Of course you do!
Whether Romney will be McSame’s running mate or not, I thought it’d be fun to do a Robin Leach type tour tied in with a "Follow the Money" approach to his four mansions. See for yourself – these are more than just "houses".
Romney's Main Mansion
171 - Marsh St., Belmont, MA
Makes sense to begin with the old homestead in Belmont, MA – and it’s located at 171 Marsh St. in that tony town. And while there are numerous sites documenting that the Romneys live at 171 Marsh St., maybe the Federal Election Commission (FEC) can serve as the definitive one.
The real estate website Zillow informs us that this 3-story mansion gets by with 13 rooms situated on 2.44 acres, and comes complete with its own tennis court along with a luxurious pool complex. The house was built back in 1930 (apparently the Depression didn’t effect whoever built it); it has 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms squeezed into a compact 6,430 sq. ft. of sumptuous living space.
Belmont happens to be situated in South Middlesex County, which provides a very cooperative Public Records website. (But you do have to either select South Middlesex from the drop-down menu or click on South Middlesex in the Map and fill in Romney's name to get the Public Records.)
From those Middlesex County Records we find that the Deed for this place was registered back in October, 1989 in Mitt’s wife’s (Ann D.) name– and they purchased it from the Fenollosas for $1,250,000.00. [NOTE: View dollar-amount in upper right corner] And you can see that Zillow now estimates its worth at a little under $3,500,000.00.
But before we leave Belmont, let's take a birdseye view of the place without all the foliage for a better look.
Romney's Summer "Cabin"
87 Claflin Road, Wolfeboro, NH
Just a drive of a little over 100 miles away you'll find the next Mitt-Mansion - their summer "cabin" at 87 Claflin Road, Wolfeboro, NH, is situated right on the shores of beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. (And as a kid, I always thought names like that you heard in Disney camp movies were made up.)
Wolfeboro is situated in Carroll County, which unfortunately has no official website to provide Public Records, so we’ll rely on outside authorities.
"USA Today" descrbes the "cabin" as
"... an 11-acre estate valued at more than $10,000,000.00 on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee"
Set back a half-mile from the road and up a long and narrow driveway, the Romneys' three-story estate is shielded from would-be gawkers. Romney bought most of the property in 1997 for less than $3 million from hotel executive and fellow Brigham Young University alumnus Butch Cash. Romney later bought another lot for about $85,000 to get a little extra room.
The main house - a 5,400-square-foot contemporary - has six bedrooms. A 2,700-square-foot boathouse sits on the 760 feet of lake frontage. Its 2,600-square-foot stable has been converted into a guest house.
Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" did an interview with Romney awhile back; it’s 13 minutes long, but some of it was shot at the Wolfeboro home which can be viewed beginning about the 5:45 mark:
[NOTE: I should mention that I also found pretty good documentation that their summer "cabin" address could also be 24 Greenleaf Dr. Now those two roads are parallel to each other at the tip of Clark’s Point with contiguous properties - and they do own 11 acres of land. So I think it's the extra lot he bought detailed above becauce it appears that Greenleaf Dr. does not make it all the way to the shoreline.]
Romney's Ski Chalet
3853 - Rising Star Lane, Park City, UT
When the weather gets frightful, the frightfully rich go skiing. So let’s move on to their ski chalet nestled in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains at 3853 - Rising Star Lane, Park City, UT (although sometimes also listed as Deer Valley).
Sorry to say there’s really no interior or close-up shots that I was able to find. Although YouTube does have a clip of Romney giving a fund-raising speech there ... but not much to see.
However, from Public Records available at the Summit County Tax Assessor Office we learn that this Mitten Mansion has a cozy 9,514 sq. ft. of living space – and an additional 2,135 sq. ft. of basement space. Why even the attached garage coming in at 1,104 sq. ft. is larger than some folks’ homes I know.
[NOTE: At the Summit County site, click on "Public Login"; and then using the "Situs" option close to the bottom, under "House" type "3853"; under "Street" type "Rising Star"; under "Designation" select "Lane" from the drop-down menu; and then "Search". Click on the "Account Number" to learn more specifics.]
And they’re just going to have to get by with six bathrooms – including one "designer bathroom" (whatever that is).
And this year it’s assessed at $5,238,875.00 (up just a measly $5 from last year). And the last paid taxes came to $42,351.03.
So the Romneys paid just in taxes on just this one mansion an amount very close to what the U.S. Census Bureaus reports as the median income in the USA. And that only goes to show how "elitist" the Obamas must be, right?
And après skiing, the Romneys can rub elbows with "just plain folks" neighbors like ABC’s Charlie Gibson, NBC’s Dr. Art Ulene and Olympic five gold-medal winner, and now orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Eric Heiden.
Romney's Pacific Ocean Beachfront Manse
Now to their most recent purchase: a Pacific Ocean beachfront property in the San Diego posh suburb of La Jolla, CA – bought for truly a "steal" at a mere $12,000,000.00.
[NOTE: You get just a tiny view of their home and drive from street level in above photo]
This 3 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom 3,009 sq. ft. home located at 311 Dunemere Dr. was breathlessly described by its listing agent:
BEACHFRONT RESIDENCE This truly rare property in La Jolla has private access to a sandy beach. A Spanish style oceanfront residence at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac with a lap pool and a spa, the home is sophisticated and understated in its decor, offering complete privacy and unsurpassed elegance. Fin de la Senda, Spanish for 'the end of the road,' is set unassumingly where one of the Barber Tract's most charming streets meets the Pacific Ocean and one of San Diego's least accessible and quiet beaches. La Jolla only has about 35 actual beach front homes, and with 65' of frontage, private gated access and a westerly lot line of the mean high tide, this offering represents a truly unique opportunity for a Buyer who appreciates the scarcity of this caliber of real estate. Designed by the renowned Lorrimer-Case Architects, this 3BR/4.5BA home has been enjoyed for years by high profile celebrities and politicians alike who chose it for its understated class and location that perfectly matches prestige with privacy.
Even better, enjoy a priceless, 4-star snarky assessment courtesy of "Your Mama":
... [T]hey'll not be starved for conservative beach buddies. See puppies, not only is that neck of the woods crawling with right leaning well-to-do types, the new Romney residence happens to sit right next door to the ... much ballyhooed Cliff Robertson estate, which was scooped up by John and Victoria Miller in March of 2008 for a reported $16,500,000.00. The Millers are not only friends of the Romneys, they also served as financial chairs for Mister Romney's failed run at the Whitehouse. Thick as thieves these four.
Listing information for the well located property with its dee-pressingly dated day-core indicates the seller was willing to entertain offers between $12,000,000 and $14,000,876. Yes babies, the listing really did include that silly number. Amongst real estate pee-pole, this sort of thing is called "range pricing," and quite frankly Your Mama thinks it's stoopid. Who in their right mind would offer a seller $14,000,876 for a property where the seller has made it perfectly plain they'd be just as happy to entertain an offer of $12,000,000? Who? .... Mister and Missus Romney paid exactly $12,000,000 for the ocean front property. Imagine that?
[NOTE: See below for documentation of the $12,000,000.00 price]
Clearly Missus Romney will need a talented team of nice gay decorators to get all up in there and works some shit out because this house looks like it has not been touched since 1980, the year it was built.
How nice would it be to brush and floss the choppers with the French doors flung open like that? We're also terribly fond of the lap pool and spa area. Not because Your Mama makes desires to break a sweat swimming laps....
It probably goes without saying that Mister Romney's politics are not those of Your Mama, and we shiver and shudder at the notion mentioned in the San Diego Union-Tribune that he might like to establish California residency in order to step into the shooz of California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger who leaves office in 2010. Oh dear Jeezis, please say it ain't so. In the meantime, Mister Romney and his heavily considered coiffure are rumored to be on Republican Senator John McCain's short list for Vee-Pee. No comment.
I'd have to agree with "Your Mama" that the Realtor's listing pictures seems to support her view that it's not been touched since 1980. But I'll let you be the judge:
Now I suppose you’re going to demand documentation that the La Jolla oceanfront house cost the Romneys $12,000,000.00. Well, if you look in the Zillow Details box, you can find the Parcel Number (3510902400) for this little place.
Then just go to the San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk's Home Page and under "Assessor Services" select "Property Assessment". Then select "Property Sales Search" and plug in that old Parcel Number divided as 351-090-24-00 and ... voilà! It takes you to 311 – Dunemere Dr., La Jolla, CA.
And to be sure it’s Romney’s, under "Recorder Services" select "Grantor/Grantee Index Search". Type in "Romney Willard" as directed and ... voilà! There he is. Now click on that Document Number 2008-0291185 and you can pay $11 to read their entire Deed.
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The very rich are not like you and me.
Ernest Hemingway: Yeah, they have more money!