Main Line developer Michael Pouls, who spent $22 million to build his extravagant home in Gladwyne, has been charged by the federal government with fraud. We first featured the Pouls family in June when the house went on the market. It was notable not only for its opulence, but for the fact that Pouls' older daughter, Samantha, had been featured on MTV's Teen Cribs.
Her segment showed that she was living in a wealth bubble in an almost poignantly naive way. On the episode she describes coming home from school to find her messy dressing room neat as a pin, all her clothes folded, she says, "like magic." Yes, Glinda the Good Witch has taken SEPTA to her home and folded her Juicy Couture sweatpants.
The house (pictured above), with its elevator, observatory, ice cream parlor, indoor pool, princess theme, etc., is beyond grand. In a supremely unflattering Philadelphia magazine article that discussed a scandal the Pouls were involved in at their daughters' school, the author wrote: "...to a lot of people in this community, the Poulses have a little too much money and got it a little too quickly for their own good."
Whether Michael Pouls got that money legitimately as a real estate developer until 2007 is not at issue; what is at issue is the fraud he allegedly plotted after 2007. "His motive was never to line his own pockets," his lawyer told the Inquirer, "but to save his business during an unprecedented real estate downturn." (That makes sense. Pretty much everyone in real estate did the same thing. For a while, if you went to one of those real estate brown-bag seminars, it was all: "Who's falsifying your documents? I have a fantastic girl who's doing mine, very reliable. Let me give you her number.")
Pouls' lawyer also says that Pouls admits wrongdoing and "ceased [the activity] voluntarily long ago." Voluntarily!
As of May 2012, the family was still living in the Gladwyne home. Amanda had just been bat mitzvahed and had her party at the Roxxy on Delaware Avenue. Samantha, according to her Twitter bio, "loves to have a good time, gleek, and future movie producer in the making." The house itself, built for $22 million, is now on the market for $3.8 million—quite a bargain, actually. But we wouldn't recommend making an offer—if the government makes these charges stick, Pouls will have to surrender the home. And Sam will have to surrender whatever naivete she has left.
· Main Line developer charged with defrauding banks [Inquirer]
· Main Line Estate Featured on "Teen Cribs" Back on Market [CPHI]
· STAGGERING: $3.2 Million Price Cut for 'Teen Cribs' House! [CPHI]
· Listing: 1211 Mirabeau Lane, Gladwyne [RE/MAX]