Calling all suckers: A dog did not buy and is not selling Madonna’s former Miami mansion.
A slew of newspapers from the Orlando Sentinel, the Associated Press and Newsweek to Forbes and NPR are reporting an inane story about a “millionaire dog” named Gunther sleeping in Madonna’s former bedroom and putting her former villa at 3029 Brickell Ave. on the market for $31 million.
“He lives in Madonna’s former master bedroom,” the listing broker Ruthie Assouline reportedly said in an interview. “He literally sleeps overlooking the most magnificent view in an Italian custom bed in the former bedroom of the greatest pop star in the world.”
Great story. The only problem? It is emphatically not true.
“There is no dog sleeping in Madonna’s former bedroom,” said a person with direct knowledge of the deal. “This is a totally made up story. The broker is talking nonsense. There is no dog. There never was a dog. The owner thought it would be a fun way to score a reality TV show. That’s it,” the source said.
What is true: Assouline and her husband Ethan are listing the waterfront home for $31.75 million. But their client, the real owner, is not a dog. He’s a wealthy — albeit eccentric — 65-year-old Italian entrepreneur from Tuscany named Maurizio Mian.
And although the villa is on the market for $31.75 million, “It’s only worth it if you can afford to tear it down and start again,” opined a broker who has toured the unusual property.
When confronted by The Post with the lie Mian said, “It’s complicated.”
“A dog doesn’t own the house,” admitted Mian, “but there is a foundation [for the care of the dog.]” He went on to confess that, “The dog belonged to someone else.”
Legal experts confirmed that in the United States it is impossible to leave property to a pet — although money can be set aside in trust for their care.
But newspaper reports quote the home’s listing broker, Assouline, describing Gunther VI as a jet-setting German shepherd with a personal chef who held a “meeting” regarding the home sale, and that his “handlers” bought the house for him — and that he inherited his fortune, including the eight-bedroom waterfront mansion, from his grandfather, Gunther IV.
The story goes that the dog’s lineage dates back decades to when Gunther III inherited a $150 million trust from late owner German countess Karlotta Liebenstein when she died in 1992.
The worldly canine has apparently been traveling ever since to places like Milan, Miami and the Bahamas.
Assouline tells The Post that she was unaware that the dog was not the owner: “At first I thought it was insane, but I saw that other people left money to their pets … How could it be an illusion? I see photos and I google things — Gunther went to an auction and bought a $1.1 million truffle. There is so much information and so much history.”
A simple 30-second Google search, however, would have uncovered the truth — that the dog story is a “legend” — and a fake.
The Gunther hoax had already been called out way back in 2005, when Mian’s shell company Gunther Corp. paid $7.5 million for the home.
“Mian once admitted to an Italian newspaper that the countess never existed,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
The truth, our source says, is that the owner, Mian, “borrowed” or “rented” the dog and that, “The whole story is one big lie.”
“The fake story goes back 20 years,” they said, “Maurizio wanted to get into the film business and made up this fake story. He is the son of a billionaire. The caretaker told me the whole story, too. It is the biggest scam. It is a joke. I would like someone to put an end to to this nonsense. Right now, they have hired a dog and are filming him at the house. They hired a dog 20 years ago and now they’ve hired another — it is a scam.”
It’s the doghouse for these publicity-starved storytellers.