Many times I've dreamed about setting up a consulate of my very own. Why? Well, I'm an extremely diplomatic guy. I wouldn't even consider telling you about the seeds wedged between your teeth after lunch, the ungodly noise you make while sneezing, or the paper trailing from your wingtip after leaving the restroom. (Well, maybe the latter.)
Naturally, I was heartened to find someone in Michigan felt the same way!
Dr. Thomas Prose wasn't content with simply owning an enormous 16,000-square-foot brick mansion in Northville, MI. He deeded his home to the Czech government in 2004 and set it up briefly as a consulate for the people of Czech Republic.
When the Prague Post covered the diplomatic shenanigans surrounding the home in 2005, the mansion was said to be valued at $4.3 million. The $10 million jump in value over the past decade is roughly equal to the entire Czech Republic population of 10.5 million. There's no word on how many of them made the trek to Michigan to enjoy the comforts of "home" while it lasted.
The Prague Post mentioned Prose started the Michigan consulate on the condition that the property also known as Castello Montebello would revert back to his ownership in 2010. Why was he interested in helping wayward Czechs? The article claimed Prose wanted to avoid paying property tax on his mansion.
Whatever his motivation, Prose resigned his post as honorary Czech consul about a year after turning the home over to the Czechs and took back ownership of the home.
Official details on the home and its fascinating backstory seem to be cloaked in a shroud of post -- Cold War secrecy, but we managed to scrounge up some fine details. The 22-room mansion sits on over 6 acres of land and comes with all the standard luxury accoutrements; highlights include a full theater with velvet-covered seats, a piano room (!), and a wine cellar that you enter through an old bank vault door.
The home's been on the market since September 2014 and hasn't budged on its list price. Perhaps a buyer will sign an accord to take this home over before it reaches a year on the market. We're always available for bilateral talks!
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