The lavish 1915 estate is sprinkled with workers busily going about
the renovations and gardening work on this cool sunny day
when John drives up and starts taking photos.
A young, stunning blonde pulls up in a porche and angrily asks
why he is taking photos. “Well I have the previous owner in the
car and thought she might want some photos on her camera.”
Where Did Val Verde Estate Money Go?
A number of years ago Dr. Warren Austin and his Chicago heiress wife established the Val Verde Foundation, a public benefit institution with assets including the historic Val Verde estate and other personal property. In May 2006, trustees of this foundation mortgaged the estate for $13 million and last winter averted a foreclosure auction sale by filing bankruptcy. What necessitated the mortgage and what public benefit derived from the expenditure of these millions of dollars? Now we have a public auction of tangible assets at Val Verde including fine arts, antiques, and rare books “all proceeds to benefit Fighting Back Santa Maria – a non-profit for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, and St. Joseph High School Basketball Program.”
Surely Warren Austin would have approved of both programs, but I think the people of Santa Barbara deserve an accounting from those responsible of where the $20 million in assets disappeared to in such a short time. –Gary Breitweiser
The previous owner grew up in this house some time ago
until it was turned over to executors for the foundation
who mismanaged it and let the estate go into foreclosure.
The previous owner had to go to auction to buy her own
family heirlooms, photos and paintings last year.
Now in the form of ashes tucked between the front
seats of her diesel VW wagon, she is surrounded by
only a car load of her most personal items, traveling
back to her home in the San Jaun Islands to be with
John was given a short tour about the grounds by
the young lady’s secretary, before getting back on the
road northward to awaiting family and friends.
A memorial will take place in the San Juans in a few months.
PS. If you have breast cancer, see a doctor and take
his advice. Being wealthy will not save you if you do not
use modern medicine for cancer.
Historic Montecito Estate, Val Verde, sells in 12 days
In a clear sign of investor confidence, the majestic “Val Verde” estate in Montecito, listed for $16 million, was scooped up after only 12 days on the market. Built in 1915, this incredible piece of Montecito’s history includes a main residence, two guest houses and over 17 acres of specimen plants and gorgeous landscaping. It is believed that this property, which is being sold subject to bankruptcy court approval, will be subdivided into 8 or more parcels.