It was the 26 toilets that triggered alarm among residents of Greenwich, Connecticut. "Who needs that many toilets?'' asked Charles Lee, who lives across the street from where Russian millionaire Valery Kogan proposes building a 54,000-square-foot (5,000-square- meter) mansion with that much plumbing.
Kogan, chairman of East Line Group, which operates Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, plans to raze the 20,000- square-foot home on the site, which he bought in 2005. Kogan and his wife, Olga, seek to erect a house with two wings and extensive subterranean space, including room to park 12 cars.
``It looks like they want to duplicate the Winter Palace here in Greenwich,'' said Leslie McElwreath, 45, who lives one street over. ``It'll be an eyesore.''
McElwreath, Lee and other opponents are urging the Greenwich Zoning and Planning Commission to deny a permit when it votes this evening on what would be the largest single-family home built since the town began reviewing plans in 2001. A hundred and seventy-five people signed a petition against the project.
Greenwich, 27 miles (43 kilometers) north of New York, is the hedge-fund capital of the U.S. More than 60 funds occupy 80 percent of its commercial property, according to real-estate broker CB Richard Ellis. The Greenwich Association of Realtors puts the average price of a home in the town of 65,000 at $2.8 million.
Here in Los Angeles, the Executive Director of the city's Los Angeles World Airports department, which manages both the vast LAX and the lesser Ontario airports, makes $305,000 annually. I don't think she can afford to build a 54,000 square foot house in a foreign country. And yet, LA's airports somehow continue to operate without the boss being paid enough to build a palace. If only we had privatized LAX, then the owner of the company that would run LAX could be building colossal homes around the world to flee to when angry Angelenos finally come after him with pitchforks and torches.