“Colombia has progressed—with the strong support of the United States—from a nation under siege by narcoterrorists and paramilitary vigilantes,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wrote in The New York Times this year, “to one poised to become a linchpin of security and prosperity in South America.”
Nothing says prosperity quite like a 12-room, $7.25 million apartment on Fifth Avenue, which, according to city records, is what Claudia Blum, Colombia’s U.N. ambassador, has just assembled.
As the Web site Cityfile first reported, Ms. Blum and her husband, Francisco Barberi, paid $3.35 million earlier this month for a co-op at 936 Fifth Avenue. But deeds show that the couple also paid $3.9 million for the apartment next door. According to floor plans, the combined co-op will have a double-size master suite; four other bedrooms; two dining rooms; two hefty foyers; a kitchen and pantry; and a maid’s room next to the laundry area.
Their brick building is drab compared to its Fifth Avenue neighbors; nevertheless, the C.I.A. World Factbook‘s estimate of Colombian GDP per capita is $7,400, which is less than the two-unit apartment’s $8,219 monthly maintenance, and about one one-thousandth the purchase price.
The couple won’t be moving far. The deeds list their address at an apartment in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue; a limited liability corporation bought the unit in 1992, the year after Ms. Blum joined the Colombian senate. Since then she’s written five books, including Corruption: For How Long?