Lots of guys want to live like Hugh Hefner, donning a maroon silk bathrobe and puttering around the 22-room Playboy Mansion with a scantily clad Bunny draped on their arm and a Cuban cigar wedged between their fingers.
And they can. The Los Angeles mansion is reportedly on the market for a cool $200 million – with a catch: Hef gets to continue living there.
But Clout has found you a better deal. Right here in Philly.
Richard Cohen, a/k/a Philadelphia's King of Porn, is selling his ridiculously lavish Society Hill mansion for just $7 million.
Cohen, 58, the son of a motel owner, who grew up in Northeast Philly, is the CEO of a multimillion-dollar sex empire. He runs Hotmovies.com, one of the world's largest distributors of Internet pornography, from an office building on 7th Street near Chestnut, a block from the Liberty Bell.
So far, so good, right?
The 5,859-square-foot House That Porn Built spans three lots on Delancey Street near 4th, and includes five bedrooms, five full baths, three half baths, an elevator with stops at five levels, heated floors, a rooftop pool and hot tub, a movie theater with custom seating and lighting, and an automated garage with a lift and underground parking for up to six cars. It has two in-law suites – just the ticket for keeping busybody relatives at bay.
"I have an incredible amount of activity on the property," Wiener said. "I knew the Philly market was strong and getting stronger, but I didn't realize that there was this many buyers at this price level . . . I have public figures that are looking at it, sports personalities and business CEOs. Most of these potential owners are cash buyers."
Wiener said that he can't name names, but that buyers are salivating over the home's one-of-a-kind features.
"The garage is just incredible. You pull your car in onto a lift and it drops down. I call it the 'Batcave' under the house," he said. "Down in the Batcave, there is a mahogany office, which is a quiet place if one wanted to sit and do work."
Back in 2011, after an FBI-led raid on Cohen's corporate offices, Daily News reporters Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman did a story on Cohen and his business. The scion of sex proved elusive, dodging phone calls and stakeouts and avoiding Ruderman and Laker – aided, no doubt, by his Batcave garage. They never even saw Cohen in the flesh.
A snippet from that story:
"Cohen has created a corporate maze that masks how he makes his millions. He and his executive staff used pseudonyms like 'Rick London,' 'James Cybert,' 'R.S. Duffy' and 'Jennifer Luna' as their contact information and to register Internet-domain names. At least one of Cohen's business ventures lists a Massachusetts mailing address that doesn't exist. After the Daily News emailed . . . women who advertised on Escorts.com, the newspaper's access to the site was blocked."
That's impressive, Dick.
Anyway, Cohen, who attended Society Hill Civic Association meetings in the early to mid-2000s and had once hoped to get elected to its board, was never charged with a crime. But in 2012, two companies linked to him pleaded guilty to money laundering and agreed to forfeit $4.9 million in proceeds from Escorts.com, a defunct online red-light district used by prostitutes and johns. The companies also agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine.
Not surprisingly, Cohen directed Clout's call to his lawyer, Andrew Miller, who declined to comment on Thursday. We just wanted to know why he was selling his house.
Wiener, the realtor, said he was not at liberty to say, although he mentioned that Cohen owns several homes and that the Delancey Street address was lightly used.
Our take: We recommend Cohen's mansion for $7 million over Hefner's Playboy Mansion for $200 million. It's cheaper, right around the corner, and, most importantly, Cohen is not seeking to continue living there like Hef.
Which should come as a relief to buyers. Because although we've never met Cohen – he's made damn sure of that – the photos we've seen make him look like a rejected extra from the 1993 cult classic "Dazed and Confused." You don't want to stumble into the bathroom in the middle of the night, flick on the switch, and find the Porn King on the toilet.
This is what political professionals call "bad optics."
Clout tipsters informed us Thursday evening that District Attorney Seth Williams had just turned up at a fundraiser at the Waterworks for state Sen. Larry Farnese, who happens to be under federal indictment for allegedly using a $6,000 bribe to sway a 2011 election for Democratic ward leader in Center City.
We hear Farnese even gave Williams a shout-out in his remarks. That was nice.
Out-of-town readers: We know what you're asking yourselves right now. Something like, "Isn't it unusual for a city's top prosecutor to be attending an indicted politician's fund-raiser?"
Answer: No, this is Philadelphia. Stop asking stupid questions.
Sources in August said that a joint FBI-IRS-federal grand jury had subpoenaed Williams' PAC records, investigating whether he had used campaign funds for personal use.
We're sure the feds are going to love reading that these guys have been hanging out.
We are fully aware that many of you are bummed about the Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump presidential election. Neither one sends a thrill up our leg, either.
One is beholden to hedge fund billionaires, is under investigation by the FBI, and is about as transparent as wax paper. The other is suffering from a rare narcissistic/split-personality disorder that causes him to brag about himself while pretending to be men named John Miller and John Barron (then repeatedly lie about it, of course).
We're here to tell you that you have an option. And that option has been vetted by not one but three psychic mediums. And an astrologer. We're talking about Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who secured the party's nomination last weekend.
"There's a lot more to Gary Johnson than people know about him," said Ryan McCormick, executive producer of the Outer Limits of Inner Truth radio show, who interviewed the former New Mexico governor in March.
McCormick, who describes his show as a "metaphysical/biographical program," said his team of psychic mediums conducted a "forensic soul analysis" on Johnson, a pro-marijuana fitness buff who wants less government and more personal freedoms. They listened to the interview separately, delved into Johnson's past lives, and came away impressed.
"He has a very strong energy resonance, similar to Ronald Reagan and Thomas Jefferson," McCormick said Wednesday. "All of them said that when they analyzed his energy . . . he comes from very pure intentions.
McCormick said Johnson was one of the show's highest-profile guests and was surprisingly open about his life.
"We never had anyone of his stature be interested in it," McCormick said of the forensic soul analysis. "He had nothing to hide."
As opposed to, say, Clinton, who circumvented public-records rules as secretary of state by using a private email server. Or Trump, who won't even release his tax returns.
McCormick said he's not endorsing Johnson, who pulled about 1.2 million votes in the 2012 presidential election. And neither is Clout.
But, then again, Johnson's forensic soul analysis is clean. That's got to count for something, right?
Has anyone analyzed Clinton's or Trump's souls?
Is there even anything left to analyze?
- Staff writers Chris Brennan,
Mensah M. Dean, Wendy Ruderman, and William Bender contributed to this column.