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Tyco Puts Kozlowski's $16.8M NYC Digs On Market

Sep 19, 2002 | USA Today

Tyco International is putting on the block the $16.8 million Fifth Avenue Manhattan apartment and the home's art and antiques worth millions it bought for former CEO Dennis Kozlowski, according to people with knowledge of the company's plans.

In a regulatory filing this week, the company said Kozlowski ''improperly caused'' Tyco to buy the lavish digs last year for his exclusive use and spend $14 million more for improvements and furnishings.

Within the past two weeks, Tyco has had art and real estate firm Sotheby's appraise the property and its furnishings for sale, people familiar with the situation say.

About $5.7 million of the furnishings budget went to Massachusetts decorating company Seldom Scene, the decorator confirmed. Art and antiques acquired included a $17,100 18th-century Venetian traveling toilette box and a $15,000 19th-century French umbrella stand in the shape of a poodle, the decorator confirmed. More mundane items included $2,900 worth of wooden coat hangers.

Though the prices seem over the top, home decor specialists say the furnishings are what would be expected for such a property.

''When you have a $16 million apartment, you want to pay homage to yourself and furnish it with the most expensive furniture available,'' says Bobby Trendy, a home furnishings designer.

One of Trendy's clients is Anna Nicole Smith, and he appears weekly on her E! network reality program The Anna Nicole Show. ''People of wealth attract people of wealth, and they will know if stuff is cheap,'' Trendy says. ''If you spend on imitation stuff, your friends will laugh at you.''

Decorator Robert Verdi, who hosts home decor show Surprise by Design on Discovery, budgets no less than half the purchase price of a home to decorate, furnish and renovate for clients said to include Mike Myers and Britney Spears. ''It's a general rule of thumb,'' Verdi says. ''If you pay a million, plan to spend $500,000 to renovate and decorate.''

The prewar co-op at 950 Fifth Ave. was Tyco's latest New York home for Kozlowski. The company says he improperly borrowed $7 million in 2000 for a 610 Park Ave. apartment later deeded to his ex-wife. And Tyco paid $264,000 a year from 1997-2001 to rent him an apartment at 817 Fifth Ave.

Experts say Tyco may have trouble getting all its millions back in the sale, because Kozlowski may have overpaid in his haste to decorate.

Says Nicholas Dawes, a New York appraiser of antiques and decorative arts: ''You can't take a short cut. Just getting items thrown on a plate is a very expensive way of doing it and will come back to haunt you.''

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