Leonardo DiCaprio Buys Malibu Beachfront Home from one of Trump’s Cabinet Picks

Secretary of Army nominee Vincent Viola sold the property to the actor for $23 million

Serial real estate investor Leonardo DiCaprio has paid one of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks $23 million for a nearly barren 1.8-acre Malibu beachfront lot, property records show.

The land on Pacific Coast Highway is located in an exclusive neighborhood of celebrity-owned mansions, wedged directly between “Friends” star Courteney Cox and TV producer Mark Burnett, according to property records. But unlike their impressive beachfront homes, “The Revenant” star’s new digs consist of a one-bedroom, cliff-side bungalow the size of a modest Manhattan apartment.

From the highway, a thick of trees and overgrown brush cover the property, guarded by a basic chain-link fence. But beyond the fence, along an unkempt gravel road, is what looks like an impressive and unobscured cliffside vista.

As stars do, Mr. DiCaprio, 42, bought the property under an obscure limited liability company called Jinpar 1031 at the end of November, according to the deed, which lists the mailing address of Mr. DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way.

The seller was none other than Mr. Trump’s pick for Army secretary, Vincent Viola, a billionaire investor, who bought the home back in 2006 from English film director Sir Ridley Scott for $11 million, according to property records. Mr. Viola’s son, Michael Viola, signed the home over Mr. DiCaprio’s LLC, according to the deed.

Mr. Viola is no stranger to the real estate spotlight. He and his wife, Teresa, made headlines in in 2013 when they listed their restored 19th Century Upper East Side townhouse for $114 million.

Before this off-market deal came along, Mr. Viola briefly tried to sell the Malibu property in the summer of 2012 for $15 million, but then pulled it off the market, listing records show. At the time, the listing marketed the mostly undeveloped plot as an “opportunity to create your own private sanctuary on the bluffs overlooking Paradise Cove.”

It’s unlikely Mr. DiCaprio is joining the tiny house movement. Ahead of the sale, a property manager for Mr. Viola got approval from the city to raze the guest house and build a new, two-story residence with a swimming pool, cliffside deck, onsite wastewater treatment and a private beach, according to Malibu records.

Mr. DiCaprio’s purchase comes amid a flurry of sales and listings by the actor. Last year, he sold his Studio City house for $2.237 million and his condo in Greenwich Village for $8 million. The “Titanic” star is still trying to sell a different Malibu pad for $10.95 million, about seven times what he paid for it.

A publicist for Mr. DiCaprio did not immediately return a request for comment.

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