The Couple Throws A Gangsta Bash at Their Yet to Be Demolished Mansion.
The saga of 42 Star Island and the Hochstein’s took a salacious turn last week, when Lisa and Leonard Hoschstein, he a plastic surgeon known as “The Boob God,” and she a cast member of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Miami, threw a party.
Not just any party, a gangster-themed costume bash complete with blood on the walls, a vintage car, old-time machine guns, a crime scene body outline in white paint, the rest of the Real Housewives and of course Bravo TV cameras.
Pictures of the party found their way to Facebook and inevitably to the preservationists who are hoping to preserve the mansion from the wrecking ball. Said preservationists were more than slightly miffed and took to the media to voice their disgust with the showy couple and their antics.
“It seems like somebody is basically giving the finger to the preservationists in the community of Miami Beach,” the attorney for MDPL, Kent Harrison Robbins, who is fighting to make sure the celebrity couple does not bulldoze their mansion., said in a statement to WSVN, “judging by party photos, the mansion looks just fine. It was amazing, because we thought that they claimed it was uninhabitable and dangerous and an unsafe structure.”
Lisa Hochstein took to Twitter in response: “Yes, if you took the party as a message and the middle finger, you are right! Have a nice day :)” she tweeted. “What the Miami preservationists think about what I do with my home is #10000000000000000 on my list of things I care about.”
Before the latest round of Tweet snipes, the saga of 42 Star Island started when The Hochstein’s bought under foreclosure for $7.6 million a faded Walter Degarmo-designed, mansion on Star Island. The couple thought they had found their dream house, so they promptly hired local architect Kobi Karp to turn the faded mediterranean revival manse into the house of their dreams, complete with ionic columns, parapets, balustrades and garland moldings. Once plans were submitted to the Miami Beach Design Review Board for approval they caught the attention of a member of the MDPL who filed a request to designate the house as historic to help protect it from demolition.
What followed was a tug of war between preservationists and the Hochstein’s that played out over three months and had both sides sniping at each other over issues. Lawyers battled, paperwork was misplaced and unfilled, city employees took sides, petitions were created, experts weighed in and the local media took private tours. But, ultimately the Hochstein’s came out on top when the Miami Design Review Board granted them the right to bulldoze the 1928 mansion. Moving very quickly, the Miami Design Preservation League filed a petition to stop the demolition and designate the house as historic.
Then, to add to the drama Leonard Hochstein filed a lawsuit against the city that claims that the city illegally gave the Miami Design Preservation League the right and the power to ask for historic designation on their home. Hochstein also claims that because of this pending designation he is unable to get his permits approved and that his constitutional rights are being violated. The city feels that the case is without merit and will be dismissed.
Currently, both the Hochstein’s and the Miami Design Preservation League are in a holding pattern while City staffers are compiling their report to determine the historic value of the home.
And so, we end up back at the gangsta-bash on Star Island. Tweets were flying from all corners including some of the guests who maintained that the party was at a “Star Island tear-down house.”
Leonard Hochstein told the Miami Herald that he did consider the home as a tear-down house, but that this party was not a tear-down party. He further stated that when the house is torn down, he certainly would have a party.
“With this party having occurred inside the potentially historically designated home, there is no credibility to the owner’s claim that the building is an unsafe structure that cannot be inhabited,” Harrison Robbins said.
Hochstein retorted that the party was held outside with the second floor blocked off from partygoers. He added that the balconies were the only parts of the house in immediate danger of falling. “There’s no functional plumbing to the second floor, and during our event, the second floor was partitioned off. Nobody was allowed up. The part that’s structurally unsound and dangerous are the balconies, but again because nobody’s allowed on the second floor, again no issues.”
“This Kent Robbins, who I have very little to no respect for, he can say all sorts of stupid things, but the fact of the matter is none of them make sense. Their comment is as silly as about the rest of their argument. Their lawyer is about as confused as any lawyer I have ever seen. I mean, it’s amazing to me that this guy has any kind of work at all.”
Robbins fired back. “Numerous architects had inspected the home, including reputable architects, like Ira Giller, who sits on the preservation board, has stated, this looks like a safe building. Even the planning director said that.”
Historic Preservation Director William Cary wrote in an email to the Herald that he was unconcerned.
“Unless major damage is being done to the interior or exterior which could compromise the integrity of the residence this should not be a problem,” He said. “If the Hochsteins continue to use the house in this way maybe they will fall in love with it. Stranger things have happened!”
MDPL Chairman Charles Urstadt summed up this latest Hochstein Twitter encounter: “Keeping it classy.”