, he became a managing director at Fairfield; last January the couple paid $13.5 million for the 20-foot-wide townhouse at 12 East 78th Street.
In May, they filed plans with the Department of Buildings to spend millions on a renovation, turning the house into what the family’s architect described as a place with “appropriate Upper East Side character.” But then the multibillion-dollar Fairfield Greenwich Group, the biggest feeder to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, was destroyed by the titanic scandal. In January, a family spokesperson denied that there were plans to sell the new townhouse; in April, that spokesperson conceded that the house was about to be listed; and, in May, the townhouse came on the market with two top brokerages.
A few weeks later, according to the listing, the house is in contract to sell. A source close to Ms. Noel Brown said the contract price is $9.75 million, which means that the couple will lose at least $3.75 million on the house, although a full renovation would have cost a lot as well. “So many others have lost so much more that it wasn’t appropriate to go forward with a big renovation project at this time,” the source said.
“When you’re dealing with these things, it’s not smart,” another source said earlier this year. “Do the Noels need a massive project while they’re in the middle of this? Does Charles Murphy need this stuff? Does anyone need this stuff?”