UPDATE ON THE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP of 21305 West 5th Helena Drive
That update being no, I don’t know who owns it. Apparently, no-one on earth is privy to that information, it being a state secret on par with Project Greek Island. But the plot has taken a turn, which I share with you now:
It has been my contention that Monroe’s former home is owned by Daniel C. Lukas—founder of the billion-dollar private equity firm Emerald Lake Capital Management—and his wife Anne Jarmain; they purchased the house in 2017. Lukas and Jarmain manage a company called Glory of the Snow LLC. Two months ago, Glory of the Snow LLC sold and transferred the property into a Trust, called Glory of the Snow Trust, whose address is 12305 5th Helena Drive. The Trustee of that trust is named Andrew Schure (not Sahure, which I wrote below, and has been stated in the Los Angeles Times). Schure holds and administers the property for a third party, whom I logically assumed was Glory of the Snow LLC, in that it is common for Trusts to own LLCs, which involves liability protection, estate planning (avoiding probate most often), and a bevy of other legal whatnot I won’t go into. Most noticeably, both LLC and Trust are named “Glory of the Snow,” a rather arcane reference to a Turkish bulb flower (if this were the 1970s, I would presume snow was a winking reference to cocaine). A shot of the Grant Deed:
Not so fast, say PR representatives for Lukas and Jarmain, who contacted me. According to Lukas and Jarmain's people, they and their Glory of the Snow LLC, are, contrary to what anyone may believe, in fact not the beneficiaries of the Glory of the Snow Trust. In fact, Lukas and Jarmain have no connection whatsoever to said Trust. Yes, the Trust and the LLC use the same obscure botanical name for their holding company, but nevertheless, please be advised the Lukas/Jarmain Glory of the Snow LLC has zero connection with, no ownership of, nor any relationship to, the Glory of the Snow Trust. (They also want you to know that during their 2017-2023 ownership, Lukas & Jarmain did not do any kitchen/bathroom renovations or room additions, so stop blaming them for that too!)
Now, not wishing to besmirch the former owners, should they be innocent and who are innocent until proven guilty, I’m going to err on the side of caution and retract all previous statements about Lukas/Jarmain owning the house.
So who does own the house? Not Andrew Schure; he’s merely acting as Trustee for a third party beneficiary. The name of whom is shrouded in mystery. It’s a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma, like the man said.
There has been no small amount of conjecture that this whole kerfuffle is the work of the adjacent property owner who wishes to expand his lot. Financial manager Keyhan Ghotbi purchased the neighboring house, 316 South Carmelina—a 2,000sf house built in 1948—and tore it down in 2018, replacing it with a new 4,957sf structure, plus detached garage.
Because the new house takes up so much of the lot, speculation is Ghotbi bought the Monroe house to tear it down and have a nice new backyard—
—or so runs a theory being floated about.
Naturally, yes, there are bloodhounds at work attempting to unravel the Gordian Knot that is the GotS Trust. Keep checking back here for any and all updates!
DEMOLITION PERMIT ISSUED. If there's tractors on site, hell, the house could be gone by end of day. UPDATE: Councilperson Park steps up
———— ↓ORIGINAL POST ↓ ————
In an RIP-themed twist of fate, as I dove back into the deep end of blogging Los Angeles demolition permits, social media blew up yesterday with news that 12305 Fifth Helena Drive—a lovely 1929 Spanish Colonial hacienda with deep historic ties to Los Angeles, and the world, it being the house Marilyn Monroe bought, lived in, and died in—was going through the early stages of its demolition paperwork.
This was reported by the New York Post, and I saw no small number of people say “well I don’t liiiiike the New York Post, so obviously this isn’t real.” I can assure you, it is quite real:
The question then being, who would do such a thing? Internet chatter would have us believe the house is owned by famed Marilyn cosplay/TikTok personality Jasmine Chiswell. However, Chiswell actually owns a different house, specifically, a 1938 Mediterranean that Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had rented in the early 1950s (and for the record Chiswell does not in fact own that house; it is owned by her husband’s father).
Rather, Monroe’s former home at 12305 Fifth Helena, the only home Monroe ever bought, is owned by Glory of the Snow LLC, a company that purchased the house in May 2017 but went defunct in 2020, and yet sold the house a month ago to itself, specifically to whom we presume must be the LLC majority shareholder, a man named Andrew Sahure (though a Google search doesn’t turn up anything on such a person).
The prospect of losing such an important shared cultural referent as 12305 is staggering. Not only is the structure itself wonderful, but it remains remarkably intact since Monroe’s death there in August 1962.
If you’re reading this blog then I’d wager you are suitably fed up with those who would destroy our shared history. You look on in horror as local government gives handouts to developers who run roughshod over our communities, while we stand by feeling helpless. It’s very important to advocate for threatened structures in your community, and if you’ve never done so, here’s a good chance to start the practice. I know, Brentwood is very likely not your community, but Marilyn is important to all Angelenos, and heck, is beloved by the world. L.A. doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to retaining and maintaining our heritage, so, how about we not embarrass ourselves on the world stage again, ok?
A good start, then: write an email—now—to Council District 11, who have the power to involve Office of Historic Resources about getting the structure made a Historic Cultural Monument. The Conservancy suggests writing Traci Park directly; my initial thought was to, rather, send emails to CD11 Planning Deputy Jeff Khau, who will be running point on the matter. However, I just got off the phone with a Park field deputy, Sean Silva. He is one of those painfully rare, first-rate, super-competent civil servants who knows how to navigate the interstices of government. I told him he might be receiving some emails from y’all, and he said bring ‘em on, I’ll make sure they get in the proper hands. His address is email@example.com .
And so, with a little luck and a lot of perseverance, we might save this lovely home yet, and Marilyn will look down on us with love and gratitude.
About Nathan Marsak
NATHAN MARSAK says: “I came to praise Los Angeles, not to bury her. And yet developers, City Hall and social reformers work in concert to effect wholesale demolition, removing the human scale of my town, tossing its charm into a landfill. The least I can do is memorialize in real time those places worth noting, as they slide inexorably into memory. In college I studied under Banham. I learned to love Los Angeles via Reyner’s teachings (and came to abjure Mike Davis and his lurid, fanciful, laughably-researched assertions). In grad school I focused on visionary urbanism and technological utopianism—so while some may find the premise of preserving communities so much ill-considered reactionary twaddle, at least I have a background in the other side. Anyway, I moved to Los Angeles, and began to document. I drove about shooting neon signs. I put endless miles across the Plains of Id on the old Packard as part of the 1947project; when Kim Cooper blogged about some bad lunch meat in Compton, I drove down to there to check on the scene of the crime (never via freeway—you can’t really learn Los Angeles unless you study her from the surface streets). But in short order one landmark after another disappeared. Few demolitions are as contentious or high profile as the Ambassador or Parker Center; rather, it is all the little houses and commercial buildings the social engineers are desperate to destroy in the name of the Greater Good. The fabric of our city is woven together by communities and neighborhoods who no longer have a say in their zoning or planning so it’s important to shine a light on these vanishing treasures, now, before the remarkable character of our city is wiped away like a stain from a countertop. (But Nathan, you say, it’s just this one house—no, it isn’t. Principiis obsta, finem respice.) And who knows, one might even be saved. Excelsior!””
Nathan’s blogs are: Bunker Hill Los Angeles, RIP Los Angeles & On Bunker Hill.