- HUCKABEE COUNTRY: Blue Mountain Beach, Fla.
Mike Huckabee, who left Arkansas, where he built the platform for his media success and which, incidentally, has an income tax, is putting down expensive roots in a beach development in Walton County, Fla., east of Destin — a $3 million home. David Koon reports:
Paperwork filed in Walton County, Fla. shows that Huckabee and wife Janet are building a new multi-million dollar home on Blue Mountain Beach. The building permit for the three-story beachfront house lists the projected cost of construction at $2.2 million. This is in addition to the cost of the land, which Walton County most recently appraised at $853,062. The land was purchased for $800,000 in 2009 by the Angus B. Wiles Trust. The trustee is Bryan Jeffrey, a Little Rock accountant who handles Huckabee’s accounting matters. A Florida official said records indicate Huckabee is the owner of the trust. Trusts are frequently established in Florida as a means of shielding the identity of property owners from easy Internet searches. County records for the trust show an $800,000 mortgage with Centennial Bank filed Nov. 20, 2009, and a $2.25 million mortgage with Centennial filed June 23. The documents indicate the first mortgage, with $550,000 still outstanding, was incorporated in a second mortgage agreement for a total debt to Centennial of $2.8 million. The records also indicate a pool or spa is in the works.
According to documents on file, the new house at 756 Blue Mountain Road will feature 8,224 square feet of living space, and 2,969 square feet of porch and deck space. The Huckabees are currently renting a house in nearby Miramar Beach. They also still own a home in North Little Rock. Janet Huckabee is often seen in town, recently at an upscale design store picking out furnishings for the new Florida home. She also has a January court date over a State Police-issued traffic ticket.
A Twitterer snapped a photo of the under-construction home, which makes it appear the house actually has four levels, the top one with what should be a panoramic Gulf view. Google shows you the sugar sand setting.
Huckabee talked to the Walton Sun newspaper about his love for Florida in an interview published this week. He didn’t mention Florida’s lack of an income tax, but he said housing prices were lower than in New York, where he produces his Fox News talk show, and that he liked the knowledge of grits and the SEC he found there, plus good, affordable restaurants. He said he continues to be undecided about a presidential run, an effort that would likely put a temporary crimp in his TV and radio work and paid speaking appearances.