You may have heard the name Jonathan Leitersdorf in connection with his real estate dealings around town. The Israeli-born investor spent five years trying to sell off Sky Studios, the 11,000-square-foot triplex loft at 704 Broadway with a rooftop pool. The backdrop for several episodes of Sex and the City and the space where Chelsea Clinton had a big birthday party and Jerry Seinfeld married Jessica, the loft was only unloaded in late 2007, when Leitersdorf sold it to supermarket mogul Ron Burkle for $17.5 million. (He first listed the place in 2002 for $27 million.) Unfortunately, his investments at sea haven't been any luckier. His 178-foot yacht was just hijacked by pirates off the coast of Corsica!
According to The Sun the lavish yacht, named the Tiara, was taken over by a band of pirates carrying "rifles and guns" off the coast of southern Corsica. (Leitersdorf was not on the boat at the time.) The men approached the ship by speedboat and made off with $200,000 in cash, jewelry, and art work, which may be worth millions considering Leitersdorf once said he had a Chagall hanging in the master bedroom.
Leitersdorf spent $30 million to build the Tiara in New Zealand, a process that took 3 1/2 years to complete, but which reportedly resulted in the largest sailboat capable of passing through the Panama Canal. In addition to five luxe cabins, space for the 10-person crew, and the art collection, Leitersdorf also equipped the boat with a rare collection of books by Kipling, Dickens, and Goethe. And he also covered the ship's lacquer tables in crocodile skin, which is great because there's really no more appropriate way to read Dickens than with your feet propped up on a $20,000 foot stool.
For several years, though, Leitersdorf has been trying to sell the ship. He briefly even had his New York real estate broker, Wendy Maitland, market the vessel. In the interim—just like with his former loft—he's been making money renting it out, and his customers have reportedly included the likes of Giorgio Armani, Diddy and Jack Nicholson.
"I wanted a boat that I could travel around the world with, that I could live on and not feel claustrophobic." Perhaps it's time for a private island or sovereign nation?