Lawyerly Lairs, Nauseating Things, Real Estate, Travel / Vacation

Lawyerly Lairs: A Skadden Partner’s ‘Hideous’ House Causes Cape Cod Controversy

Skadden partner Hilary Foulkes

Longtime Skadden partner Hilary Foulkes, recognized by Chambers and Partners for his expertise in cross-border M&A work, is quite distinctive-looking. And so is his Cape Cod vacation house, in Chatham — which is causing some trouble with the locals.

Hilary and Tina Foulkes — we thought they were lesbians, until we saw his photo — have given their house a very unusual paint job. The Cape Cod Times describes it as containing “[s]hades of neon green, lime green and citrus yellow.”

Village resident Norm Pacun calls the house “hideous” and “not what’s appropriate.” It certainly stands out in a neighborhood of New England white clapboards.

What do you think? Check out a photo and find out why the Foulkeses may have painted the house this way, below the fold….

A picture of the house appears at right. It looks to us like Kermit the Frog’s dream house. For additional, larger images, visit the Cape Cod Times, and click on the slideshow at the top of the article.

So why does the house look like this? Foulkes may hold a grudge against some townspeople:

From 2007 to 2009, [village resident Norm] Pacun was among dozens of opponents who successfully fought the Foulkeses’ plans to renovate the historic John Hallett House. The last hearing was in July 2007.

The couple’s lawyer, William Riley, yesterday rejected any thought that his clients are thumbing their noses at people in town, and he just laughed when asked about the choice of colors.

Hilary Foulkes “definitely is a strong believer in private property rights,” Riley said, after speaking to his client in Germany as recently as Monday. “This is just the way he wants to use his property. The building needed to be painted.”

Is it plausible that Foulkes would want to live in an ugly house, just to spite neighbors who thwarted his renovation plans? Doesn’t he have to look at the house too?

Well, not really. First, he mainly lives in Germany, near Frankfurt; he vacations in Chatham just two to three times a year, according to his lawyer. Second, Foulkes is so wealthy that this is actually his second house in Chatham; he has another place to stay when he visits the Cape (and rents out space in the ugly distinctive-looking house to the Old Village Art Gallery, an artists’ cooperative).

Foulkes’s primary residence in Chatham must be fabulous, since the crazily-colored house didn’t come cheap. The Foulkeses laid down a lot of green before painting it green; they paid $1.9 million for it, back in 2007.

In fairness to the Foulkes family, their aborted renovation plans didn’t sound outrageous:

They sought a special permit to move the building six feet back from Main Street so that they could put up a fence and let their kids out to play in the yard without any worries. They wanted to add a dormer, widow’s walk and roof deck and replace a nonhistoric ell to the rear.

They planned to preserve the historic exterior and interior but were denied by every town board, Riley said, which was disappointing.

The animosity that seems to exist between Foulkes and some of the locals could be rooted in how he allegedly conducted himself during the approvals process:

After the appeals board meeting several years ago, Foulkes and his supporters waited outside to shout at board members and call them names, Pacun said.

“This is not one nice guy. He’s a hard-nosed litigator,” Pacun said.

Well, actually, Hilary Foulkes is a transactional attorney (and a very good one at that). But he works at Skadden, where even the corporate types can be aggressive — so consider him an honorary litigator.

Vacation houses are one of the nicest perks of being a law firm partner — but they can definitely cause a lot of headaches, too.

Color scheme in Chatham [Cape Cod Times]
Corporate/M&A: Germany [Chambers and Partners]
Hilary S. Foulkes [Skadden Arps]

Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Robert Link’s $6 Million Hamptons House

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