Above, an artist's rendering of Valery and Olga Kogan's would-be Greenwich manse. Dealbreaker readers know the place for its role in ToiletGate, wherein a Fairfield County transplant attempted, almost exactly a year ago, to out-toilet the Toilet King of Greenwich (Kogan wanted to equip his home with 26 commodes, which would have beaten the pants off of a certain someone's 23, and broken Section 182, clause 17 of the Greenwich town code, which clearly states that "no home shall exceed the number of waste-removal stations as are found at Casa Cohen"). Koges, a Russian billionaire, was unsuccessful, having clearly underestimated our guy's influence with the plumbing community and the collective WASPian outrage of his neighbors at the idea of having to stare at the 39,000-square-foot monstrosity. The Russkies appeared before the town's Planning and Zoning Commission in January practically begging to be allowed to build an essentially neutered home at 18 Simmons Lane outfitted with a mere 15 toilets, and from there, fears that our majesty would be dethroned having been put to bed, we stopped caring and lost sight the story. But today brings news that we cannot ignore.
According to New York, despite having seemingly won the support of those who can make or break this thing ("At a March 2009 hearing...a proposal that [once] seemed to incense anyone familiar with it, suddenly become acceptable...'All in favor, say aye,' chairman Donald Heller finally said. He heard four ayes, and added his. The only new condition the members mustered the nerve to ask of the Kogans was to keep the lights over the tennis court dimmed at night."), against the wishes of neighbors who generally stay contained within their personal Cheeveresque hells but make exception to emerge and utter stuff like T. H. Walworth III (who noted, "It's not a residence. It's an industrial project. It's a country club. It's enormous"), this thing might not happen.
One of the strangest things the Kogans did with their purchase was leverage the living daylights out of it. In August 2005, they took a $10 million loan from Eastern Savings Bank against the house. Less than year after that, they used the same property as collateral in a $15 million loan from the same bank to Kogan's Kvoda Group. The house cost $18.5 million in 2005; its price, considering it has been stripped, has at best stayed level or, much more likely, hovers around $10 million to $11 million. It's hard to say whether Valery Kogan's oft-changing fortunes are at fault, but the would-be oligarch pleasure pad is currently leveraged two to one. Both loans mature on June 1. Much like the bubble itself, the would-be bane of Simmons Lane is now a castle in the sky, in hock to a hope for a brighter tomorrow.
This my pets, is a shame that we cannot stand for. When a (maybe) corrupt Russian billionaire can't erect the house that vodka built, which includes (I'll just run down the line):
* "a grand hall served by a bifurcated, lyre-shape, Titanic-style staircase and topped by a three-story-high glass dome" which, in inclement weather, would be covered by a mechanized retractable shield
* a Turkish bath
* a Finnish bath
* indoor and outdoor pools (the latter being equipped with underwater lights would be controlled by remotes set up in multiple locations, and change hue with the turn of an "infinite spectrum color wheel for party functions")
* hydrotherapy spa (which most of you do not need to be told is a Greenwich way of saying "place where colon cleanses are performed")
* a twelve-car garage
* a pergola
* "a carved-stone fountain the center of a "Renaissance-inspired" circular courtyard"
* "a separate stone patio fashioned in the shape and colors of a Les Paul guitar"
...all is truly lost. And when it can get done, it gives aspirational hope to children and down on their luck hedge fund managers everywhere that there is still a point left to this thing. For the greater good (and the sake of shady Russian oligarch consumer confidence), let's scrape our funds together and help the Kogester out.