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Sunday, July 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Loose Lips Sank Sale of Mansion, Owner Says

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A broker working for "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" husband Mauricio Umansky scuppered the sale of a $35 million Hollywood home by badmouthing the place in a magazine interview, the owner claims in court.

Nightingale Capital LLC sued Umansky, his real estate brokerage The Agency and broker Blair Chang in Superior Court on Monday. It claims the value of 12,350-square-foot hillside mansion declined after Fortune magazine quoted Chang in an August article, "Why Can't This $32 Million Hollywood Dream Home Sell?"

Fortune reported that developer Sean Sassounian owns the property, but Nightingale says in the lawsuit that it owns it. It claims it bought the place for $4.84 million in 2008, during the height of the financial crisis.

British singer and songwriter Dido, best known for her collaboration with Eminem on "Stan," had lived there after buying it for $4.1 million, according to the Fortune article.

After pouring $13 million into the home, Nightingale says, it put the property on the market in early 2014.

More than a year later, Nightingale says, it parted ways with The Agency and paid it a $60,000 termination fee to take the listing off its books.

A few months later, Chang, a part owner of The Agency, made "unambiguously false and derogatory" comments about the property in the Fortune article, Nightingale claims.

"The problem with the house, according to Chang, is it's 'on the wrong side of the street. Not all the windows have great views of the city,'" the Aug. 17 Fortune article states.

Chang told Fortune that he brought in a cash offer of $32 million for the property but that Sassounian rejected it, along with two more $30 million bids.

Nightingale claims since the article was published it has been unable to refinance its loan on the property and is now facing a fully amortized loan that will increase its monthly payments. It says it can't sell the property and has been forced to reduce the asking price to $27.95 million.

"The week the article came out, sale activity came to an immediate halt. Buyers or their representatives simply refuse to consider purchasing the property because of the article," the lawsuit states.

Nightingale seeks actual and punitive damages and costs and is represented by Ryan Waggoner with Allen Matkins.

The Agency did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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