A few months back, as y’all may recall, Yolanda blabbed about a bananas $70 million (all cash!) sale in Malibu. At that time, it was the second-biggest transaction on record in the swanky coastal city (though it has since been bumped down to third place). The property is a massive blufftop mega-compound that many folks consider to be the most epic in town.
Y’all may also recall that the property was bought via an offshore corporation by a Hong Kong-based couple named Karen Lo and Eugene Chuang. Both Ms. Lo and Mr. Chuang are wealthy in their own right, we think, but Yolanda is certain that Ms. Lo is the one with the real serious big bucks, the one who can afford to snatch up 70 million dollar vacation homes.
To most of us paupers (or everyday millionaires), spending $70 million on a house is something so unfathomable that we can barely wrap our wee brains around the concept. But for those people who can spend that kind of money, too much is never enough and one ridiculously-expensive property would never do. And it turns out there is much more to Ms. Lo’s real estate tale than Yolanda previously knew.
Less than one month after Ms. Lo used an offshore corporation to purchase her Malibu home, a different offshore corporation paid $18,800,000 cash for a semi-historic home on what is often considered to be LA’s wealthiest and most prestigious street: South Mapleton Drive in Holmby Hills.
Unfortunately, Yolanda did not immediately connect the two real estate transactions, though we did notice the Mapleton sale and wondered who the buyer could be. After all, everyone on S. Mapleton Drive is someone and the offshore corporation that purchased the property is called “KYKL”. Yolanda wondered what those letters stood for — was it a weird sexual reference? Oh my!
But then all became clear. A few days ago, we noticed that Ms. Lo had listed a new mailing address for her Malibu property: the mailbox at that very same $18.8 million Mapleton house. And then Yolanda remembered that Ms. Lo’s full English name is Ki-Yan Karen Lo.
Get it? Get it?! K.Y.K.L.
The 6,055-square-foot Colonial-style mansion was built way back in 1939 and made famous for its starring role in the 1981 biographical drama Mommie Dearest. According to the folks over at The Real Deal, several scenes from Beverly Hills, 90210 were also shot at the property, despite the fact it is located in the 90024 zip code.
However, the most recent owners of the property were two brothers named Gurgen & Artyom Khachatryan. the sons of one Gagik Khachatryan, who just happens to be the Finance Minister of Armenia. The Kachatryan boys — who we have previously written about on this blog — bought the property in 2010 for just $11,000,000 and appear to have made few changes before selling it to Ms. Lo for $18.8 million.
Anyway, the mansion is more modest than most of its ostentatious neighbors and hearkens back to more gracious days of livin’ way back when. A dark green front door swings open to a staircase and double-height ceiling adorned with a crystal chandelier.
The property appears to have been well-maintained, and the retro kitchen has been upgraded with stainless appliances.
There are 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms — the upstairs master suite has views of the backyard and a lovely carved fireplace.
Speaking of the yard, it’s a generous 1.66-acres. There’s a large swimming pool, a low-slung pool/guest house, and a proper north/south tennis court to the rear of the estate.
Yolanda is not sure that all these features matter to Ms. Lo, however. The listing for the property touts its “incomparable opportunity to remodel or redevelop to build your dream estate in a location that epitomizes luxury & sophistication.” That doesn’t sound very promising for the ol’ gurl! Still, the house remains standing as of today.
It’s also worth noting that the property might be the only one on South Mapleton that is not gated or high-hedged. But don’t y’all even think about trespassing on Ms. Lo’s land! Her bodyguards have shotguns and they will not take kindly to any riff-raff disturbing the neighborhood peace.
Current South Mapleton Drive residents include (but are hardly limited to): billionaire beer/Twinkie heir Daren Metropoulos, Formula 1 heiress Petra Ecclestone Stunt, Duty Free heiress Alexandra von Furstenberg, construction heiress Kristin Tutor Eberts, Obama’s White House decorator Michael S. Smith, Google gigolo Eric Schmidt, Facebook trillionaire Sean Parker, Beats baller Jimmy Iovine, iconic restaurateur Michael Chow (that’s Mr. Chow to us peons), acclaimed director Sir Ridley Scott, private equity pasha Justin Chang and his wife Amanda Brown (she wrote Legally Blonde, dontcha know?), Jordanian billionaire Hasan Ismaik, vodka and music mogul P. Diddy (or Duffy Puffy or whatever Sean Combs calls himself today), former Paramount Pictures CEO Frank Mancuso Sr., and big businessman Marc Nathanson.
But wait, there’s more!
Next door to Ms. Lo’s “Mommie Dearest” estate is a rather neglected property. The 1.3-acre spread was for decades known as the “Bunny Hutch”, serving as the Playboy Mansion’s across-the-street guest house to hordes of Playmates and Playmate hopefuls.
Ol’ Hugh Hefner (may he RIP) fell on some difficult financial times a few years back and sold the property for exactly $10 million in 2013 to next-door neighbor David Kaplan, the hedge funder who already owns the big Traditional house next door (the one you see on the left in the photo up there).
Captain Kaplan made few (if any) changes to the property before listing it for sale this September (2017) for a fat $19,999,000. According to the listing, the house was swiftly “sold before processing” in an all-cash $17,250,000 deal. And though the owner took title under an LLC, Yolanda happens to know the buyer was none other than our Karen Lo.
Ms. Lo now lays claim to a 3-acre, $36,050,000 compound on LA’s swankiest street. And the $70 million Malibu spread! But wait, there’s still more.
Back in 2014, a developer named Robert Quigg paid $14,500,000 for a grand old Wallace Neff-designed house on a 1.37-acre Bel Air lot. Architecture lovers were dismayed when Mr. Quigg promptly razed the house (allegedly without the proper permits) and brazenly attempted to flip the vacant lot for $26 million.
In 2016, Mr. Quigg fled the USA for Australia with his mistress (this per Our Mama) and filed for bankruptcy, leaving his big Bel Air spread to be seized by the Feds. The property was put up for sale by the court this year and sold for $17,650,000 at auction. The all-cash buyer, per records, was something called “Dobacor LLC”.
Well, kiddies. Dobacor LLC happens to link directly back to the $18.8 million Mapleton house that Ms. Lo bought earlier this year. And a closer inspection reveals that the word “Dobacor” is actually an anagram for the word “Cordoba”, which just happens to be the name of a Hong Kong corporation that is majority owned by Ms. Lo, according to press reports. She bought a 39.4% stake in the company back in 2009 for about $57 million USD and has since increased her holdings.
For her Malibu, Bel Air, and Holmby Hills properties, Ms. Lo has spent a mind-boggling $123,600,000 in the span of a few months. And all of it has been in cash, though records show she did recently take out a $35 million mortgage on the Malibu property.
Where does she get all that money, y’all may wonder.
Well, it probably helps that Ms. Lo is a member of not one buy two of Asia’s wealthiest clans. Her grandfather, the late billionaire Dr. Kwee Seong Lo, was the founder of the Vitasoy drinks empire that is second in Hong Kong popularity only to Coca-Cola. Over the decades, Vitasoy expanded internationally — it has a US headquarters in San Francisco — and the conglomerate even owned the world’s most popular tofu brand for a time.
As noted in press reports, Ms. Lo is also indirectly related to 96-year-old Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, who has a net worth of $2.5 billion. Her sister Sharon Lo has long been married to Lawrence Ho, Mr. Ho’s eldest son who has a net worth of $2.6 billion. Through her sister, Karen Lo is also related to Pansy Ho, the multi-billionaire heiress who was once believed to be the richest woman in all of Asia. (Forbes says she makes do with a net worth of $5.2 billion).
The Hos and the Los families (and the fact that Ms. Lo can drop $123 million on real estate) mean Yolanda is quite certain that our gurl herself is a billionaire, too.
We digress. Property records show that Ms. Lo is not entirely new to LA.
Back in April 2013, Ms. Lo paid $8,125,000 (in her own name) for two adjacent yet uncombined apartments in what is arguably LA’s best condo high-rise — Sierra Towers. The seller of both units, y’all may be interested to know, was fellow Malibu homeowner Cher.
In 2014, she sold the smaller unit to real estate super-agent Kurt Rappaport, who flipped it just two months later to a local jewelry designer. Property records indicate Ms. Lo continues to own the larger apartment, at one time reported to be the only duplex in the entire building. (Although we aren’t certain that’s the case anymore).
Perhaps even more shocking to Yolanda than Ms. Lo’s real estate appetite is the vast amount of money her two real estate agents — Million Dollar Listing stars James Harris and David Parnes — have raked in from commissions. Yolanda believes that Mr. Harris and Mr. Parnes represented Ms. Lo in all $123 million of her 2017 deals.
Let us just assume a 2.5% commission (the industry average) for each of these deals. That’s $3,090,000 in payments that these two realtors could potentially have received. That’s from one client in the span of about six months!
Listing agents (Mapleton House #1): Christophe Choo, Coldwell Banker; Sally Forster Jones, John Aaroe Group
Listing agent (Mapleton House #2): Deedee Howard, The Agency
Listing agents (Bel Air): Jade Mills, Coldwell Banker; Phil Seymour, Elite Properties
Karen Lo’s agents: James Harris & David Parnes, The Agency