Meghan and Harry’s ‘Scarface Palace’ could cost them $4 million to maintain yearly.
The sprawling $14.7 million mansion has a checkered past and will be enormously expensive to keep up
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have reportedly finally snapped up their “forever home” in California, splashing out a neat $14.7 million on their new mansion in Santa Barbara that was once owned by a Russian tycoon.
But the palatial palace in upscale Montecito — a seven-acre property with 9 bedrooms, 19 bathrooms, a swimming pool, tennis court, guest quarters and extensive gardens — has a somewhat checkered history, the Daily Mail reports.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex purchased the pad from a Russian oligarch named Sergey Grishin. The 54-year-old, nicknamed the “Scarface Oligarch”, is reportedly embroiled in a fiery legal battle of claim and counter-claim with his ex-wife Anna Fedoseeva, who he allegedly threatened to chop up.
The Russian tycoon reportedly sold the sprawling property to the Sussexes at a heavily discounted price, having previously asked $34 million just three years ago. He and his ex-wife lived in the lavish abode until the middle of 2017.
Grishin’s ex-wife alleges that he held a gun to her head and knocked out her teeth, as well as waged a campaign of harassment against her business partner, with claims of assault, battery, extortion, domestic violence, invasion of privacy and cyberstalking.
However the Russian multimillionaire alleges that he was “the unfortunate victim of a fraud” perpetrated by his former wife, who “became romantically involved with another woman and thereafter entered into a scheme to defraud him out of millions of dollars to finance her and her lover’s lifestyles.”
It is uncertain how much Meghan and Harry knew about their new home before cutting the deal with Grishin on the Montecito estate, but Forbes reports the royal couple certainly got a lot of bang for their buck, by California standards.
They also happen to be neighbors with one of their biggest supporters, Oprah Winfrey, whose 42-acre, $100 million-plus Promised Land estate reigns as the top celeb property within the very private community.
Forbes speculates that the daytime talk show queen might have been the one to tip Meghan and Harry off about the sale of the Grishin property, which had been languishing on the market for the better part of a decade before becoming their new home.
Yet, while Meghan and Harry’s new home might seem like a steal, The Sun reports that the plush pad is all but guaranteed to rack up eye-watering bills in the millions each year.
The annual running costs of the Santa Barbara estate could be as much as $4 million — that’s factoring in bills for staff, utilities, property taxes, and paying back their mortgage, based on typical Bank of America interest rates.
But their biggest expense, according to the publication, will be security, after the family reportedly hired elite company GDBS to protect them while living in Los Angeles.
The firm, known as the “secret service for famous people,” reportedly costs around $9,000-a-day for full-time protection, meaning it would leave Meghan and Harry with a $3.3 million bill just to feel safe in their new home.
Omid Scobie, the co-author of Harry and Meghan’s new unofficial biography “Finding Freedom”, dismissed reports that Prince Charles had funded the couple’s new home.
“Finding a house in the middle of a pandemic is difficult, but they were able to find a peaceful home in Santa Barbara,” the royal correspondent told Entertainment Tonight. “A home that they have bought with their own money.”
He added: “There’s been a lot of speculation about Prince Charles potentially funding this. But this is really a moment for them to find their independence. They’ve done this on their own.”
As for how Meghan and Harry are paying for their fancy new home? “Both of them are extremely liquid when it comes to their assets,” Scobie explained. “Harry brings a lot to the table himself and Meghan lives off residuals from “Suits” and the many appearances that she’s done in other projects too.”