James Murdoch “cashes out” of townhouse with $24M loan

New York Post CEO Jesse Angelo signed the agreement
By Adam Pincus | November 14, 2013 06:15PM

James Murdoch, son of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, took out a $24 million loan last month on his townhouse at 117 East 69th Street, which is $1 million above what he paid for the home more than two years ago, a process known in real estate as “cashing out,” city records published yesterday reveal.

Murdoch took out the loan on Oct. 15 from JPMorgan Chase, public documents show. The four-story building between Lexington and Park avenues has a total of 12,118 square feet, according to information from PropertyShark. The new loan was more than $19 million higher than the previous $5 million mortgage recorded on the building.

It is rare for a borrower to take out a loan on a property for more than the purchase price, except when a high-value renovation is expected. Murdoch has not filed plans for a major renovation with the city’s Department of Buildings, but late last month he did apply to install solar panels on the building’s roof, with an estimated cost of $19,200.

The younger Murdoch, who is deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. and media firm 20th Century Fox, did not sign for the loan, however. Instead, it was Jesse Angelo, CEO of the New York Post, another News Corp. media property.

Angelo signed as the trustee of the JRM Family Trust on behalf of Statler, LLC, the entity city records show owns the building.

In recent months, the News Corp. empire has been under fire — and, in the U.K., under investigation — for a phone hacking scandal that forced the shutdown of its London tabloid “News of the World.” Murdoch himself announced the closure of the paper in July.

Meanwhile, Angelo has staunchly defended the financial viability of the Post, telling New York magazine in an article published last month that it was a “bullshit premise” that the feisty tabloid was up against the ropes.

The 30-year loan is interest-only and fixed for the first 10 years at 3.5 percent or $70,000 per month, the documents show.

Murdoch purchased the mansion once home to Muppets creator Jim Henson from Edgar Bronfman Jr., an heir to the Seagram’s fortune, in March 2011 for $23 million.

A spokesperson for Angelo declined to comment and one for Murdoch did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Correction: An earlier version if this story misstated the responses from the spokespersons.