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Secret room inside Jeff Bezos’ new $245 million estate

Anastasia Santoreneos
·3-min read
Jeff Bezos' latest property addition is the US$165 million Warner Estate. Source: Getty
Jeff Bezos' latest property addition is the US$165 million Warner Estate. Source: Getty

Jeff Bezos may have had $25,000 worth of parking fines to pay off in the last few years, but that didn’t stop him spending US$165 million (AU$245 million) on Los Angeles’ most expensive home: Warner Estate.

The estate was built in the 1930s by Jack Warner, the head of Warner Brothers Studios, but the Amazon chief reportedly purchased the four-hectare estate from film and business mogul David Geffen, adding to his portfolio as the 25th largest landowner in America.

But the property has some interesting features, most notably a bomb shelter.

Jack Warner’s daughter with his second wife, Barbara Warner Howard, revealed the property had a bomb shelter behind the projection room during the war.

“It must have had at least twelve bunk beds, because you couldn’t let the servants die—they were hard to find during the war,” she told author Jean Stein for her book West of Eden.

“My father was terribly patriotic, and he was a lieutenant colonel in the air force.”

The latest addition to Bezos’ extensive property portfolio

While $245 million is a lot of cash to splash, Bezos, who is worth $195 billion, is no stranger to spending millions on property.

In fact, the Amazon chief owns several homes on over 10 acres of land on the Lake Washington shores in Washington, four apartments in Manhattan’s Central Park West, two neighbouring houses in Beverly Hills, a former museum in Washington DC, and a whopping 121,500 hectares of land in Texas.

His Beverly Hills mansions were purchased for around US$37.5 million collectively, while the former textile museum in Washington sold for US$19 million.

To put it into perspective, Bezos’ recent purchase of Warner Estate equates to a spend of around 0.12 per cent of his wealth.

This is the equivalent of an Australian earning a salary of $60,000 spending just $72.

Amazon tax controversy

In 2018, Amazon caused controversy when it was revealed the tech giant paid a ridiculous $0 in federal income taxes on more than US$11 billion in profits.

This year, the company has said it paid “billions” in taxes for 2019 – but actually, it still only paid US$162 million on over US$13 billion in profits, equating to a tax rate of 1.2 per cent.

The remaining $914 million it should have paid in federal income taxes were “deferred”, which means they postponed payment based on accounting practices.

This means balance sheets can show a company paid $1 billion in tax, but really they may have only paid millions.

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