Steve Jobs and the Abandoned MansionS

Perhaps there's a reason Apple CEO Steve Jobs keeps a veil of mystery drawn over his private life: He's a spoiled, rich dude with a raging sense of entitlement, as his real-estate ventures reveal.

Tomorrow, Jobs will have to justify himself for once. For eight years, Jobs has been trying to tear down a 30-room mansion in Woodside, Calif., where he lived for a decade before moving to Palo Alto. Local preservationists have successfully fought him off, citing rules that require mitigation of the loss to history. On Tuesday, Woodside's city council will reconsider his request.

Steve Jobs and the Abandoned MansionS

At this point, Jobs's intransigence seems more like stubbornness. He has not lived in the mansion for 15 years, calling it an "abomination" that was "poorly built" — though he once happily gathered his employees at Next Computer, the startup he ran in between his first and second stints at Apple, on the lawn (as seen in the photo, left). Does he actually want to build a new residence in Woodside, after buying a home in Palo Alto and replacing the house next door with a fruit orchard? Or is he simply furious that the residents of Woodside did not simply bend to his will?

There's the wild rumor that Jobs is moving to Memphis, to be close to St. Jude's oncology center. (Jobs was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004, and is currently on a six-month medical leave from Apple for an unspecified health problem.)

Jobs has earned his fortune fully and well. If he wants to squander it on any number of houses, so be it. But the notion of Steve Jobs, real-estate mogul, seems at odds with his minimalist image. He's not known for entertaining, or collecting art, or any of the other habits of the rich that require lavish spaces. (Do we know anything about Jobs, really, besides his work?) The main virtue of the Woodside mansion seems to be its location up in the hills — farther away from the annoying mass of humanity who have filled Jobs's pockets by buying his gadgets.

(Photos by Jonathan Haeber and via Friends of the Jackling House)