Gold-painted faucets and a pizza oven in the corner

At any rate, whatever the shady or ludicrous reasons for that Palm Beach real estate deal, at least we know the house itself was vulgar as fuck.

The story begins in March 2001, when health care tycoon Abraham Gosman, who had moved from Massachusetts to Palm Beach a few years earlier and reinvented himself as a philanthropist, declared bankruptcy. That financial catastrophe would eventually result in tax fraud convictions for Gosman and his wife.

One of the casualties of the bankruptcy was the 62,000-square-foot mansion Gosman had built and dubbed Maison de l’Amitie, the House of Friendship. A showcase for his charity events just a mile north of the vaunted Breakers hotel, it included a ballroom with a capacity of hundreds, an art gallery, underground parking for scores of cars and a 100-foot swimming pool. It was nested among a slew of outbuildings, including a barn, guest houses and a tennis cottage.

A what? What the fuck is a tennis cottage? What, people go live there when they feel like playing tennis? They play tennis inside the cottage? They need a whole cottage to change into their tennis outfits? The kid who picks up the balls lives there?

The Gosmans managed to hold on to it for a couple of years, but by 2004 it had been seized by the bankruptcy court and put on the auction block. There were several bidders, hoping to scoop up a plutocratic property at a dollar-store price, but Trump — a real estate mogul still more than a decade distant from political ambitions — pounced, grabbing the house for $41.35 million.

“He bought it strictly as an investment to flip,” said Carol Digges, the Palm Beach realestate agent who would eventually resell the house for Trump. “He never intended to live there.”

And he didn’t. After doing some renovation on the house, Trump put it back on the market in 2006 at price that made even jaded Palm Beach eyeballs pop: $125 million. Jose Lambiet, the publisher and columnist of local news source Gossip Extra, was one of a few reporters Trump invited to tour the house in an attempt to drum up buyers. He was even more astonished by the price after he looked around.

“I’d been in the house before, at one of Gosman’s charity parties, and Trump had hardly changed anything, just put on a couple of coats of paint,” Lambiet said. “Even that — well, he told us the fixtures in one of the bathrooms were gold, but as he walked away, I scratched a faucet with my fingernails and it was just gold-covered paint.”

Isn’t that just SO TRUMP? Thinking people want gold faucets in the first place? Then saying they’re gold when they’re just painted goldy color? Not to mention charging $53 million and change for a couple of coats of paint and fake-gold faucets?

Lambiet has visited many homes of wealthy owners with more money than taste, but he considered the Maison de l’Amitie in a class by itself. “It was just terrible looking, really gaudy,” he said. “Nothing fit together  — it was sort of haphazard inside.

“There was a room with a floor made of cobblestones, and in the corner was a real wood oven for pizzas. It looked like an old Italian pizza place. Who does that in their house? … I thought, he’s never gonna sell this. And he didn’t, the house stayed on the market for a couple of years.”

I just hope there’s a built-in espresso machine in the tennis cottage, that’s all I can say.

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