Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has an interest-free $5.3 million mortgage on his four-story greek revival townhouse in Greenwich Village, courtesy of his sweetheart deal with Condé Nast. What's he pay? Oh, $2,083 a month.
Last week we looked into nearly bankrupt photographer Annie Leibovitz's sweetheart loans from Condé Nast, which — assuming the McKinsey consultants stalking 4 Times Square haven't put an end to the practice — has a habit of financing the homes of its executives and celebrity staffers.
It looked like the company might have called in the debt as a way to shore up it's ever-weakening balance sheet, so we kept browsing through New York's property records to see if any other magazine all-stars were in a similar position. We haven't come across evidence of other loans being taken off Condé Nast's books, but we did find the $5.3 million mortgage agreement Carter made in 2006 when he bought his home on Bank Street.
Carter's deal has been reported before by the New York Observer, which did a round-up of Condé Nast's sweetheart deals in 2006. What hasn't been reported are the insane terms: There's no interest on the loan, and Carter is required to repay the principal at a rate of $25,000 per year, payable in one lump sum each January 1:
At that rate—which works out to $2,083.33 per month—Carter would repay the loan in 212 years. (He would also need to set a longevity record: the full balance is due if he dies or within a year of when he stops working for Condé Nast.)
Carter, who made $1.5 million a year in 2004 according to the Observer, recently wrote of the subprime mortgage crisis: "I've read everything on the subprime-mortgage and banking crises I can get my hands on, and I still don't understand much of it." Which is understandable, if you're not accustomed to such onerous industry practices as interest rates and 30-year terms.
The loan to Carter came courtesy Advance Magazine Publishers, which is Condé Nast's parent company and has made similar deals for dozens of other Condé Nast employees, from the New Yorker's David Remnick to Portfolio's Joanne Lipman. But according to a public records search, a different lender financed a $150,000 line of credit on Carter's second home in Connecticut: Magazine Special Projects LLC, which also happens to serve as the secured party for a co-op owned by Peter Weinberger, the president of Advance Internet, and is located at Condé Nast's 4 Times Square headquarters. The loans to Leibovitz were likewise granted with a bit of corporate legerdemain—they came from Rhinebeck Properties, LLC, which is also headquartered at 4 Times Square. It seems that S.I. Newhouse doesn't like people sniffing around his lending portfolio, and has a host of LLCs to hide the deals. If you know the names of any other Condé Nast corporate shells that the company uses to dole out its sweetheart loans, let us know.