Magazine article Mother Jones

Mansion Envy

Magazine article Mother Jones

Mansion Envy

Article excerpt


Kenny Forder really wants to occupy your big-ass home - from the 74 bathrooms to the indoor basketball court.

Kenny Forder was 18 and still in high school when he received his first takedown notice. He admits he freaked out a little when the lawyer's letter arrived at his mother's home in suburban Morris County, New Jersey, in June 2009. Vahan Gureghian, a wealthy executive active in Pennsylvania Republican politics, wanted Forder to remove the photos of Gureghian' s $13.5 million, 30,652-square-foot, 10-bedroom, Frenchchateau-style mansion from his blog, Homes of the Rich. (The mansion also has a two-lane bowling alley, a 200-person great hall, and a moat) Gureghian' s attorney threatened Forder with legal action if he didn't delete the photos.

Forder, who has a fauxhawk, earrings, and bright hazel eyes, loves Lady Gaga, and shares a duplex with his mom and twin sister, was intimidated enough that he complied. He didn't give up on his website, though, which has since blossomed into a nearly full-time job.

"I've always had a fascination with the wealthy and how they live," he says, adding that he's been going to open houses since he was 15. If that seems a bit surprising, so too might his inspiration for the blog. Despite chronicling some astonishing indulgences- 15-car garages, lavish indoor spas, 80-foot-long discos, "water sports courts"- Forder doesn't see his popular site as political, even in the era of Occupy Wall Street. In fact, he dreams of his own abode worthy of the 1 percent.

"I was born to be rich," Forder says, and he means it. He's not quite there yet, but his site pulls in about 142,000 visitors and $1,200 in ad revenue each month- more than enough to cover the payments on his 2011 Honda Accord Coupe. He quit the online college he was attending; once his website really takes off, he says, he plans to upgrade: "My next car is going to be a BMW, for sure. …

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