Media mogal David Geffen reportedly bought a home on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton.
199 Lily Pond Lane, East Hampton
Yard sales do not get more high end than this: Apparently in an “everything must go” state of mind, the estate of Josephine Chaus has sold the late fashion pioneer’s property at 199 Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton for a whopping $70 million, and this comes on the heels of listing her Upper East Side townhouse for $42 million.
Who was Josephine Chaus and how did she become so wealthy? Her origins were humble enough. She was born Josephine Augello in August 1951 in Brooklyn, where her father worked at the Navy Yard. She grew up on Long Island and managed to attend college for a year. Her big break came while she was working as a buyer for a clothing store in New Jersey and she met Bernard Chaus. In 1975, when Josephine was just 24, she persuaded her future husband—who was 22 years older—to join her in founding a clothing brand which would make moderately priced attire for the growing number of women entering the work force, especially corporate offices.
The company took off. It added sportswear, and in 1986 it went public. However, only five years later Bernard Chaus died and his widow inherited a company that was deeply in debt. Ms. Chaus took charge of the necessary turnaround, which included lowering prices, making shipping more efficient, and expanding the company’s retail presence. The Chaus clothing line rebounded with her as its chief executive. In that sense she was a pioneer, at a time when few major companies had a female CEO. It would eventually have 200 employees and annual sales of $300 million.
Along the way, Ms. Chaus raised two sons. One of them, Ariel, is now the CEO. In 2012, the company went private via a merger with the Camuto Group, a clothing conglomerate. In October of last year, Camuto purchased the company’s remaining shares and Chaus is now a wholly owned subsidiary. A month later, Josephine Chaus died of cancer, at 64.
When the legal matters were finished up, her estate put the Manhattan and East Hampton properties up for sale. The former is a 9500-square-foot townhouse at128 East 73rd Street that was originally built by A. Wallace McCrae in 1928. Little is known about the Lily Pond Lane estate other than it is 2.04 acres on the ocean.
The $70 million purchase price makes it one of the higher recent transactions in East Hampton, even for that tony part of the village. Still, it pales in comparison to the $110 million now padding the pockets of hedge fund impresario Scott Bommer, for selling three Lily Pond properties earlier this year. The imaginative name of the buyer of the Chaus estate is 199 Lily Pond Lane LLC.
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