Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, who made an absolute fortune hedging against the real estate market by betting that people would default on their mortgages, has put a 35,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills on the market for what is believed to be the most expensive public listing in the country -- a cool $195 million. The fortress includes 12 bedrooms, 23 baths, a 25-acre lot, a 24-car garage, an "entertainment complex," a bowling alley, a rotating dance floor with a DJ booth, and of course, its own vineyard.
Greene -- who lost a run for Senate in 2010 -- stands to make a ridiculously huge profit off the mansion if it sells anywhere close to the asking price, as he bought it for $35 million in 2007, at the cellar of the recent real estate crash. That's nothing new, of course, because that's exactly how he came to being filthy rich -- buying up real estate at its absolute clearance price years ago, holding onto and improving it, then selling it at prices absurdly higher than he purchased them for now that the market is recovering. Greene has spent nearly a quarter-billion dollars over the past five years acquiring real estate from Lantana to Jupiter and beyond.
Greene spent $3.7 million to buy what used to be Palm Beach's main post office, a historic property he wants as his East Coast headquarters for some of his companies, and an additional $42 million on the Omphoy Ocean Resort, a high-class South Florida beachfront hotel (now rebranded as the Tideline Ocean Resort).
Greene didn't just get rich off sitting on real estate, flipping it, and cashing in on the profits -- he took advantage of the massive amounts of foreclosures in South Florida over the years. In 2006, Greene bought $500 million worth of credit default properties that he later cashed in for a profit of $300 million, a move that gave him more than enough capital to invest in new real estate in the Palm Beach and surrounding areas.
All that maneuvering gained him more than just notoriety for being a shrewd businessman; it provided him a lifestyle reminiscent of something out of the movie Wolf of Wall Street. Well, maybe moreThe Hangover Trilogy, because Mike Tyson is one of his best friends and was the best man at his wedding. Greene is also well-known for his yacht parties that include naked women, drugs, and whatever else you might imagine might happen out at sea with a rich guy and a bunch of people partying their asses off (though he is now married with children). Greene has been quoted as saying the parties aren't a big deal; he just goes hard in all phases of life equally:
"It's described by some people as crazier than it really was. I'd have a few big parties and they'd sometimes be a little crazy, and so people would assume that's what I did all the time. I wasn't going to parties every day -- I was a serious adult, with a business career. I'd go to St. Bart's over New Year's in my boat and have one big party, and the next party I would have would be Memorial Day weekend."
Greene, who regularly sits upon the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest people in the world, made a run at the U.S. Senate in 2010, but many believe his partying ways and past got in the way of his eventually unsuccessful campaign. Despite spending $23 million on his run, Greene was handily beaten by Kendrick Meek and expressed anger at the media for their portrayal of him as an out-of-control party animal.
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For now, Greene will concentrate on the real estate side of things and attempt to break the country's record price for a home sold, a price he believes isn't ridiculous at all.
"When you consider the value of the land and the quality of the construction," Greene told the New York Times, "$195 million is really quite reasonable."
Surely, the revolution will begin any day now?