The latest mansion to be the subject of our dive into Los Angeles mansions with property tax bills over $1 million a year is the 50,000-square-foot mansion known as Fleur de Lys. The truly palatial Holmby Hills estate has been called a miniature Versailles with its formal gardens, enormous lawn, and 600-foot tree-lined driveway leading to the limestone home. The home has 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a grand ballroom for 500 guests, a two-story library, a movie theater, a music room, a dance studio, and sits on 4.9 acres. The cobblestones on the courtyard in front of the house are made from granite stones salvaged from the streets of Manhattan when the New York City sewer system was being replaced. The home last sold in 2014 for $102 million, making it, at the time, the most expensive residential sale in Southern California history. Fleur de Lys' owners pay $1.12 million in property taxes on their home each year.
The estate was named Fleur de Lys by its previous owner, Suzanne Saperstein. She had the mansion custom-built in the early 2000s with her then-husband David Saperstein. The home was completed in 2002. It took the Sapersteins five years to buy up adjacent parcels of land. It took several more years to complete construction on the nearly 5-acre property.
The Sapersteins divorced three years after the home was completed. She first listed the home for $125 in 2007 at the height of the real estate market in L.A. She took it off the market and put it back on the market a number of times. She almost sold her home to heiress Petra Ecclestone, who, of course, ended up buying (and eventually selling) Spelling Manor nearby for $85 million. Ecclestone sold the estate for $120 million in 2019, setting a new record for the highest-priced home in Southern California.
When Fleur de Lys was last on the market, it sparked an international bidding war. The winning bidder's identity was, as is usually the case in these ultra-high priced deals, obscured by a team of lawyers, agents, and an LLC. However, clues point to the owner of the property being junk bond king Michael Milken.
[After publishing this article, someone representing Michael Milken denied that the financier owned this house. According to the email we received, "a law firm whose offices are in the same building as the Milken institute represents many clients including Hollywood personalities".
Initially, the buyer was believed to be a French billionaire who paid for the $102 million house in all cash. However, the Los Angeles Times got their hands on a copy of the grant deed, which shows that the taxes will be mailed to the office of the Milken Institute, the Santa Monica based think tank founded by Milken in 1991. The buyer is listed as a limited liability company in Delaware represented by the law firm Maron & Sandler, which is based in the same building as the Milken Institute. Additionally, Richard Sandler is the executive vice president and a trustee of the Milken Family Foundation and a director of the Milken Institute. Sandler and Milken are longtime friends. Sandler also gave Milken a job when he got out of prison in 1993. One further clue comes in the form of the real estate agent representing the buyer. Fred Bernstein did the deal. He is married to Milken's daughter Bari.
Fleur de Lys' neighbors include David Geffen, Sandra Bullock, and before his death, Paul Allen.