When it last went to market, the gated mansion on the pier was listed as Baltimore’s “most extraordinary home.”
Five levels rise from a pier stretching hundreds of feet into the Inner Harbor. A rooftop veranda offers sweeping views of the Baltimore skyline.
The $6 million architectural feat sold five years ago to a mysterious legal entity, Clear Toaster LLC. That’s just a cover.
It’s the home and hideout of disgraced actor Kevin Spacey.
In documents recently filed in federal court in Manhattan, Spacey, 62, acknowledged for the first time the distinctive mansion and City of Baltimore as his home since February 2017. A federal lawsuit in New York has forced him to crack open the door to his private life in Baltimore.
It’s no small feat for the world-famous actor to live mostly unnoticed in Baltimore. He’s occasionally recognized passing through the Inner Harbor, at the restaurant of the Sagamore Pendry hotel in Fells Point and, in the mornings, walking his dog, Boston, in Locust Point. He takes Boston to the Light Street Animal Hospital in Riverside.
“He has a tremendous bond with his pet,” said Dr. John Trujillo, the veterinarian.
On the streets, Spacey wears a hat pulled low and sunglasses. He keeps the shades drawn to his home. The court records offer a glimpse into the steps he takes to avoid attention.
Spacey told the judge that he used a legal entity to buy the South Baltimore mansion, and that he leases apartments next door at the Ritz-Carlton Residences. In the luxury apartments, he holds business meetings and puts up staff. The financial maneuvers keep Spacey’s name off the paperwork at a time when allegations of sexual misconduct pile up against him.
“All or most of the real estate I have purchased in my life has been structured in a manner to protect my privacy and safety,” Spacey wrote the judge.
A two-time Academy Award winner, Spacey has been sued in Manhattan for allegedly making a sexual advance on a teenage boy at a party in the 1980s. Jurisdiction in the case hinges on a question: Where does Kevin Spacey live?
The answer determines whether the lawsuit proceeds in New York state or federal court. Spacey’s attorneys moved the case to federal court and argued to keep it there. In such cases, defense attorneys generally prefer federal court for the technical rules, jury pool and judges. Spacey submitted property records, financial statements and vet bills to prove Baltimore is his home.
Spacey arrived in Maryland about a decade ago to film “House of Cards.” In the popular Netflix series, he stars as the ruthless politician Frank Underwood.
“After two years of gradually discovering the charm and beauty of Maryland, I had fallen in love with the place and decided to make Maryland my permanent home. By that time, House of Cards was a success but I loved Maryland so much that I intended to live there regardless what happened with the show or how long it ran,” he wrote the judge.
In 2014, Spacey bought an eight-bedroom home on the Severn River under the name Greybeard Industries Trust, according to court records. He paid $5.5 million for the home in the Swann Point Estates neighborhood of Severna Park. Three years later, he moved to Baltimore and sold the home for a loss of $1.6 million. The listing read “motivated sellers.”
“I already knew that I wanted to stay in Baltimore and, after moving into the Pier Home, I determined it was the right place for me in Baltimore and a place I wanted to make my long-term home,” he wrote.
In court records, Spacey describes his attempts at philanthropic and community service projects in Baltimore. The actor contacted Under Armour founder Kevin Plank to discuss an idea of building a performing arts theater at the company campus. He was in talks with Johns Hopkins University about starting a program to provide mental health care and physical rehabilitation for performing artists. Spacey wrote that he tried to buy and renovate a historic 300-seat theater in Baltimore. He did not name the theater.
“I had been looking for years for a way to bring a film festival to Baltimore among my other efforts to support the arts and culture scene in Baltimore,” he wrote.
In October 2017, however, the actor’s career tanked after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him publicly. The actor Anthony Rapp gave an interview to BuzzFeed News and accused Spacey of making an unwanted sexual advance on him during a party in the 1980s.
Rapp was 14 years old; Spacey, 26. The Baltimore Banner does not typically identify victims of abuse, but Rapp has spoken publicly about the alleged encounter.
In a summary of the allegation, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan referred to the actor by his legal name of Kevin Fowler.
“Mr. Rapp claims that Mr. Fowler lifted him up, that Mr. Fowler’s hand ‘grazed’ Mr. Rapp’s clothed buttock for seconds as he did so, that Mr. Fowler placed Mr. Rapp back down on a bed, and Mr. Fowler then briefly placed his own clothed body partially beside and partially across Mr. Rapp’s,” the judge wrote. “Mr. Rapp ‘wriggled out,’ got up, and left the premises.”
Rapp told the courts he suffers emotional distress and psychological injuries. He said he decided to speak out after the Harvey Weinstein sex abuse scandal. Rapp sued Spacey two years ago after New York lawmakers lifted the statute of limitations. He’s seeking at least $75,000.
Netflix fired Spacey and scrapped his future film projects. Producers later sued him for breach of contract. More than a dozen men have since accused Spacey of unwanted sexual advances, harassment or groping, according to news reports. Last month, British prosecutors announced criminal charges and accused Spacey of sexually assaulting three men more than a decade ago when he directed London’s famous Old Vic Theatre.
In a statement to “Good Morning America,” Spacey said he will voluntarily appear before the British courts and feels confident he will prove his innocence. He’s scheduled to appear Thursday in court in London.
Since the allegations, Spacey has retreated from public view. Evan Nierman, founder and CEO of the public relations firm Red Banyan, advises clients in crisis communications. Nierman, whose firm doesn’t represent Spacey, said celebrities, more so than others, have the money and influence to avoid attention.
“You do that by not going to public places. Or if you are, you sit in a private room away from other diners. In many instances, you’ll make arrangements in advance to come through a side door or back door to avoid detection,” he said. “It is possible, but it takes a lot of planning.”
Meanwhile, the vet bills, property and financial records proved enough to satisfy the court. The judge accepted Baltimore as Spacey’s home and denied requests by Rapp’s attorneys to move the lawsuit to state court. The trial is set for October.
During a hearing on the issue last month, Spacey told the judge he’s attached to Baltimore and feels “beguiled by its charm, its beauty,” according to news reports. Spacey did not respond to a letter from The Banner. His attorney did not return a message.
When a reporter walked up and rang his callbox, the automated gate swung open. Would the actor break his silence?
No one answered a knock at the door. No one but a dog, barking — presumably Boston.