As you may have heard and/or experienced, there is an ongoing crisis in the United States. Several of them, actually, but today we are referring to the national opioid crisis that has devastated families across America, but has been particularly devastating in the Midwestern states. The National Institute of Drug Abuse provides us with a few, ahem, sobering statistics. Among them: the economic burden of opioid misuse is estimated at an unfathomable $78.5 billion per year, more than 33,000 American died in 2015 alone as a result of opioid overdose, and at least 21% of people prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing the highly addictive drugs.
How exactly this crisis came about can mainly be traced back to 1996, when one simple sentence effectively kickstarted the nationwide epidemic. The sentence was “Delayed absorption as provided by Oxycontin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.” It was penned by a company called Purdue Pharma and pasted on to the label of their newly FDA-approved painkiller medication.
If y’all are not aware, Purdue is the pharmaceutical company that produces Oxycontin, the prescription drug that is widely believed to have opened the proverbial floodgates to today’s rampant opioid abuse. And despite the fact that an LA Times investigation revealed that Purdue had for decades known about the highly addictive qualities of the drug, the company kept the misleading label on its Oxycontin bottles for five long years, until the FDA finally ordered them to strip and replace it with a warning label. By then, however, the damage had been done. Estimates show that more than 300,000 Americans have died as a direct result of their addiction.
Who exactly to blame for this mess is not for Yolanda to decide, but the moving finger is often pointed at the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma and the ones responsible for the agressive 1990s marketing blitz that catapulted Oxycontin to superstar sales and reaped a vast fortune for the family.
You see, Oxycontin — in addition to being highly addictive — is also enormously profitable. Since 1996, this single brand alone has generated what is estimated to be in excess of $35 billion in revenue for Purdue. And as a family business, revenue for Purdue is essentially revenue for the Sacklers.
The Sacklers remain (probably deliberately) low-profile, refusing nearly all media interviews and distancing themselves from the very product that pads their pocketbooks. But the New Yorker recently published an in-depth profile on the clan, and Forbes estimates their current collective net worth at $13 billion, making them one of the wealthiest families in the entire country. That’s a lot of pills!
To their credit, we suppose, the Sacklers are highly philanthropic — they have donated tens of millions of dollars to prestigious academic and art institutions (Yale, Harvard, the Brooklyn Museum among them).
But we digress. Fast forward to 2018 — Hi 22 years after Oxycontin’s debut — when a substantial estate in Bel Air transferred for a major $22,500,000. The sale appears to have been all-cash, and the mysterious entity that bought the place links back to — somewhat surprisingly — an address in Oklahoma.
It wasn’t long before Yolanda was able to connect said entity to the Sackler clan, but it was Our Mama at Variety who first pinpointed the name of the specific Sackler family member who bought the place. His name is David Sackler, and he is a gent in his late 30s. Our Mr. Sackler is the only son of Austin, Texas-based billionaire Richard Sackler, the very fellow who spearheaded the development of Oxycontin.
We don’t know much else about Mr. David Sackler — heck, we couldn’t even dig up a photo of him — but we do know that he “runs a family investment fund” and is the only member of the Sackler third generation who sits on Purdue Pharma’s board of directors. He is also married to an “art world patron” named Joss Sackler — she has more than 75,000 followers on the Instagram contraption — and together the couple have two young children.
And naturally, can afford just about any house he pleases. So what does he please? A very grand ’80s take on contemporary, it would appear.
The house was long owned by an advertising executive named Jack Roth and was custom-built in 1987, according to public records. The approximately 4-acre estate is one of the most private in all of Bel Air. It lies hidden at the end of a gated and epicly-long driveway at the end of a small cul-de-sac in the Stone Canyon neighborhood pocket.
Interior spaces of the 9,753-square-foot palace are decidedly dated, but the views through the floor-to-ceiling windows are certainly lovely.
The kitchen is spacious and comes equipped with upgraded stainless appliances, though that grey tile floor is rather icky. There’s also a movie theater with a starlit ceiling, a game room, and a gym.
The backyard sports a full outdoor kitchen, a full-size lighted tennis court, and a pool with a spa and a raised fountain feature. The entire estate is landscaped and carefully manicured.
To Yolanda’s surprise, this is not Mr. Sackler’s only house in Los Angeles. A little research reveals that scarcely 8 months ago — in July 2017 — he paid prolific TV producer Caryn Mandabach $10,845,000 for another dated yet sublimely situated pad, this one located in the posh “Riviera” section of Pacific Palisades.
The chunky California contemporary sprawler sits on a very large one-acre lot with head-on views of the Riviera Country Club, where membership will set one back a stupendous $250,000. The 1985 multi-level structure was designed by noted architect Peter Choate and has 7 beds and 9.5 baths in nearly 7,000-square-feet of living space.
Indoors there are formal dining and living rooms, a kitchen with stainless appliances, medium-brown hardwood floors, a bunch of raggedy-looking drapes, and an awning-shaded back patio with plenty of room for lounging and entertaining.
The house itself is set towards the rear of the lot, up against the golf greens and hidden from the street out front behind a lushly landscaped front yard. The backyard features an outdoor dining/sitting area and a BBQ. Elsewhere on the grounds is a lagoon-style swimming pool with flagstone terracing and there is also a guest house of unspecified square footage.
Yolanda has no inside intel about what exactly Mr. Sackler is planning to do with his homes in Bel Air and Pacific Palisades that have combined cost him more than $33 million. But if we had to guess, we’d say that he might renovate and sell one or both of the properties at a substantial profit. If there’s one thing the Sacklers are good at, after all, it’s making money. Maybe we will see if their success in drugs also translates to success in real estate.
Anyway, according to reports, Mr. Sackler’s daddy Richard Sackler currently resides in Austin, Texas, in a house perched on top of a damn mountain. The 8,000+ square foot abode sits on a nearly 5-acre lot and sports views of the majority of Austin.
For more pics and even a video of the Austin estate, click here.
And just for shits and giggles, David Sackler’s sister Marianna Sackler — she is also a daughter of Richard Sackler, in case you’re confused — recently paid $12 million for a house in San Francisco where she lives with her hubby, a guy named James Frame.
The Sackler-Frame couple sued the owners of the vacant property next door after they discovered that they were planning to construct a giga-mansion on the premises. Oh Lordy, there’s no fight like rich folks fightin’ over mansions, right? And for more pictures of Mrs. Sackler-Frame’s house, click here.