It could just be a diabolical, cruel rumor meant to hurt Chicago residents who are proud of the first couple's $1.8 million Hyde Park Georgian Revival mansion and history in the community. Several publications have hinted or stated outright that top Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker has been orchestrating the purchase of an opulent $35 million Honolulu estate for the first couple.
The Obamas purchased their Hyde Park home in 2006 for $1.6 million. The couple has spent little time there since 2008, most recently returning for two-night stay during a Chicago fund-raising tour in August.
The rumored Honolulu estate differs from the couple's Chicago home in more ways than price, architectural design, and weather.
Designed and built by Jeff Kerr of Kerr Michaels Design, the estate is owned by investment partners Steve Connell and Craig Mitchell. The 8-bedroom, 9.5-bath, 3-parcel estate fronts on Kailua Beach, and includes an 8,800 square foot main house, and 1,900 square foot guest house. The property has been on- and off- the market for at least two years.
Anti-Obama sources report that Chicago-area heiress and business leader Penny Pritzker, who headed 2008 fundraising for Obama, has been making phone calls not only arranging the sale of the property and agreeing to put up half of the purchase price, but also seeking purchase funds from other wealthy donors. The New York Times reported in July that Pritzker's involvement in the 2012 Obama campaign is far less than four years ago. Pritzker is supporting the 2012 campaign, but not in an official role. Pritzker is a member of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which last met in January.
In May, Michelle Obama told USA Today, "while I like going back to Chicago — I like to see the lake — this is home now because this is where we've built our lives. And when it's time to leave, we'll build it somewhere else."
Perhaps in Hawaii, starting next January?