The real estate website Zillow is facing a lawsuit for negligence after a listing on its site was hacked in February lowering the price by a whopping $60 million.
The Zillow listing was for a $150 million property in Bel Air, California, but was hijacked by someone using a Chinese IP address who ended up posting fake sales information about the property.
The hackers claimed the property had been sold number of times for tens of millions of dollars below the real asking price: once for $110 million, then for $90.5 million and then $94.3 million.
The most expensive house ever listed in LA (pictured) hit the Bel Air market in January 2017. It was originally listed for $250 million and then reduce to $150 million. Chinese hackers allegedly broke into the listing page and altered the selling price to $90 million
At $150 million, the 38,000-square-foot, 12-bedroom house includes luxurious amenities, such as this massage room
Inside the mega-mansion lies a candy room (pictured) filled with $200,000 worth of treats and several foosball tables
Next to the candy room, guests can walk to the property’s private bowling alley (pictured) with custom-made furnishings
The home was originally on the market for $250 million but the price was dropped to $150 million earlier this year
Two wine and champagne cellars (one of which is pictured) house bottles carefully selected by owner-builder Makowsky
Makowsky oversaw every single detail inside the property and wanted to created ‘the greatest feeling’ one can get at home
Bruce Makowsky is suing Zillow claiming the hacking led to the reputation of the house being damaged. He is suing for $60 million
The hackers even went so far as to post notice of an open house for the property – something that would be highly unusual for a luxury listing with such a high price tag.
Zillow hosts pages for roughly 110 million homes in the U.S. allowing users to log-in and change information about their home when necessary. It also means that determined hackers can also access the information should they get past security features.
‘Any home on our website can be claimed by the homeowner. There are a series of questions that must be answered, but if someone attempts to claim it enough times, they will know the questions asked and be able to figure out what information they need to verify their identity,’ Kim Nielson, senior lead counsel for Zillow Group told the LA Times.
Not all claims are manually reviewed, which allowed the user to manipulate the listing details without proving their identity.
Handbag tycoon and owner-developer Bruce Makowsky dreamed up the property, inspired by his own glamorous lifestyle
The house also comes with a collection of 130 works of art and a garage filled with expensive vehicles (pictured at the back)
An extravagant James Bond-themed, $2million screening room (pictured) can sit 40 guests on Italian leather reclining chairs
Inside the home is this Hermes Equateur Blanket, made out of cashmere and hand-embroidered with fine beads and pearls. It has been encased between starfire glass panels with custom-made standoffs
Also included in the art collection is this stainless over-sized Leica camera sculpture made by artist Liao Yibai
The newly constructed home is a 38,000-square-foot mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean with 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, three kitchens, five bars, a bowling alley, tennis courts, wine cellars and an 85-foot infinity pool with its own bar, and a candy room filled with $200,000 worth of treats.
Makowsky also included a car collection worth $30million, made up from a variety of vehicles including 1930s roadsters and 21st century supercars.
The mogul also has 130 works of art, and topped his billionaire’s paradise with a helicopter.
A compliant filed in federal district court in Los Angeles by the seller, luxury builder Bruce Makowsky, says the false sales information inflicted damage on the sale of the property by ‘dramatically corrupting the listing price’.
He is now suing the Zillow website for $60million – the same same amount by which the listing was reduced by.
Handbag tycoon and owner-developer Makowsky dreamed up the extravagant property, drawing inspiration from his own glamorous lifestyle, so he could flip it and sell it on to a wealthy owner.
Inside the property is this sculpture by Gale Hart, who has produced several gun-themed works of art over the years
The owner of the property will enjoy these Lamborghini clock walls and vintage gas cans and fire extinguishers from 1892
A Hobie Cat is displayed next to the infinity pool, in keeping with other nautical nuances scattered around the estate
Two more of Gale Hart’s firearm-themed works of art can be found in a different part of the extravagant, artsy property
Earlier this year, Zillow falsely showed that the mega-mansion sold for tens of millions of dollars less than its asking price after the listing page was hacked into
Makowsky has lowered the price himself several times since placing the property on the market in January 2017.
He lowered it to the current asking price of $150million, saying that he was just trying to be realistic.
However, before he lowered the price, the hackers managed to get past Zillow’s security questions and seize control of the listing.
Zillow then failed to respond to repeated requests over the course of a week from the seller’s attorneys to block the hacker’s access.
Makowsky sued for $60 million in damages, citing permanent harm to the property’s perception.
The Times notes that only a handful of local LA residents and a small number of people outside of the market even have the ability to buy homes that are more expensive than $100 million.
At last count, there were 680 billionaires in the U.S. and around 2,750 globally.
On the roof sits the original helicopter from the TV show Airwolf, which ran from 1984 to 1987. The helicopter was refurbished over twelve months and customized to incorporate the luxurious details of the house
Rock on! The home even has a couple of rock royalty guitars displayed inside cases as part of its incredible art collection
The house also comes with this installation that looks like a pinball machine but is actually a Veuve Clicquot-themed artwork
It took more than 250 people to build the massive Bel Air property, which has panoramic views of the Los Angeles area
There is also a garage filled with 12 luxury vehicles, including a $15-million-plus Von Krieger 1936 Mercedes 540 K Special Roadster and a $2 million one-of-a-kind Pagani Huayra
Makowsky believes the home will appeal to a rich homebody who won’t want to venture outside too much – and will be able to work out at home in the fitness center
The suit claims that Zillow did not have the appropriate safeguards in place to stop hackers from logging into its system to post false information.
A Zillow spokesperson told the Washington Post that the company is in the process of updating its verification system that grants owners access to their property’s page on the site.
On April 19, Zillow filed to dismiss the suit using the Communications Decency Act as its defense stating that web operators are protected from being responsible for information published by its users. The hearing is set for June 24.
Makowsky, who built his fortune selling handbags on QVC, has sold nine billionaire homes in the past eight years. He got the idea for the mega-mansion by watching wealthy travelers invest in yachts.
‘Today, people are spending $300million on a boat, and they use it about eight weeks a year,’ he told the newspaper. ‘Then they are living in a $30million to $40million home.’
The tycoon doesn’t plan to host an extravagant open-house and wants instead to show the property to restricted groups
Only one of the world’s estimated 2,750 billionaires could possibly afford the home – maybe one of the 680 who live in the US
Makowsky thought this didn’t make sense and resolved to build a property akin to a luxury yacht, but on land.
It took four years and more than 250 people to finish the $150million home which was originally listed for $250m. Makowsky picked every last detail, including the Champagne bottles store in both wine cellars.
The television in the entertainment room takes up almost 30 feet, while the James Bond-themed, $2million screening room can sit 40 people on Italian leather reclining chairs.
‘I wanted to redefine what super-high-end luxury homes are all about,’ Makowsky told CNBC. ‘I wanted to break all the molds. The level of quality and attention to detail in this house is unsurpassed. And I wanted to create the greatest feeling that you can have being at home.’
The property also has a garage filled with 12 luxury vehicles, including a $15-million-plus Von Krieger 1936 Mercedes 540 K Special Roadster and a $2million one-of-a-kind Pagani Huayra.
He doesn’t plan to host an extravagant open-house and wants instead to show the property to restricted groups of potential buyers.
Makowsky believes the mega-mansion’s occupant will have homebody propensities, someone who will be too busy enjoying their billionaire haven to explore the area.
‘People spend over half their lives in their home,’ he told CNBC. ‘So when you’re home, it should be the ultimate oasis. You should have every single entertainment feature you could have in one home.’