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Five Luxurious Houses With Famously Unseemly Backstories

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The Farralone Estate in Chatsworth, Calif., which was featured as a House of the Day last month, is chock full of celebrity history. Frank Sinatra once sublet the place from its original owner, Chase Manhattan Bank heiress Dora Hutchinson, and Hutchinson entertained the likes of Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland and Vicente Minnelli here. The most gripping, and most scandalous, episode in the house's history is an alleged tryst between Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy. Last month, we couldn't be sure if it were true or not, but 1stDibs has the location narrowed down to the one-bedroom guest house (above) that enjoys use of its own private pool. The sleek little cottage is like a miniature version of the 10,000-foot-main house designed by Pereira & Luckman.

? Now for a darker scandal, something fit for a Dominick Dunne piece, out of Newport, R.I. This massive mansion, known as Clarendon Court, was the scene of Claus von Bulow's alleged attack on his wife, Sunny. Mrs. von Bulow ended up in a permanent coma, and Claus was later acquitted of any wrongdoing, but the spectre of guilt still hangs over this place. The spectre of taxes also appears to have been doing a number on the current owners, who don't seem to have much left over to furnish this seaside palace. That should all change if this house sells for anything close to its $15.8M asking price, down from $17.8M in October 2010.

? Back to the more romantic side of things, this suburban Chicago mansion was once the love shack of abdicated British monarch Edward, Duke of Windsor and the twice-divorced socialite Wallis Simpson. In 1941, tragedy again struck the sprawling brick manse as its widower owner, Charles Schweppe, shot himself here. Afterwards, the place wallowed in disrepair before being salvaged by a couple who were later foreclosed upon, this 33,000-square-foot estate is listed for $12M.

? While the previous two estates have been sitting on the market for ages now, a couple of other scandalous pads have been snapped up in short order. This one, the famous Dominique Strauss-Kahn townhouse in Manhattan—where the disgraced and later acquitted DSK holed up during the run-up to trial—either leased or sold about two weeks ago. The price was $50K per month or $12.5M, which means someone got a mightily expensive Christmas gift this year.

? Before Mr. Bernie Madoff came along and dominated the genre, the Tyco scandal was set to be the financial trial of the century. The ringleader of this merry band of fraudsters, Tyco chief Dennis Kozlowski, spent millions doing up this seacoast New Hampshire estate in fine nouveau style. Then, when the exec was forced to sell, the next owners came in, tore it all out, and did it all again. Looking for a quick sale, they sent the palatial mansion to auction in 2010, where it sold for $4.1M.

· Midcentury Manse with Many, Many Boldface Names Attached [Curbed National]
· Farralone Estate [1stDibs]
· 626 Bellevue Ave [Libby Kirwin]
· Spooky House on a Storied Easy Street [Curbed National]
· This Lakefront Mock Brit Once Hosted the Duke of Windsor [Curbed National]
· Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Tribeca House Now Just $12.5M [Curbed NY]
· 153 Franklin Street [Streeteasy]
· Tyco Crook's Revamped Palace On Auction Block Today [Curbed National]