A year after Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to defrauding investors out of billions of dollars, toy magnate Al Kahn and his then-wife, Patsy Kahn, bagged his Upper East Side penthouse at a discount. Because the apartment was tarnished with Madoff’s name (and a federal agent who was present through the viewing because the property had been seized by the government), the Kahns ended up paying $8 million for the three-bedroom duplex in 2010, $2 million below asking. And then nearly burned it down — reportedly.
Tucked away in an Air Mail piece from February about the “canceled man discount” in real estate — properties that carry the stink of a former owner and are priced accordingly — is Al’s claim that Patsy nearly ignited the penthouse during a smudging ceremony. “The apartment caught on fire. It was crazy. She started to burn the place down,” he told Air Mail. The fire department had to come and extinguish it. When Patsy eventually sold the place in 2014, many publications pointed out that there had been a “mysterious fire” in the penthouse right before she moved in. Curbed even mentioned the “mysterious fire” and suggested a “cleansing spell.” Maybe the cleansing was the problem.