Newsmakers: Moving out

Mansions and castles are up for grabs. Blame it on bad finances, bad arguments and, occasionally, bad blood.

Moving out(Smirn)off the edge
Did you hear the one about the Russian guy who downed three bottles of vodka, jumped off his fifth-floor balcony, and somehow survived with only minor cuts and bruises? His horrified wife was so furious—berating him while she called an ambulance—that he jumped again. Amazingly, Alexei Roskov is still around to tell his story: “When I came back up and I heard my wife screaming angrily at me, I thought it was best if I left the room again—out of the window.”

Cage’s castle
Looking for extra cash in these tough economic times? Actor Nicolas Cage has the answer: sell your castle. The 45-year-old star of Leaving Las Vegas is now leaving Bavaria, selling the 28-room, 16th-century property he purchased two years ago. “Due to the difficult economic situation, unfortunately, I was no longer able to keep it,” he told a German magazine. No word yet on how many British politicians attended the open house.

Repo man record
The recession has not been kind to Cevdet Caner, either. Before the meltdown, the high-rolling Austrian investor purchased a $30-million home in London, and then dropped another $10 million in renovations. But when Caner’s financial firm went belly up, bankruptcy bailiffs moved in. It was the largest repossession in England’s history.

Leaving Swat Valley
A prolonged clash between Taliban militants and the Pakistani army has left millions of civilians homeless and hungry. The bulk of the fighting has occurred in the infamous Swat Valley, which was captured by insurgents two years ago. How desperate is Pakistan to regain control of the battle-torn region? Refugees once persecuted by the Taliban are being offered a chance for revenge—as police officers.

Now split from his wife of 28 years, Mel Gibson is trying to unload his Tudor-style mansion in Connecticut. It hasn’t been easy. As breathtaking as the property is (15 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, and a separate log cabin) the Braveheart actor just can’t find a buyer. Mel reportedly did find a new girlfriend, though.

You Gotti leave
Victoria Gotti—daughter of the late New York mafia boss, John Gotti—is on the brink of losing her Long Island mansion, all because her ex-husband took out a loan she didn’t know about. The author-turned-reality-TV star is fighting her ouster in court, hoping that her father’s knack for beating the system (reporters dubbed him “The Teflon Don”) runs in the family.

No igloos allowed
A Regina man who built a snow fort in the backyard of his condo was ordered to tear it down because the ice structure posed a . . . fire hazard. Bruce Lunan’s igloo was a hit with neighbourhood kids, but the electrical cord he strung on to it wasn’t popular with the property management firm. The Canadian flag perched on top of the fort wasn’t enough to change their minds. Neither was his defence that snow doesn’t burn.

Think the igloo decision was a tough break? Try this: in Britain, a self-proclaimed “eco-warrior” was evicted from his humble cave because the city said it didn’t have a fire exit. Hilaire Purbrick, who has lived in the cave for 16 years, is planning an appeal.

Night at the museum
Now here’s a real fire hazard: a 100-kg bomb from WWII. When the Russian-made device was discovered buried near a Berlin museum, authorities promptly evacuated the area—including a flat belonging to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.