Who Pays $1 Million (Plus) for a Home?

(To see a list of homes in Pulaski County with sale prices of over $1 million, click here.)

Scott Girner was thinking about building a house in the country when he found a home for sale on Sologne Circle in 2008.

"I already had the lot picked out and everything," said Girner, who is the owner of Aloha Pools & Spas of North Little Rock. "Before I went to all that trouble, I wanted to see if there were some good deals out there, so that's how I found this."

Girner bought the 7,000-SF west Little Rock home with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms from the Bank of England for $1.17 million. (The bank acquired the home from Chateau Custom Homes Inc., led by David McFatrich, in an $850,000 foreclosure sale in October 2007.)

Girner also said that the two-story home's location on one of the golf courses at Chenal Country Club attracted him.

He said the property didn't have a pool, but - naturally - he's planning to add one.

Girner's spread is one of 21 homes in Pulaski County that sold for $1 million or more in 2008. And that number includes one that was recovered by a bank in a foreclosure.

The number of $1 million-plus homes sold has been slipping every year since 2004, when 29 were sold. Last week, 56 seven-figure homes were on the market in the Little Rock area, up from 42 during the same period last year, according to Jon Underhill, owner of Jon Underhill Real Estate of Little Rock.

At the rate they sold in 2008, there's a two and a half year inventory of seven-digit houses already officially on the market - and others that are known to be for sale even if no real estate agent has been contracted.

"For the last several years we have seen more and more million-dollar homes being built," he said in an e-mail statement to Arkansas Business. "It only stands to reason that we have an increased supply."

In the last five years, the most expensive home purchased was on prestigious Edgehill Road. John and Christian Kelly bought that home for $3.2 million in 2004.

The most expensive home sold in 2008 was priced at $2 million. The J. Warren Simpson Revocable Trust bought the 5,332-SF home near the Country Club of Little Rock.

Simpson, who is the executive vice president of Stephens Capital Management, a division of Stephens Inc. of Little Rock, declined to comment on his home.

This year marked a noticeable shift in homeowners being willing - or, rather, not - to discuss their homes and their features.

The wealthy may be sensitive to others who are struggling financially, said Milton Pedraza, the CEO of the Luxury Institute LLC of New York, which conducts research on the luxury goods and services industry. 

"They want to be very low key because they don't want to be seen as ... ostentatious or greedy people enjoying life at a time when other people are feeling pain," he said.

Wealthy people were once proud of what they owned, said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing of Stevens, Pa., which conducts market research for retailers that sell luxury items.

"But today, people don't feel the need to show it off anymore," she said, "because it's divisive."

While there may be some anecdotal evidence that wealthy people are feeling embarrassed about what they have, that's not the only explanation for their reticence, said Ron Kurtz, a principal of the American Affluence Research Center of Alpharetta, Ga., which conducts research targeted at the wealthiest 10 percent of the population.

"It could be as much about security," he said. "I feel [luxury shame] is being overplayed by the media in general."

Still, for those readers who have wondered who owns these high-dollar homes, Arkansas Business has attempted to provide a brief description of each of the homes listed and the owners, using interviews and public records.

Here's what we found:

● The largest of the seven-figure homes came in at 10,000 SF and is located in west Little Rock's Hickory Hills neighborhood. In May, Pine Bluff National Bank recovered the home from David Hamilton after the property was foreclosed on in 2006. The home changed hands in a $1.68 million transaction.

Hamilton, through his Hamco Realty LLC, bought the property for $2.3 million in 2005 from the DFT Revocable Trust, led by Donald Thompson. The property was tied to a January 2005 mortgage of $1.95 million held by Pine Bluff National Bank and a March 2006 mortgage of $100,000 held by Centennial Bank of Little Rock.

The brick exterior home with five bedrooms and two bathrooms features a pool and a detached two-car garage. It is for sale and is listed at $1.495 million.

● One of the best-known people on the list is the former Arkansas Razorback and NBA player Corliss Williamson. Williamson and his wife, Joan, purchased in July a 7,980-SF home in west Pulaski County for $1.2 million. The home sits on 7.7 acres.

Williamson led the Hogs to a 1994 NCAA basketball championship. He also spent 12 years playing in the NBA for teams such as the Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons, where he received the NBA's Sixth Man Award for his play during the 2001-2002 season. He is an assistant basketball coach at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock.

● Another athlete bought an expensive Pulaski County home in 2008. In December, Thomas and Dr. Jeanine Andersson purchased a 5,841-SF home in Hickory Hills for $1.2 million.

Thomas Andersson was a tennis star at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  In 1996, the NCAA national rankings listed him as 33rd for singles play. He also was the head professional at the Little Rock Racquet Club for seven years. He is currently the assistant tennis pro at Pleasant Valley Country Club.

When asked what attracted him to the home, Andersson said he was offended that Arkansas Business would ask such a question.

"If you want a quote, put this: There's a lot of snakes in the backyard," he said. Dr. Andersson is an orthopedic surgeon and practices at the Arkansas Specialty Hand Center in Little Rock.

● Another doctor tied to a million-dollar home is Dr. Glenn Davis. He and his wife, Janet, bought their 4,362-SF $1 million home in Little Rock's Palisades neighborhood in November.

Davis is a gastroenterologist and had served on Arkansas' Board of Health. His subspecialty is listed as internal medicine. Janet Davis has listed her occupation as housewife.

● Kavita and Dr. Anil Badhwar bought one of two million-dollar-plus homes sold last year in Maumelle, which hadn't had a seven-digit home sale in at least five years. The Badhwars bought their 7,000-SF home in the River Crest Estates neighborhood for $1.27 million in October. Anil Badhwar's specialties are allergy and immunology and pediatrics.

● The other million-dollar home in Maumelle was purchased by Stephen and Siobhan Myers for $1.8 million. The 8,761-SF home sits on 15.1 acres. They bought the home from Kerry and Marquetta Young. Information about the Myerses could not be confirmed.

● In September, Sheila McAdams bought a $1.7 million home near the Country Club of Little Rock.

McAdams is the widow of Herbert Hall McAdams II, who died in 2001. At the time of his death, his fortune was valued at $475 million. His wealth was created largely on a $10 million investment in Little Rock's Union National Bank, which was headed for failure in 1970. He turned the bank around and sold the family's stake in it for $115 million to Worthen Banking Corp. of Little Rock.

● In October, Judy Tenenbaum purchased a 4,842-SF home in west Little Rock's Hickory Creek neighborhood for $1.06 million.

On campaign contributions disclosure forms, Tenenbaum has listed herself as a philanthropist and homemaker. She was formerly married to Harold Tenenbaum, whose family has owned and operated scrap dealer A. Tenenbaum Co. of North Little Rock since 1890.

Tenenbaum is involved in the Tenenbaum Foundation, which "provides humanitarian care and relief" to central Arkansans, according to its Web site. It also supports efforts to cure breast cancer. She also is a supporter of several nonprofits, including the Argenta Community Theater.

● Nearly a year before pleading guilty to misappropriating $9.3 million in client funds, Steven Eugene Cauley acquired on July 18 a $1.1 million home from VFE LLC, led by upscale homebuilder Rick Ferguson. The 4,687-SF home is in west Little Rock's Valley Falls Estates. VFE had bought the home on July 3 from Hardin Design & Construction Inc., led by Keith Hardin.

Cauley was an attorney who specialized in representing investors in class-action securities lawsuits. Cauley surrendered his law license just before he waived indictment and pleaded guilty earlier this month in a New York federal courthouse to wire fraud and criminal contempt of court in connection with the missing client funds. He is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 10.

Both Cauley and Ferguson, who were major investors in Centennial Bancshares Inc. of Little Rock before its sale early last year to Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, have been on Arkansas Business' million-dollar homes list in previous years.

● In August, Bennett LeBow bought a 6,200-SF home in the Sologne Circle neighborhood of west Little Rock's Chenal Valley for $1 million.

LeBow is the chairman of the board of Vector Group Ltd. in Miami. It's unclear how much time LeBow spends at the Little Rock address. He also has a Miami address listed as contact information with the Pulaski County Treasurer's Office.

The Vector Group, through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes in the United States. In the company's proxy statement, the 71-year-old also is listed as a private investor. His salary for 2008 was $3.95 million and his total compensation for the year was $8.7 million.

LeBow also is involved in the LeBow Fund to Cure Myeloma and has been "a generous" supporter of research at the Myeloma Institute for Research & Therapy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, according to UAMS.

● In March, Daniel Moore II bought a 4,137-SF home near the Country Club of Little Rock for $1.14 million.

Moore said he works for a privately held money-management firm in New York, but he declined to name the firm.

He said the design of the home is what caught his eye. The four-bedroom home has an "old-world design" and features woodwork throughout the spread. It also has a workout room, wine cellar and a fireplace on the patio. In addition, its proximity to several shops in the Heights was a plus for Moore.

"It's a great spot to raise a family," Moore said.

Moore was once an analyst for Stephens Inc., but when he left in 2004 to join Morgan Keegan & Co., Stephens sued him, alleging he removed documents and records. He also faced a felony charge stemming from the same allegations. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2006. Moore pleaded guilty in 2006 to the charge of unlawful acts regarding computers and received five years of probation. He was transferred to unsupervised probation in 2007.

Moore said he "wouldn't be at the liberty to discuss" the Stephens incident.

But "anybody who will stop and think about that for a second, the idea of somebody going to another firm - I'll let you draw your own conclusions there," he said.

● Crain Investment Ltd., led by Larry Crain Sr., bought in January a 3,589-SF condo on the 13th floor of the First Security Center. The condo sold for $1.7 million.

Crain is the CEO of Crain Management Group of Sherwood, which reported 2008 revenue of $295 million, making it one of the largest private companies in Arkansas. The company was founded in 1966 and sells and services new and used vehicles through 12 dealerships. Crain Management also includes the real estate holdings of Crain Investments. In 2007, Crain Management's revenue was $326 million.

● Also in January, Michael Prince, a psychologist, bought an updated and expanded 5,883-SF home in the Heights for $1 million. Prince put the house up for sale on April 8 for $1.95 million. The house was taken off the market on June 2.

● The Michael L. Quick Family Revocable Trust purchased its 5,300-SF Chenal Downs home in west Little Rock for $1.1 million in March. It bought the home from Gary and Jacquelynn Childers.

Quick is an orthodontist and practices at Orthodontic Associates in North Little Rock. He also is a real estate investor and a director of Beach Business Bank in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

● Howard and Stacy Hurst bought their 5,659-SF home near the Country Club of Little Rock because Howard Hurst grew up in the neighborhood, Stacy Hurst said in an e-mail to Arkansas Business. They bought the home for $1.54 million.

"It is close to our kids' school and to my husband's work," she wrote. "It also puts us very close to aging parents."

Howard Hurst is the president and owner of the state's largest and oldest florist operation, Tipton & Hurst Inc. of Little Rock. Stacy Hurst represents Ward 3 on Little Rock's board of directors. She was vice mayor of Little Rock in 2007 and 2008.

● After the Hursts bought their home, they sold their previous house in the Prospect Terrace neighborhood to Joseph "Brad" and Kelly Eichler. The 4,240-SF home sold for $1.1 million.

Brad Eichler is the executive vice president and co-head of corporate finance for Stephens Inc. Kelly Eichler is an attorney and has been appointed as a special judge in juvenile and domestic courts. Running as a Republican, she narrowly lost in November the election for the state House of Representatives seat for District 38. 

● In June, David Snowden bought a 5,300-SF home in Little Rock's Overlook Park neighborhood for $1.18 million. He purchased the home from the Brad & Chris Sherman Living Trust.

Snowden had been the CEO of Tarco Inc. of Little Rock, which manufactures roofing products and has plants in Arkansas, Texas and Pennsylvania. He currently is chairman of the company. Snowden also was a founding member of the Nature Conservancy of Arkansas board of trustees.

● John and Diana Young bought a 5,389-SF home in Little Rock's Edgehill neighborhood for $1.33 million in September. John Young is retired and was involved in a number of businesses and had been a director at Union Bancshares of Benton Inc. They purchased the home from Sue Gaskin.

● No personal information could be confirmed on William and Judith McDaniel, who bought their $1.4 million home in September. Their 6,841-SF house is in west Little Rock's Valley Falls Estates. They bought the home from Douglas and Janice Sherman.