Jeweler’s house sells for $10.4 M

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY - By DAR­RELL HOFHEINZ

Former Worth Av­enue jewelry store owner Christo­pher Kaufmann’s land­marked house at 434 Sea­spray Ave. has changed hands for about $10.41 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to price data recorded with two deeds Mon­day.

The Mid­town house, built around 1924, has been the sub­ject of fore­clo­sure pro­ceed­ings with three mort­gage lenders. The con­sol­i­dated fore­clo­sure case was still open in the Palm Beach County Cir­cuit Court, ac­cord­ing to a search late Fri­day of the county clerk’s web­site.

Kaufmann also has been the tar­get of mul­ti­ple civil law­suits re­lated to his since-closed jewelry store over the past few years.

Brian J. Kelly, prin­ci­pal of Eastern Real Es­tate in Woburn, Mass., con­firmed to the Daily News that he bought the Mediter­ranean-style house to use as a fam­ily home. Kelly has ties to New York, Bos­ton and Santa Bar­bara, Calif. He de­clined to com­ment on specifics about the trans­ac­tion.

His pri­vate com­pany led the part­ner­ship with New Eng­land De­vel­op­ment and Lu­pert-Adler to de­velop the Palm Beach Out­lets mall on Palm Beach Lakes Boule­vard in West Palm Beach. The mall opened in Fe­bru­ary 2014 and was sold in 2015 for $278 mil­lion.

The three-bed­room house and sep­a­rate guest­houses have 7,469 square feet of liv­ing space, in­side and out. In the lake block, the prop­erty mea­sures more than a half-acre. The prop­erty stretches be­tween Seav­iew and Sea­spray av­enues, a cou­ple of blocks north of Royal Palm Way.

Kaufmann and his es­tranged wife, Andrea Kaufmann, sold their prop­erty to Kelly’s own­er­ship en­tity, Sea­spray Owner LLC. Deeds show that the Florida lim­ited li­a­bil­ity com­pany bought mul­ti­ple lots that com­prise the prop­erty in two sales recorded si­mul­ta­ne­ously by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s of­fice. One of the deals to­taled $8.926 mil­lion and the other, $1.482 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the prices at­tached to the deeds. The deeds list the com­pany’s ad­dress as in care of Eastern Real Es­tate.

Pa­tri­cia Ma­haney of Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty represented Kelly in the sales.

Agent Kevin Leonard of Keyes Co./Il­lus­trated Prop­er­ties was the last agent to have the house listed in the Palm Beach Board of Re­al­tors Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice. Leonard, who at the time was the bro­ker at Valore Group, last had the house priced at just un­der $10 mil­lion in a co-list­ing with Gary Feld­man.

Ma­haney and Leonard de­clined to com­ment. The Kauf­manns couldn’t be reached.

The Kauf­manns paid a recorded $2 mil­lion for the prop­erty in 2000, court­house records show.

The town granted the house land­mark pro­tec­tion in De­cem­ber. Be­fore the des­ig­na­tion was granted, Christo­pher Kaufmann used the word “won­der­ful” to de­scribe ef­forts to make his home a land­mark.

“We’ve been liv­ing in the house for 18 years. Not a day went by that we didn’t re­al­ize we were liv­ing in a true par­adise of a prop­erty,” he said at the time.

Last June, a court or­der allowed thou­sands of pos­ses­sions to be seized from the house as pay­ment to cred­i­tors to whom Christo­pher Kaufmann owed more than $5 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to court­house records. The in­ven­tory list in­cluded a 2001 Porsche, fur­ni­ture, elec­tron­ics, art­work and other items.

The house had been en­cum­bered with a num­ber of liens. In April 2016, the Kauf­manns lost a fore­clo­sure case in which a cir­cuit-court judge awarded Valley Na­tional Bank nearly $5.6 mil­lion for de­fault loan pay­ments, in­ter­est, late charges and at­tor­ney’s fees. In Jan­uary, the court is­sued a re­lated $1.46 mil­lion judg­ment to an­other lender, Branch Bank­ing & Trust Co. Em­i­grant Res­i­den­tial also filed ac­tion to fore­close a mort­gage in 2014 and that case was con­sol­i­dated into the Valley Na­tional Bank fore­clo­sure ac­tion filed in 2015.

Court-or­dered me­di­a­tion in Jan­uary among the par­ties failed to achieve a set­tle­ment. A fi­nal court or­der to sell the house, how­ever, was never is­sued, court­house records show.

Christo­pher Kaufmann for years owned Christo­pher Kaufmann Le Salon on Worth Av­enue. He and his com­pa­nies have been sued more than a dozen times since Oc­to­ber 2013 by clients al­leg­ing he didn’t pay them or didn’t pay them the right amount for their con­signed jewelry.

In Septem­ber, Florida At­tor­ney Gen­eral Pam Bondi filed a com­plaint against Christo­pher Kaufmann, ask­ing a judge to “for­ever” pre­vent him from con­sign­ing jewelry in the state.

Photo cour­tesy Town of Palm Beach

Former jewelry store owner Christo­pher Kaufmann’s land­marked 1924 house at 434 Sea­spray Ave. was the sub­ject of fore­clo­sure pro­ceed­ings with three mort­gage lenders.

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