After scandals and lawsuits aplenty, David Wildenstein, heir to the Wildenstein’s alleged Nazi-art-dealing fortune, is in contract to sell the family’s townhouse at 19 East 64th Street.
According to the New York Post, a mysterious Chinese conglomerate is shelling out $81 million on the place. If successful, the sale will set a record for the most expensive townhouse sold in NYC — a title currently held by the Harkness Mansion at 4 East 75th Street, which was bought by financier J. Christopher Flowers for $53 million in 2006.
This isn’t the first time the storied home has been on the brink of sale. The deal comes just weeks after Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik sued Wildenstein, saying the heir reneged on a gentleman’s agreement to sell him the property for $79 million. According to court filings, Blavatnik is accusing Wildenstein of using his offer to get a better price for the property.
And prior to that, back in August 2014, the Real Deal reported that the nation of Qatar had pulled out of a $90 million deal to buy the townhouse to use as their consulate.
The Wildenstein family, which is accused of dealing in art stolen by the Nazis, is thought to be selling off assets for quick cash. The family’s patriarch, Guy Wildenstein and his nephew, Alec Junior Wildenstein, will soon stand trial for allegedly engineering a scheme to hide and launder huge sums of money inherited from Guy’s father Daniel Wildenstein, who died in 2001. Plus French tax authorities are investigating Guy over allegations that he and his brother late Alec Wildenstein (know for helping his wife obtain “cat-like” features via countless plastic surgeries) hid hundreds of millions of euros in offshore trusts. [NYP]