Dotcom moves on from mansion

Kim Dotcom
Kim Dotcom
Embattled internet mogul Kim Dotcom is quitting his landmark Coatesville mansion.

In the latest chapter of the property's short but chequered history, the controversial Megaupload founder has shelved plans to buy the expansive 60ha rural block on Auckland's northern fringes and is preparing to move into a waterfront penthouse apartment on fashionable Princes Wharf.

The house was the country's most expensive when it was built for an estimated $30 million in 2006 by Chrisco hamper empire founders Richard and Ruth Bradley.

It has six bedrooms, a tennis court and swimming pool.

The Bradleys, who have since separated, moved to Sydney in 2008 and the property was empty for two years until Dotcom moved in, paying $1m a year in rent.

Under the terms of the lease, he has to move out as he can't afford to buy the property. He is preparing to downsize to a four-bedroom apartment in central Auckland.

"I told my oldest I am going to move and she cried and asked why."

Dotcom said he was doing all he could to ensure his children's lives were disrupted as little as possible.

They would attend the same school and pre-school and their nannies would still help care for them. His estranged wife Mona would remain living in Coatesville, next to the mansion.

The tech entrepreneur is embroiled in an extradition hearing in the Auckland District Court, fighting being sent to the United States to face copyright violation, money-laundering and racketeering charges.

He said although he was unable to buy the mansion and surrounding properties before a February deadline in his lease agreement, there was provision in the original $30m lease-to-buy deal to nominate a buyer.

"A number of people have looked at this place and want to take over my option and utilise that to make a profit."

However Dotcom said he was determined to one day buy the sprawling 2300sq m mansion for the sake of his five children. "This is where my kids have spent the past five years. Just because I'm forced to leave now does not mean I will not try to get it back for them."

Even the "dark stain" of the 2012 police raid had not deterred the tycoon from wanting to stay in one of the country's grandest homes.

Losing the home had been a bitter pill, he said. "I fought hard to be able to retain this for my family," he said.

"When I couldn't do it with the court funds that were made available I started a new business and I built that primarily to be able to pay my legal fees and be able to keep this home for my family.

"After almost four years to have to lose that battle now and leave my home, makes me sad."

He said he would shift to his new waterfront home later this month.

"It's significantly more humble than what I am used to but that's okay. I am also not living with a partner any more, we have reduced our staff numbers significantly and this place feels a little bit big now."

Bradley did not respond to requests for an interview.

- by Lynley Bilby, Herald on Sunday 

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