Patsy Kahn, wife of toy mogul and Madoff-penthouse purchaser Al Kahn, told the New York Post of her recent apartment acquisition, “[Al] was worried about the karma but I just loved the terrace!”
The six-story townhouse at 63 East 82nd Street doesn’t have a terrace, it has two, and a garden—which is a good thing because, like the Madoff abode, provenance was not going to be its selling point. Besides terraces, the two homes have Ponzi scheme-wielding former owners to connect them; indeed, Lawrence B. Salander, former director of the once-prestigious Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, may well be considered the Bernie Madoff of the art world with then–Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau calling Mr. Salander’s Rembrandt ripoff racket “the biggest art fraud in New York history.” The sexagenarian, described as “manacled and grimacing” at his arraignment, has since pleaded guilty to grand larceny and fraud to the tune of $120 million bilked from customers (including tennis ace John McEnroe and former Observer publisher Arthur Carter) and investors; he currently faces up to 18 years in prison.
Out-of-court things are going a little better. According to Leslie J. Garfield‘s Lydia Rosengarten, who had the listing with Jed Garfield, the 20-foot-wide, butter-yellow Georgian facade townhouse where the conman resided with his wife and children, has closed at “very close to the $14.25 million asking price.”
“Not at all,” Ms. Rosengarten replied quickly when asked if, like Mr. Kahn, the new buyers of the Upper East Side home had any qualms about the building’s karma. “The building obviously had its issues but so much time has passed since the initial eruption that they were looking at it simply as a home.”
Originally listed for $25 million before being slashed to $15.995 in the spring of 2009, the seven-bedroom home, bought by Mr. and Ms. Salander in 2004 for $4,750,500, was once the longtime residence of playwright Lillian Hellman. After going off the market for eight months First Republic Bank relisted the home late last year. “The bank that held the deed put it back on the market with us after the place had been vacated.” According to Ms. Rosengarten, it finally sold, “very close to $14.25; but when I say ‘close’ I mean really close. North of $13.7.” (Though other sources put the sale price at $13.7 million even.)
Stribling executive vice president Kirk Henckels cooed of the home, “It’s just a lovely house, and huge! What a beautiful exterior.” Boasting a “wide sweeping staircase” throughout, according to the listing, with a large landing on each of the six floors, the house includes a dumb waiter, nine bathrooms and a two-story stained glass window in the rear of the home.
A different broker familiar with the property noted the unfortunate proximity to both the playground of P.S. 6 and the neighboring Scientology Center: “It faces into the schoolyard and P.S. 6 isn’t what it used to be—children are very loud these days.” Ms. Rosengarten begged to differ. “On the contrary, the benefit is there are no buildings behind you and you get wonderful light. Also, it’s elementary school kids playing. It’s a very nice sound!” Though she did concede that the home “needed a little updating,” noting that it was left a bit neglected by its previous owners.
Of the new owners, Ms. Rosengarten declined to comment, saying only that “they are a lovely couple with kids.”
Will the children attend next-door P.S. 6?
“No, they go to private school.”