Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Biggest Political Mansions Around

The Biggest Political Mansions Around

By Chris Good
Mitt Romney, the richest man in the 2012 presidential race, reminded us of politicians' Scrooge McDuckish qualities last week after it was revealed he planned to quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront mansion in La Jolla, Calif. He says he'll merely double it, but either way. Romney isn't the only politician to make news with an expensive home-construction project this year. Just a few months ago, news broke that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is building a $3 million beach house in Florida.
However they got it, a lot of politicians have money. Sometimes it's a job perk, culled from astronomical speaking fees and lobbying contracts; more often, for the wealthiest among them, business success or lucky marriages left them swimming in cash.
And many of them enjoy the comfortable living arrangements allowed by such fortunes. Nothing against that, but given that 26 percent of homeowners believe they are underwater, the opulence of wealthy politicians stands in stark contrast to the mortgage problems facing much of the country. Here's proof:

Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound

Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound
The former Alaska governor secretively bought this 6,000 square-foot home in Scottsdale, Ariz. in May, leading some to wonder if she might launch a presidential bid from the lower 48. The Arizona Republic reported:
Safari Investments LLC paid $1.695 million cash for the home in a deal that appears designed to cloak the identity of a high-profile buyer.

Michael Bloomberg's Georgian Estate

Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound
The mayor of New York City automatically gets a big house, Gracie Mansion, but current Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) has bigger tastes.

He already owns a mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but in July he dropped $20 million on this 11-bedroom, 8-bathroom Georgian estate on a 35-acre spread in the Shinnecock Hills area of Long Island.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Bay House

Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound
Currently the ninth richest member of Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) bought a $16.5 million house in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco in 2006, complete with fancy garden.

The house sits a few blocks from the San Francisco Bay, across the historic Presidio from the Golden Gate Bridge.

John Kerry's Multiple Mansions

Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound

As of 2004, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, owned five homes worth a total of $33 million, including the Boston house pictured above. Here's how the Associated Press described them:

• Boston: A five-story, 12-room Beacon Hill town house that serves as Mr. Kerry’s main residence. Assessed value: $6.9 million.
• Nantucket, Mass.: A three-story, five-bedroom waterfront retreat on Brant Point. Assessed value: $9.18 million.
• Washington, D.C.: A 23-room town house in Georgetown. Proposed 2005 assessment: $4.7 million.
• Ketchum, Idaho: A ski getaway converted from a reassembled barn near Sun Valley. Assessed value: $4.9 million. Mrs. Kerry also owns two adjoining lots valued at $1.5 million and $1.8 million.
• Fox Chapel, Pa.: A nine-room colonial on nearly 90 acres in suburban Pittsburgh. The property also includes a nine-room carriage house. Assessed value: $3.7 million.
 Rep. Mike McCaul's Suburban Spread
Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) overtook fellow House Republican Darrell Issa (Calif.) as the richest member of Congress this year. According to the disclosure form associated with a political donation he made in 2004 (the last year he contributed to anyone, according to Federal Election Commission records), he lived in this mansion in suburban Austin.

Mitt Romney's Ski Palace

Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney doesn't own this 9,500-square-foot Deer Valley, Utah ski retreat anymore -- he sold it in 2009 for $5.25 million -- but it makes this list anyway because it looks awesome. In the same year, Romney sold a 6,500-square-foot New Hampshire mansion for $3.5 million.

John McCain's Many Residences

Sarah Palin's Arizona Compound
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) doesn't own any "mansions" per se anymore. His most lavish home is probably the ranch near Sedona, Ariz. where he hosted reporters during the 2008 presidential race.

But he makes this list because he famously forgot how many houses he owned, when asked by Politico just two months before Election Day. According to Politifact, he owned eight; you can find photos and dollar values at Zillow.

Above is a photo of the Phoenix house in which John and Cindy McCain used to live. It was Cindy McCain's childhood home, and the couple reportedly sold it for $3.2 million in 2006.
The Biggest Political Mansions Around - Chris Good - Politics - The Atlantic

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