Not since Bernie Madoff’s crash-and-burn has a national scandal affected Los Angeles’ local housing inventory like the current University coaching scandal. Back when Bernie took several rich L.A. clients’ fortunes down with him–including Mozza chef/owner Nancy Silverton’s, who was forced to sell her Hancock Park home fast and low–several luxury-level homes came on the market at suspiciously-low asking prices. “Why is this house such a deal?” asked one of my buyers in early 2009 about a Hollywood Hills charmer. The listing agent whispered, “Madoff,” which soon became an acceptable code word for an unfortunate distress sale.
Earlier this month, Jovan Vavic, the former USC men’s and women’s water polo coach who was fired in March amid fallout from the elaborate college admissions scandal, put his home in Ranchos Palos Verdes on the market for $2.499 million. Vavic, who led the Trojans’ water polo teams to a combined 16 national championships, was fired after being accused by prosecutors of receiving bribes totaling more than $250,000 to help parents take advantage of relaxed admissions standards for athletes at USC–even though their kids were not legitimate student athletes.
Built in 2008, Vavic’s Mediterranean-style house sits on a ridge with sweeping views of the ocean and Catalina Islands. Extensively remodeled, the 4BR/3.5BA house has about 3,200 sq.ft. of living space, and four fireplaces.
Also this month, Donna Heinel, the former USC senior associate athletic director who was also fired in March after being indicted in connection with the ongoing scandal, has listed her home in Long Beach for sale at $1.998 million. Like her colleague, Heinel was canned after being accused by prosecutors of receiving bribes totaling more than $1.3 million.
Heinel’s soon-to-be-former home sits in the LBC’s Naples Island neighborhood. It’s a 3-story Mediterranean which has been extensively updated and features distressed hardwood floors, contemporary fixtures, and a decorative gas fireplace.
Replacing “Madoff,” will the new real estate distress buzzword become Felicity “Huffman” (who plead guilty) or Lori “Loughlin” (who continues to fight accusations)?