Former art magazine editor and collector Louise Blouin will still be millions in debt after her Hamptons compound was auctioned for $89 million, but she is not discouraged.
Blouin, 65, and her second husband purchased the sprawling Gin Lane property known as ‘The Dune’ for $13.5 million in 1998, establishing her reputation as a leading player in New York society.
Last week, she appeared as her own attorney in federal bankruptcy court in Central Islip to object to the $89 million sale price reached at a January auction, including $10 million in fees, as too low.
“I haven’t made many mistakes,” Blouin said in his defense in an interview with the New York Timesfor a Wednesday profile chronicling his surprising rise and precipitous fall.
‘You can’t judge someone because they have a problem once in their life. “I’m sure Steve Jobs didn’t have a perfect track record,” she added, comparing herself to the legendary Apple co-founder.
The Hamptons estate ‘La Dune’, which includes two houses sold at auction last month for $89 million, less than owner Louise Blouin owes her creditors.
Louise Blouin is seen with her third husband, Matthew Kabatoff, in 2015.
Although Blouin’s total debt on the property is unclear, the sale price falls short of what he owes creditors between $7 million and $15 million, John Isbell, an attorney for creditor Bay Point Advisors, told The Associated Press. Wall Street Journal.
Isbell said in court that Bay Point would consider suing Blouin as it looks for ways to recover the unpaid balance of debt on the properties.
The Dune, which encompasses two homes on more than four acres, was initially listed for $150 million in 2022 and has been on and off the market for years as Blouin struggled to pay off debt on the property.
Blouin bought famed publishers Modern Painters and Art + Auction in the 2000s, but had a notorious history of not paying journalists and outsourcing his arts media empire to India, according to the New York Post.
In 2016, his name appeared in the Panama Papers, a set of leaked documents that revealed the names of hundreds of the world’s richest people with offshore accounts.
Painter Ross Bleckner, a friend of Blouin’s for two decades, told the Times that his downfall came because he “wanted to be a mover and shaker in the art world.”
Bleckner recalled that Blouin would sometimes invite prominent figures to lunches or dinners in the Hamptons, including financier Stephen A. Schwarzman, diplomat Henry Kissinger and fashion designer Calvin Klein.
He said the invitations were impossible to refuse, because Blouin always provided five available dates to choose from.
“Calvin and I would get hysterical and laugh about it,” he told the Times. ‘How do you get out of five dates? What were we supposed to say, “I’m going away all summer”?
“She was funny, beautiful and a great host,” Bleckner said. “Of course, I never really understood where the money came from.”
Louise Blouin MacBain and Salman Rushdie attend the Mont Blanc de la Couture Prize at the Louise T Blouin Institute on April 16, 2008 in London, England
One of the homes was the subject of foreclosure proceedings due to an unpaid $26 million mortgage that has increased to $40 million in recent years.
The sprawling property was owned by former Canadian art magazine editor Louise Blouin, 65, who purchased the property for $13.5 million in the 1990s.
The lavish property was previously listed in 2016 for $145 million, in 2019 for $110 million, and once again in 2022 for $150 million. Each time, a new owner was never found.
Blouin has a notorious history of not paying journalists while running his art magazine empire.
Bankruptcy filings make clear that while he lived in the center of Manhattan society, his property in the Hamptons was heavily mortgaged.
Blouin placed the entire Hamptons property under bankruptcy protection in 2022 to avoid foreclosure auctions arising from multimillion-dollar mortgages on the complex.
One of the homes on the property was involved in foreclosure proceedings due to an unpaid $26 million mortgage that has increased to $40 million in recent years.
Blouin compared himself to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, famous for his corporate comeback story after being ousted as CEO.
The other home was placed under bankruptcy protection in 2022 to avoid a foreclosure auction stemming from an unpaid $15 million mortgage.
The former publisher, reportedly crying after Wednesday night’s hours-long auction, expressed hope that the judge would reject the sale so she could refinance or sell the property privately.
“I’m totally bummed,” she said, adding that she thought there had been an offer for the property for $100 million.
An undisclosed buyer agreed to pay $40.5 million for the traditional-style mansion built in 1892 and $38.5 million for the second home built in 2002. The total sale price includes about $10 million more in auction fees.
The property had also been listed for $150 million on the open market with co-brokers Harald Grant of Sotheby’s International Realty, Tim Davis of the Corcoran Group and Cody Vichinsky of Bespoke Real Estate.
Blouin also opted to rent out his palatial home for $1 million a month in the summer of 2016, and increased the monthly rent to $1.2 million in 2022.
Property taxes alone are estimated to be around $130,000 annually.
There are two swimming pools, an all-weather sunken tennis court and security gates leading to a wide gravel driveway.
The main residence, built in 1897, is a four-story mansion that features a gym, cinema and sauna.
The second home is designed to resemble the other and also includes polished dark wood floors and largely white interiors with detailed molding, coffered ceilings and French doors.
Elie Wiesel, Louise T. Blouin MacBain, Mort Zuckerman and Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein attend the Louise T Blouin Foundation Opening Dinner and Awards Presentation at the Nomadic Museum on May 2, 2005 in the New York City
Louise Blouin and billionaire Carlos Slim Helu attend the Louise Blouin Foundation Presenting the Fifth Annual Blouin Creative Leadership Summit: Awards Ceremony and Gala at the Metropolitan Club on September 19, 2011 in New York City
The property includes 400 feet of beachfront bulkhead. Between the two homes, La Dune has 22,000 square feet of interior space. The couple includes a total of 19 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms.
In bankruptcy court, Blouin made it clear that he expected the property to sell for more than the $89 million it fetched at auction and tried to oppose the sale going ahead.
According to the Times, Judge Alan S. Trust was unsympathetic when Blouin, representing herself at a Feb. 13 hearing, pressured him to block the sale.
The trust was not impressed when Blouin waved around documents that had not been introduced into evidence and urged her to wait until closing arguments while asking to “say some things” in the middle of the hearing.
Trust ultimately determined that the sale of La Dune had been fair and approved the deal saying, “The market has spoken.”
“There are people who are so rich or think they are so rich that they don’t understand the reality of what it means to do a job,” Ben Davis, former executive editor of ArtInfo, told the Times.
“Louise believed that everything good that happened was because of her, and she thought that everything bad that happened was a plot to trap her.”