Fake Grace Kelly townhouse auctioned in New York
There is one that is born every minute.
A huge 35-foot-wide, 12,321-square-foot Upper East Side building that is said to have once housed stars such as Grace Kelly and her husband Prince Rainier III of Monaco, as well as singer Harry Belafonte, the deputy President Nelson Rockefeller and even George Soros, sold last Thursday at a foreclosure auction.
That’s a lot of house and a lot of history for a starting bid of just $ 15 million (closing price has yet to be revealed).
But there is only one problem: despite nearly a decade of marketing efforts, reports and bragging rights from brokers touting the house as “Grace Kelly’s townhouse” in order to drive up the price. – there is no evidence that the Princess of Monaco nor any of her famous friends ever owned or even lived at 51-53 E. 73rd St.
This means that a buyer who has not yet been identified is spending their “George Washington slept here” moment, while the auction house collects a hefty fee.
The scam dates back to at least 2013, when then-broker Sergei Millian told the Daily News about the house’s celebrity pedigree. Millian, a former president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, is better known as “Person 1”, the alleged source of the anti-Trump Steele dossier, which caused a lot of scandals in the 2016 presidential election. .
While it’s not uncommon for brokers to fabricate the provenance of a home, accessible via social media, Millian told The Post he simply reiterated the claims of the owner, the late property manager Paul Ender.
At the time, Ender was heavily in debt and was looking for some $ 48 million for the deteriorating townhouse (today it contains 13 unoccupied units and 5 offices).
Since purchasing the townhouse in 1973, Ender had treated the building like a piggy bank, and by the end of 2016 the mortgage stood at $ 15.25 million, according to public records.
After Ender’s death in 2015, his wife Simone Ender and daughter Monique Ender Silberman defaulted on their mortgage and quickly racked up liens, fines of $ 10,100 a day, and expenses of around $ 28 million. . A bankruptcy filing blocked the sale last year.
“We’ve been exploited because we’re women, period,” Ender Silberman told The Post.
All the while, the mansion’s dubious celebrity tradition was unchecked and sometimes actively promoted.
The real story of the house tells another story.
In 1889, developer and architect John G. Prague built the twin four-story townhouse-style apartment buildings between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue, with a total of 17 units. In 1947, city records show that the properties were combined into a single apartment complex.
At that time, 17-year-old Grace Kelly had just graduated from Stevens School in Philadelphia. After graduating, she attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, while living at the Barbizon Women’s Hotel for the next three years.
In the early 1950s, Kelly moved to the white brick Manhattan House at 200 East 66th Street, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. While performing on stage and on screen, Kelly was noticed by legendary director John Ford, whose studio gave her a seven-year contract in 1952, which allowed her to retain her address in Manhattan. . Now a movie star (she appeared in her first Hitchcock film “Dial M for Murder” in 1954), her next stop in the neighborhood was an even more fashionable address at 988 Fifth Ave. In 1955, she traveled to Monaco and married the prince the following year – after which it’s hard to imagine the royal couple sunk him into a one-bedroom apartment.
Rumors of other famous occupants of E. 73rd St. also add to nuts.
Belafonte complained bitterly that no owner on the Upper East Side would rent to him in the 1950s and he subsequently deceived the owners of 300 West End Ave. by selling him a house using the name of a business.
As for Rockefeller, he lived just down the block in a chic 5th Avenue dig. He is said to have often passed the building on his way to Buckley School near 113 E. 73 Street, where his children were enrolled. He even stopped by school, where he introduced Henry Kissinger before a speech, on the day he died in 1979 – in the arms of a mistress in his West 54th Street office. But there is no evidence that he owned or rented any of the apartments at 51-53 E. 73rd St.
Likewise, Soros is more inclined to hide lovers in modest apartments on the Upper East Side than to live there. When asked if any of those names in bold could have rented love nests in the building, Ender Silberman shrugged, “Do you think bitches sign leases? I do not think so.
The Princess Grace Foundation, the Rockefeller Archivist and the Soros Foundation did not respond to requests for comment.
But don’t feel too sorry for the miller who bought the fake Bologna from this mansion. The massive spread sale included 2,000 square feet of air rights, making it the perfect choice for a truly royal conversion.
“As a mansion it really stands out, and it’s on Manhattan’s Gold Coast,” said a broker familiar with the property who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s amazing how many people have that kind of money.”