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Marianne Paskowski

Ed McMahon: New Poster Child for Subprime Mess

August 15, 2008 10:56 AM

Ed McMahon

Well, I guess you can say the 85-year-old Ed McMahon, longtime sidekick of Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” has become the official poster child of the subprime lending mess, after he defaulted on mortgage loans with the now-notorious Countrywide Financial Corp.

The story made national headlines when Donald Trump got wind of McMahon’s woes and bought the house in order to lease it back to the octogenarian, letting him remain in his house.

McMahon’s home had been on the market for nearly two years and once was valued at $7 million, but now has an asking price of $4.6 million, according to published reports.

Trump, who didn’t know McMahon, was a fan of Carson and his sidekick and stepped forward, asking, “How could this happen,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Cynics said the publicity-loving Trump did it to get back into the limelight. I say, so what?

Money talks and you-know-what walks. And shame on Countrywide, the lender at the very core of the real estate market meltdown with its questionable mortgage practices.


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Comments (10)


Ok,great for Trump..be a hero, but its odd how you never heard about him doing anything good during 9/11 but he will be all over buying a celebrity's home because now he has a heart.

You know his interests are purely financial. Because poor Ed is on his last leg and Trump probably feels he’s going to make money out of the deal when he passes away. Guaranteed he will evict the wife when that happens.

Hate to be cynical...but please

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Dana,

Interesting point about The Donald during 9/11. Given his ties to Wall Street, I would wager he was doing something privately on the side to help, if only to protect his own interests.

As to McMahon's house, Trump is going to have to wait years to be able to sell that house, real estate prices are still dropping.But he is making money now on the lease. I don't have a problem with that.

The old guy gets to stay in his house and no longer has the stress of dealing with Countrywide, or whatever outfit Countrywide sold the paper to. to.

And I'm assuming this was a subprime loan, and one that would reset if it hadn't already. So Dana,
be cynical, but I think this was a win/win.

Jeff Mulligan:


Apparently an aged and greedy McMahon bit off far more mortgage than he could chew, then wound up owing more than his ill-considered purchase was eventually worth. He and the legions of advisers who no doubt hang around celebrities like him deserve no pity, unlike the hundreds of thousands of honest but naive home buyers deceived by Countrywide and their ilk. If Trump were anything more than a publicity-seeking adolescent with far more money than he deserves, he'd be helping the genuine victims. But the sewer that's Hollywood morality laps it all up, and the TV/Cable industry dutifully applauds. No wonder this country has had George W. Bush as president for two terms.


Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jeff,
Heard the most interesting thing on the new today about this, before my time, but Frank Sinatra regularly helped his fellow stars who where in default, with no fanfare, unlike Trump.

Can't imagine how McMahon got himself into this mess, but he is very old. Or, here's the jaded me, just a stunt to get both of their names back into the headlines. I would hope not, but...

Sometimes you really wonder.

I first worked with Ed in 1973 and subsequently many times after that over two and one half decades.

Ed was always appreciative of everyone around him, totally professional, generous and supportive.

So he needs help now? OK. Trump did what others could and should have. There are many in "Beaver Hills and Hollyweird" who were on the receiving end of Ed's generosity, where have THEY been?

The bottom line is that Donald stepped up and Ed and his family get to stay home. I say Bravo.

Donald has done much and only those directly affected know about it, or ever will.
Peter Bright

Marianne Paskowski:

I agree, apparently Ed lives down the road from Brittany Spears and some potential buyers are turned off about that.

And Ed is 85, the amazing thing is that he was still working, until his injury of 18 months ago.

I'm in your camp Peter, I say hurrah for Trump.



Marianne, I have to correct you here. The original report said that Trump bought the house, but I have seen reports that say that he has made an offer to buy it that Ed has not accepted yet.

What we fail to mention here is that Ed broke his next a few years ago, and just went through his third surgery. He was in need of work, and money. He might have bought an expensive house, but he could most likely afford it when he did. There was no way he could have foreseen this turn in events. I wish there was someone coming to the help of all the people who lose their jobs and their houses.

Trump might be doing this for publicity, but who cares? I applaud him for doing something for someone he doesn't know personally, but admires and enjoyed watching. Trump has the money, and Ed's plight had been publicized. He did the right thing.

BTW- Ed got a job doing on-air promos on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Ed's always been a hard worker, and it's sad that this had to happen to him.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Julia,
Thanks for the update about Trump. I know it's in flux. Like all real estate deals these days, well it's just a mess. Hope both parties make a win/win out of this.
Take care,


Well...looks like The Donald has been outbid. Interestingly enough, he didn't bother to outbid the other buyer, who by the way is contingent on a mortgage when Trump could have (figuratively) brought a suitcase with the money in an instant.

Now I am a bit suspicious of Trump's motives. This was only for publicity and nothing else, it seems. I now DO care that it was just publicity.

In a statement from Trump, he says, "...The other buyer has signed a purchase agreement....subject to many contingencies including but not limited to a mortgage contingency. Mr. Trump clearly would not need a mortgage and would be capable of closing this transaction immediately. If the other buyer should be successful in this bid, Mr. Trump truly hopes that they do the right thing by Ed McMahon and not have this 85-year-old American icon removed from the property."

Interesting, if he wants Ed to stay in the house, instead of hoping the buyer lets Ed stay, why not outbid the buyer and make sure he does, hrm?

Marianne Paskowski:

Excellent point. This story is sounding more trumped up by the moment, forgive, the pun.
Keep us posted,

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