India’s “King of Good Times” in default on Sausalito home

Vijay Mallya lists opulent property for $20M while fighting bankruptcy in London

Vijay Mallya and 6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin, Getty)
Vijay Mallya and 6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin, Getty)

Vijay Mallya — called the “King of Good Times” as well as “India’s Richard Branson” before he fled the country in 2016 leaving behind $1.5 billion in debt — is in default on an opulent Sausalito mansion.

Mallya built 6 Bulkley Avenue in the mid 1990s and has been trying to sell it since last fall, according to public records. The property returned to market this week asking $20 million, after debuting at $22.5 million last November.

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

In March 1994, Mallya bought the three-quarter-acre North Bay property with panoramic Bay views through Leana Investments Limited, named after one of his daughters, according to public records. At the time, Mallya decided to buy in the Bay Area because his then-wife Rekha came for fertility treatments and doctors ordered her to stay, he told the San Francisco Chronicle during a 2003 interview at the home where he showed off paintings by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall and antiques such as a gold 1872 Steinway piano.

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

He bought the nearly 11,000-square-foot shell home for $1.2 million and “sank many times that amount into its renovation,” according to the article, which took place while Mallya was the head of India-based United Spirits, which he inherited from his father in the early 1980s.

After assuming control of the company in his late 20s, he turned it into one of the biggest beer and liquor companies in the world. Its Kingfisher brand once represented half of all Indian beer sales.

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

In 2005, Mallya started Kingfisher Airlines, which would ultimately prove to be his undoing when it folded in 2012 after not paying its pilots for months. By 2016, Mallya had to flee India to avoid arrest on money laundering and fraud charges, with more than $1.5 billion owed to more than a dozen banks. The country is still seeking his extradition from England, where he is fighting a bankruptcy order and living in a London home he nearly lost to foreclosure earlier this year.

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

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The same fate may befall his North Bay home, which Mallya actually bought in a foreclosure sale and took two years to finalize. The seven-bedroom, 11-bath home, is listed by Coldwell Banker agent Farnoosh Hariri. According to the listing notes, it has a marble staircase, inlaid marble floors, gilded columns, wood carvings and painted murals on the ceilings and walls, plus an outdoor pool and spa with Bay views and a mermaid tile mosaic. The notes claim it is the largest single-family property in Sausalito.

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

Mallya took out a $5 million loan on the home in 2015. In 2019 and 2021, according to public records, he went into default. Representatives from lender Wilmington Trust made contact with Mallya “to assess the borrower’s financial situation and explore options for the borrower to avoid foreclosure” in 2018 and 2020.

Both notices of default were subsequently canceled. But in March 2022, he was found to be in default again. In July, the lender filed foreclosure paperwork with Marin County showing Mallya owed more than $600,000 in back payments and fees.

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

For about a decade, Mallya was a big presence in the North Bay. He owned Marinscope, which published several local weekly newspapers, from 1998 to 2015. He was once the majority owner of Mendocino Brewing Company, which he took national.

The car and boat enthusiast also had so many of both that he bought a half-acre vacant lot near downtown Sausalito for more than $900,000 in 2004 that he hoped to turn into a 6,600-square-foot warehouse to house them. The plan was abandoned in 2008 when the city seemed unlikely to approve it.

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

6 Bulkley Ave, Sausalito (Redfin)

Mallya was sued by several neighbors during the long renovation of his Bulkley Avenue home, including one suit by former Sausalito mayor Bill Ziegler. He ended up buying Ziegler’s home for just under $2.4 million in 1998, according to public records, and told the Chronicle he planned to turn it into a deck for his property next door. He ended up selling the still-intact mid-century home for $2 million in May 2015.

Mallya has had to sell many of his homes, which once numbered more than 20, plus businesses, cars, boats and art collections in the last few years. The home’s grand entertainment spaces are shown mostly empty in a marketing video for the property — but the gold piano remains.

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