Husband of `Real Housewife' defends mansion party
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- One-half of a local reality show couple is defending his gangster-themed party at a landmark mansion he wants to tear down despite protests by preservationists.
Preservationists called the party thrown last week at the Star Island mansion was a slap in the face to their cause. They protested, how could a high profile couple claim their mansion structurally unsafe then throw a party like this...
It was the ultimate gangster-style theme party. There was an antique car as a photo backdrop and men were dressed in vintage suits holding fake semi-automatics to add to the atmosphere.
The setting was surreal. The party was held at the $9.1 million mansion at 42 Star Island Drive in Miami Beach.
The host were the homeowners plastic surgeon Dr. Leonard Hochstein and his wife reality show TV star Lisa Hochstein of "The Real Housewives of Miami."
The party held last week has angered some and not because they never got an invite. "It seems like somebody is basically giving the finger to the preservationists in the community of Miami Beach," said Attorney Kent Harrison Robbins.
Speaking over the phone, Dr. Hochstein said, "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."
Robbins is an attorney working with the Design Preservation League in the City of Miami Beach. He is fighting to make sure the celebrity couple does not bulldoze their mansion.
The Hochsteins said their mega home is structurally unfit, so they plan to tear it down and rebuild. But the Preservation League said the mansion seems safe based on the party pictures. The home was built in 1920 and preservationists have shuddered at the sight of fake blood splattered on walls as well as the couple's desire to tear it all down. "It was amazing," said Robbins, "because we thought that they claimed it was uninhabitable and dangerous and an unsafe structure."
"Their comment is as silly as about the rest of their argument," counters Hochstein. "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 said, "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."
Hochstein protests, "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."
Robbins has filed more paperwork to stop the demolition. He is also fighting for the mansion to be designated as historic. "The identity of Miami Beach is defined by its historic resources. When anybody thinks about Miami Beach, they think of the art deco buildings and the great historic homes of Miami Beach," said Robbins.
"I don't think anybody really thinks this home was anything of any great significance. The reason they're doing this is because who I am, primarily who my wife is and free publicity for their own cause."
The preservation league plans on continuing with their plan to designate this building as historic. But, the power couple said, they own the land and have the right to do with it whatever they want.
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