After 2012 Loss, Romney Went on Real Estate Binge

He's now got 4 swank houses, which could present an image problem
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2015 2:02 PM CST
After 2012 Loss, Romney Went on Real Estate Binge
People walk along the beach in front of a home owned by Mitt Romney, and his wife Ann, right, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, in La Jolla, Calif.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Mitt Romney might have gotten a little notoriety for his house with the car elevator, but that was the tip of the real estate iceberg and the buying binge he went on in the wake of his 2012 loss. As the Boston Globe reports, "For the first time in more than a decade, unencumbered by political considerations, (Romney) was free to spend his many millions without concern of how it might look." And Romney went big with his homes: He pushed ahead with plans to raze aforementioned beach house in La Jolla, Calif., erecting a $12 million, 11,000-square-foot behemoth, complete with "a lift inside that will rotate two cars below grade to the basement area." He bought an 8,730-square-foot home in Park City, Utah, that had what the Globe calls a "massive stone fireplace large enough to hold stockings for nearly two dozen grandchildren" and an accompanying $8.9 million price tag. And he built another 30 miles away near Salt Lake City, this one a farmhouse valued at $1.2 million. His fourth residence is a vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, which he's owned since 1997.

All of which is a little tricky when one is considering a third run for the Oval Office, this time with an emphasis on poverty. "He wants to be close to his family," says a longtime friend. "There’s nothing more important to him than his kids and grandkids. ... And if you could afford a house, and you’re as close as the Romneys are to their kids, that’s what you do." But voters—though insiders say Romney flies coach, won't drop money on iPad apps, and has an apparent penchant for patching winter gloves with duct tape—might not see it that way. As a result, even as Romney dips his toes in 2016 waters, he's quietly showing the uncompleted La Jolla mansion to potential buyers and his lawyer says that, though the Romneys fought hard to get their building plans approved, "no decision has been made at this time whether to keep it, or sell it." But he's got good company in the 1% in a potential rival: "It’s going to be hard for Hillary Clinton to make Mitt Romney’s wealth a fruitful line of attack, with her multimillion dollar mansions in Georgetown and Chappaqua and her jet-setting lifestyle of the rich and famous," says an aide. (More Mitt Romney stories.)

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