It’s been a legally and financially bumpy few years for 1990s fashion model turned apparel designer Kimora Lee Simmons.
In 2018, her German financier husband Tim Leissner, once the high-flying head Goldman Sachs banker in Asia, was accused of helping to divert billions of dollars from the Malaysian State Fund 1MDB and, last year, in order to stave off a stint in prison, pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to pay $43.7 million into a compensation fund for victims.
It wasn’t too long after that the embattled couple made a clandestine off-market deal to sell their lavish 3.8-acre estate in the guard-gated Beverly Park enclave to English heiress Jordana Reuben Yechiel for $15.7 million, a by-every-standard staggering $9.3 million loss on the $25 million they paid for the posh estate in May 2017. This was around the time that Simmons, who was signed to a modeling contract with Chanel at just 13 years old, re-launched the once immensely popular streetwear brand Baby Phat, which, capitalizing on fashion’s ongoing redux of all things 1990s, made a sell-out comeback last year hawking skin-tight mini-dresses, $60 sequin bomber jackets and, for 18 bucks, a three-pack of thong underpants emblazoned with the brand’s sexy-kitty-cat logo in sparkly neon rhinestones.
Some of the wind put into the sails by the successful relaunch of Baby Phat, and its sister company Baby Phat Beauty, was taken back out earlier this year when Simmons’ ex-husband, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who’s had his own mountain of problems to scale due to a dozen claims of sexual misconduct and rape, sued her and Leissner because, he claims, they “fraudulently transferred 4 million shares of energy drink company Celsius to pay for Leissner’s legal fees related to a money laundering case.” Kimora clapped back that the use of the shares as bond collateral for Leissner was “authorized,” that the lawsuit constitutes “extortive harassment,” that her ex-husband has no proof of his fraud allegations, and that the case ought to be dismissed. Oh, what a tangled web.
The Simmons-Leissners are still living in the Beverly Park mansion they sold earlier this year — some kind of lease-back was arranged, and the no-doubt high cost of the lease may have something to do with the depressed sale price — and have no immediate plans to move to the garishly opulent Beverly Hills mansion Simmons has owned since 2008, when she scooped it up for $10.95 million, and now has available for rent at $62,500 per month. (This is not the first time the property has been made available as a rental; in 2019 it was offered at $55,000 per month.)
Set on nearly an acre in the prime lower Coldwater Canyon area, the unabashedly palatial spread is secured behind gates and obscured behind billowing foliage with plenty of room to house a huge family (or maybe even two). With a total of ten bedrooms and 8 bathrooms in about 13,000 square feet, according to listings held by Douglas Elliman’s Juliette Hohnen, the eight-bedroom main house has six principal bedrooms on the second floor, which includes the master suite, plus two guest or staff rooms on the main floor. A detached poolside guesthouse contains another two bedrooms and a bathroom, along with a full kitchen and a huge rooftop entertainment terrace.
Designed in a manner clearly intended to smack visitors across the face with a conspicuous wealth that would surely impress Marie Antoinette, the house screams and shouts with lavish embellishments. Large enough to host a small cotillion, the cavernous double-height foyer sports a florid wrought-iron staircase, while formal living and dining rooms both showcase intricate moldings. There’s also a mahogany-paneled library, a glass-roofed conservatory, and a massive family room that flows out to the pool. The eat-in kitchen is decked out with gilt-trimmed carved wood cabinetry, and the sunny breakfast room is hung with glitzy champagne-colored silk curtains festooned with hundreds of tiny tassels. A wine cellar and a mirrored gym tucked down in the basement complete the interiors.
There’s a gated driveway at the front, while the backyard incorporates a swimming pool and spa encircled by a glass safety fence, an open-air poolside cabana, and, where there was once a sunken tennis court, a verdant, if less than fastidiously maintained formal garden with a multi-tier fountain at its center.
Simmons and Leissner, who despite their legal troubles and the costs associated with them still seem to have plenty of money to throw around and fritter away — she was dripping in diamonds at Paris Hilton’s recent wedding, which she attended with Kim Kardashian, briefly owned a deluxe apartment in New York City that was purchased in 2014 for $19 million and sold at a loss in 2017, for $18.25 million, to Stacey Bash-Polley, another former top exec at Goldman Sachs, albeit one who left the investment bank on her own accord and in good standing.
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