In case y’all didn’t know, fashion designer/TV personality/Ferrari-driving Kimora Lee Simmons is one tough and very rich cookie and she isn’t about to let little people problems like an international money-laundering scandal and an (allegedly!) failing fashion line stop her from living her very best life. To that end, she’s just slammed down a billionaire-worthy sum of moolah on a village-sized mansion within the guarded gates of the cartoonishly opulent Beverly Park community.
Now, kiddies, we are well aware that this sale has already been discussed by just about every real estate columnist/gossiper out there. But we’re giving it another go today because 1) it’s a huge transaction and 2) Yolanda has a rather unhealthy obsession with Beverly Park and the inordinately wealthy folks who dwell within its heavily secured boundaries.
Anyway, it appears that celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ was the first to let the cat outta the proverbial bag, and property records do indeed confirm that Ms. Simmons (through a mysteriously-named corporate entity) did, in fact, lay out an even-steven $25,000,000 for the big-ass Beverly Park house. The seller was a lady named Kathy Harfouche, wife of clothing entrepreneur Michael Harfouche.
Wee bio time: Ms. Simmons was born in St. Louis, Missouri to a Korean mother and African-American father. By age 14 she was modelling haute couture on the runways of Paris and by 23 she was hitched to music/clothing mogul Russell Simmons. She became known for her Baby Phat and KLS fashion lines and for appearing on reality television programs as well as a highly-publicized DUI car chase and arrest way back in 2004.
Check out her mugshot here. Aww. The good ol’ days!
More importantly, however, our Ms. Simmons has mastered the art of marrying well. Perhaps better than just about any celeb we know. The lady has been hitched to a succession of very wealthy gentlemen, perhaps the wealthiest of whom is (her third and current hubby) German-born former banker Tim Leissner, a guy who made millions and millions of dollars working at Goldman Sachs. We know little else about him but he rest assured he is a very wealthy fellow who is in some deep legal doo-doo right about now for his role in the 1MDB multi-billion dollar money-laundering scandal that originated in Malaysia and has rocked nations around the globe.
Now kiddies, let us whisper to you a not-so-secret secret about Beverly Park: Everyone in there is crazy. No joke. It’s true. Not necessarily Amanda Bynes crazy, more like Liza Minnelli crazy. Just a little wacko, a bit touched in the head. But in an entertaining way. And we are so proud of Ms. Simmons for moving up there because, let’s face it, she’s somewhat cray-cray herself. And she is perfect for this place.
All of y’all should already know all about Beverly Park, but just in case you don’t: it is the most expensive and most stringently-secured gated community with the most oversized mansions with the most stringent security measures in all of California. Maybe all of the world, we don’t know. There are 70+ homes in the community, which is divided into South (less fashionable) and North (trendy) sections. And good luck finding a house in either for less than $15 million.
In recent years, however, Beverly Park has fallen somewhat out of fashion. It isn’t that there are fewer crazy rich people out there, it’s that those new-fangled contemporaries in Trousdale Estates and the Bird Streets are all the rage right now.
But still, the market is scorchin’ hot right now. After a couple years of no action in Beverly Park, the neighborhood has recorded four sales within the past six months, all of them in North Beverly Park and all of the transactions being in the $25-27 million range.
Each and every one of the 70+ homes in Beverly Park is situated behind its own private security gate, but Ms. Simmons’ is particularly private with its long winding driveways and many mature olive and ficus trees.
Property records indicate the faux-Italian behemoth has 15,450-square-feet of living space in the main house with 6 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms and was originally built in 1992, making it one of the older homes in North Beverly Park. There are also a couple of ancillary buildings (a six-car detached garage and a guest house) that add another bedroom, two bathrooms, and 5,000+ square feet to the total living space.
The double-height foyer is sure to wow guests with its dramatic (if somewhat déclassé) sweetheart staircases and beige-ish marble floors and columns. There are formal living and dining rooms on the main level plus a library/study with real bookshelves and real books. Looks like a great place to pore over a priceless first-edition War and Peace, magnifying glass in hand and pipe dangling out the corner of one’s mouth, but somehow we don’t see the Ms. Simmons as that kind of gal.
Anyway, each and every one of the public rooms are grandly proportioned. It is abundantly clear to Yolanda, however, that this house could use a serious makeover. All the dull colors and those heavy drapes are just so 90s we can barely stand it.
The kitchen is approximately the size of a small shopping mall and has more than enough commercial-grade appliances to fill said shopping mall. It’s also perfectly dull with its light-colored cabinetry, dark-colored countertops, and beige tile flooring. Elsewhere is a screening room with a pricey projection system adjacent to a conservatory with walls of glass that allow occupants to peer out into the densely-planted backyard.
Speaking of the yard, it’s huge: 3.79 acres of property, making this one of the larger Beverly Park estates (by acreage, at least). There’s plenty of room a blue-bottomed swimming pool with inset spa and proper north/south tennis court.
If y’all put your thinking caps on, you may recall that the Simmons-Leissners had been looking to purchase a significant mega-mansion in the Platinum Triangle area for several years. Back in early 2014 they even entered escrow on a humongous spread over in the Benedict Canyon area that was being sold by Maurice Marciano.
For unknown reasons, kiddies, Mr. Leissner and Ms. Simmons’ escrow on the property was cancelled. Then along came Steve Wynn, who also initiated escrow on the property (that one was cancelled as well). Third time’s the charm though — the mega-estate eventually sold for $32,670,000 to British crooner Robbie Williams. But we digress.
For nearly a decade now, Ms. Simmons & co. have made their primary residence a two-story Mediterranean structure in prime Beverly Hills. Records reveal Ms. Simmons paid $10,950,000 for the property back in 2008, years before she hitched her wagon to Mr. Leissner.
Before that, Ms. Simmons lived in a mansion in the “Hidden Valley” neighborhood of the Beverly Hills post office, where current residents include everyone from Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis to Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban to Katy Perry to Adele to Cameron Diaz. Her old house up there is now owned by actress Zoe Saldana.
Over in Beverly Park, some of Ms. Simmons and Mr. Leissner’s nearest new neighbors include longtime neighborhood stalwarts like Rod Stewart (he’s right next door), Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Haim Saban, Jami Gertz, and how-the-heck-is-he-still-alive billionaire Sumner Redstone. But despite the area’s reputation as a celebrity haven, Ms. Simmons is the first real celebrity to buy in Beverly Park in nearly a decade.
Back in July 2014, Ms. Simmons and Mr. Leissner reportedly dropped about $19,000,000 on an 8th-floor apartment in Manhattan’s venerable The Marquand building. Built in 1913, the fully-renovated unit has 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, formal living and dining rooms, fireplaces, and is just a short stroll to Central Park.
See? Homegurl really is living her best life.