President Obama May Buy Magnum PI Home (No Word on Ferrari)

Someone has bought the estate where “Magnum P.I.” Based on no apparent evidence, POLITICO speculates that it’s going to be the Obama retirement home.

When he’s done being president, could Barack Obama grow a mustache, don a Hawaiian shirt, and start driving a red Ferrari?

Obama loves Hawaii – the land of his childhood, the place where he can retreat to spectacular beaches and shaved ice — and his presidential vacations there have become a ritual. But now, there’s a chance that Hawaii residents could see him actually taking up residence there again, and in one of the island’s most famous properties, no less: the “Magnum, P.I.”house.

The luxurious beachfront Hawaiian home made famous by the ’80s television series — the backdrop for Tom Selleck’s adventures as a skirt-chasing, freeloading private investigator — was sold this week in a mysterious transaction that involves a prominent Obama friend and one of his major donors.

And while the White House isn’t confirming anything, there’s a lot of talk among residents of Waimanalo, the beachfront area of Honolulu where the property is located, that they’re expecting to see Obama and his family hanging out there once he’s done with the White House.

So, the house is in Hawaii, Obama likes Hawaii, and he’s gonna need a new place to live in a couple years? QED. But, wait, there’s more!

The deed and the mortgage are both signed by Judy Grimanis, KHON reported. Grimanis is an executive assistant at The Vistria Group, a private-equity firm in Chicago run by Marty Nesbitt, a frequent Obama golf and travel partner in Hawaii. Nesbitt is one of Obama’s top 10 golf partners, having played with him 18 times during his presidency, according to records compiled by POLITICO.

I mean, the only way it could have been more obvious—I mean, why would someone who works at a private-equity firm that happens to be owned by a guy who has played golf with Obama 18 times be doing buying property if not as part of a secret plot to transfer it to Obama in two years? I mean, c’mon, right?

None of the documents mention Obama, and the search for clues to confirm the home’s real purpose has turned into a sleuthing exercise worthy of … well, a private investigator.

The White House declined to comment and referred all questions about the sale to Nesbitt. A senior administration official told POLITICO only that “the president is not a party to this transaction.”

This is Benghazi all over again. Why won’t Obama come clean and admit that it’s his place? What does he have to hide?

(On a more serious note, if this is true, how cool would it be? Would you rather live in Robin Masters’ house or on a ranch in Crawford, Texas?)

FILED UNDER: Humor, Popular Culture, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mikey says:

    President Obama May Buy Magnum PI Home (No Word on Ferrari)

    No Ferrari, no deal. They have to come as a package. It’s the only way to maintain the integrity of spacetime.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    Grammar police note,

    Based on no apparent evidence, POLITICO speculates…

    is redundant.

  3. CSK says:

    The shirts. The Hawaiian shirts. The shirts with the hibiscus print. Surely those are part of the package?????

  4. KM says:

    (On a more serious note, if this is true, how cool would it be? Would you rather live in Robin Masters’ house or on a ranch in Crawford, Texas?)

    Throw in Zeus and Apollo and you’ve got a deal! (The Secret Service is already providing the helicopter)

  5. Scott says:

    @CSK: And OP cord shorts

  6. Pinky says:

    Great. Guess what theme song is stuck in my head now.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:


    No Ferrari, no deal.

    Speaking as someone who was once dumb enough to buy one (I blame it on mid-life crisis …), he’s better off passing on the Ferrari.

    The thing was a mechanical nightmare that belched parts and various fluids with regularity. Note that the likelihood of this behavior occurring was directly proportional to how critical getting to one’s destination happened to be.

    En route to grab a snack? No worries. En route to an important meeting in the city? You’ll be stranded on the Bruckner, thank you very much. Enjoy your time sitting in the South Bronx waiting for a tow.

    I finally came to the conclusion that it was homesick and liked Miller Motorcars better than it liked my house. It must have. It spent more time in Greenwich than it ever did with me. Never again …

  8. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I have no doubt the car is about as dependable as the weather, and my G37 would leave it in the dust, but still…that house without the red 308 in front would just be wrong.

    In fact, he doesn’t even have to drive it, just park it out front and lean on it once in a while…

  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    … looks like we’re gonna needa bigger moustache.

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Probably. I had an F430, so I only know about that particular model, but I can’t imagine that the 308’s were any better. They’re useful for looking great in one’s garage, but that’s about it.

    The tipping point for me was clutch failure – at 19,000 miles. The delightful F1 paddle gearbox just shifts into neutral / refuses to engage and leaves you sitting right where you are. The friendly technician at Miller informed me that this was a normal lifespan for a clutch in this car – i.e. no warranty coverage. Cost to replace? Slightly over $7,500, and we’ll be seeing you again in another 20,000 miles for the same thing. Just leave your checkbook with us πŸ˜€

    I sold it back to Miller, took a bath financially and learned my lesson. My wife, however, still mines endless humor from the experience – at my expense. I love the sound of her laugh, so I guess it’s not all bad.

  11. roger says:

    Just suppose Friend of Obama buys house and lets Obama live there for free. Magnum stayed in the guest house for free because Robin Masters hired him for whatever reason. Toss in the Hawaiian shirts, Ferrari, cigars and find a new Higgins, then we’re set. POTUS, P.I., a Netflix Original.

  12. Gustopher says:

    If this story isn’t true, then I hope Obama talks to his buddy over golf and gets him to pressure his employee to sell, and that it becomes true.

    Also, he so needs to become a private investigator. Just him, staking out some guy’s house, looking for a mistress or something, and four black vans filled with secret service folks parked down the street.

  13. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Ouch! I guess they figure if you can afford the car, you can afford to do a clutch swap every 20K miles. Hey, at least it wasn’t a Veyron (for which a new set of tires runs $50K and is mandated every 10K miles, holy shit).

    I just read the Ferrari 328 is considered one of the most reliable Ferraris made, so maybe the Prez wouldn’t be so bad off taking the car with the house.

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I could afford it, I suppose, but deep down I’m basically cheap at heart. (No Jewish stereotype jokes plz … LOL) There is something that is just fundamentally offensive about a clutch that only lasts 20,000 miles – by design – and costs more than my first entire CAR to replace …

    In retrospect, I should have known better. The things offer a limited range of benefits:

    Chicks dig them – Yea, but I’m married, and my wife would kill me. No, she’d divorce me, clean me out and THEN kill me. πŸ™‚

    They go really fast – Yea, but I spend a good deal of my driving life on I-95, I-278 and the FDR. None of these really lend themselves to going fast.

    They look great, and people will be impressed – Yea, true, but this is somewhat nullified by the fact that they break down – a lot – and people will laugh at you sitting in your lawn ornament on the side of the expressway as they pass by in their bulletproof Toyotas with 150,000 miles on the odometers.

    My wife, of course, pointed all of this out to me before I bought the thing, but I knew better. Famous last words …

  15. James P says:

    Will he be using Tony Rezko as an agent? Hopefully this real estate transaction will be more on the up-and-up than his previous real estate transactions.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Maybe Sean Hannity can play the ever whiny “Rick” character in Obama’s post retirement reality TV remake of Magnum…

  17. Grewgills says:

    If true my wife’s commute to work will probably take a bit longer.

  18. Grewgills says:

    That house by the way is in a sleepy little town on a two lane highway with one smallish driveway. It seems like it would be tough to secure his comings and goings and could be a traffic nightmare for everyone that lives nearby. His places in Lanikai and Kailua are better situated for him.

  19. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I really (REALLY REALLY) want one of these. But it’s also utterly impractical in the D. C. area traffic, and expensive to maintain (although not nearly so much as a Ferrari).

    I’m not sure how many chicks it would attract. I’d probably end up with a bunch of “Fast and Furious” fanboys instead…lol…

  20. wr says:

    We heard exactly the same thing down here in the SoCal desert when someone put in an offer on Joseph Wambaugh’s old house in Rancho Mirage shortly after Obama hosted a conference at Sunnylands.

  21. wr says:

    By the way, I eagerly await Pinky, Bill and the other idiot trolls to start whining about how Obama is turning his back on America by moving to this foreign country.

  22. Shell96825 says:

    Very cool that POTUS intends to reside in Hawaii. As a local he should have chosen Kaneohe or Kailua because due to lack of roads & overriding infrastructure, Waimanelo is a poor choice as it is already overwhelmed with over traffic on one main artery and well within inundation zone. Further, the turtle ponds have historically been since 1930’s public beaches open to all of us who are Waimanelo residents ACCESS. I appreciate POTUS but wish his real estate purchasers would respect the everyday Hawaii citizens’ need to get in and out of our neighborhoods without needed security credentials to do so. Further, any time that the most wealthy of buyers (the LLCs promoters who arranged this deal) selects a historic property in Hawaii with its original Ohana, it’s concerning to all of us Aunties and Uncles that RESPECT be given for our history and sacred lands.

  23. anjin-san says:


    That’s a lot of car for the money. This is all I need to be happy – maybe for my 60th birthday…

  24. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san: Oh, that’s pretty. I love the look of the Maserati. The Italian cars are always gorgeous, flowing lines and beautiful design inside and out. They romance you and they are damn good at it.

    Then the GT-R just shows up and bludgeons everyone else into submission. It has beautiful lines of its own, but I wouldn’t describe it as “gorgeous” or “flowing.” It’s the epitome of form following function.

  25. James P says:

    Yet his brother lives in a shack in Kenya.

    Obama has the gall to say “I am my brother’s keeper” yet his own flesh and blood lives in a shack in the middle of a shanty town. Nice family values.

    I wish it were Obama who were living in the hut.

    I can only hope that his life savings is depleted from legal expenses. Obama is a complete and total fraud and I have faith that the legal system will eventually catch up with him. He should be living behind bars.

  26. anjin-san says:


    I love Italian design in general. This is the amp I have in the living room sound system, there are a number of Italian manufactures making gear that is both sonically and visually beautiful.

    It would be nice if I can make the Maserati happen some day. You can pick up a 3 year lease return at a price that is not too crazy.

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:


    That is a beautiful car.

    I finally came to my senses (with some help from the wife) and realized (again, with some help from the wife …) that I’m a middle-aged attorney whose youngest kid is about to go off to college, so I got something more appropriate for a guy at this point in his life.

  28. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Wow. Just … wow … πŸ˜€

    I feel so old trundling around in my sedan now. LOL, thanks guys πŸ™

  29. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san: I’ve looked at “pre-owned” GT-Rs, there are some good deals on those as well. I hope to have one at some point, but realistically, I don’t know, we’re looking to buy a house and we have a son we’ll have to get through college, etc. etc.

    Still, a guy has to have a dream, right? πŸ™‚

  30. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I have a sedan too, but it’s SPORTY!

    Actually, it is, it’ll do 0-60 in about five seconds. Not too shabby.

  31. Loviatar says:


    Nice, though I prefer the 5 series, classic combination of beauty and straight out driving ability. The 3 series is a little too small and was obviously designed for a single/non-family person, the 7 series always seemed a little over the top and to me was just a little uhhh, compensating. πŸ˜‰


    I’m in love with your amp. OMG the look.

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:


    0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. It’s a twin-turbo V12, but it’s still a sedan πŸ™

  33. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Agreed, the 7 series is essentially a boat. I went back and forth for a while trying to figure out which one I liked better / which one better suited my needs.

    It finally came down to how and where I drive these days. Most of my driving time is spent in traffic, and it made the most sense to go for comfort and additional space.

  34. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Someone in my office building just bought one of those. I haven’t gotten a close-up look at it though. I figured it had to have something significant under the hood to be so big and so quick too.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    I went through a phase when I moved from poor to rich-adjacent where I sort of automatically bought the most expensive thing. (First car I bought with Animorphs money was a Mercedes S-500. Loved that car. Loved it to an embarrassing degree.) Used to get a suite at whatever Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons was nearest. I never had a sports car thing, but I did have a “4 hour tasting menu and keep the limo waiting,” thing.

    Now I’ve matured a little. Sofitel is 90% as good as Four Seasons at half the price. And if I want to be able to drink, Uber is. . . Okay, it’s not as fun as keeping a stretch waiting, but it’s a lot more practical. And my E350 cabriolet is more fun than the S-500, and a whole lot easier to park. And I’m renting, not buying, because I’ve noticed that my wanderlust is incompatible with “25% down and all you do for the first ten years is pay interest.”

    I have however permanently moved out of coach. Because moving out of coach is totally worth it.

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:


    It’ll stand up and haul it when you tell it to, but the downside is 13 city / 19 highway, and the thing requires premium gas. It can somehow tell the difference if you use regular and it’ll void your warranty if you do πŸ™

  37. C. Clavin says:

    I’ll play…this is one of my rides…Italian, red, and stupid fast.

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Part of my compensation is an auto allowance, so the firm is essentially paying for the car, and I have an assigned parking space in the building that they pay for, so parking wasn’t as much of a concern as it would have been otherwise. I totally get the parking consideration in Marin / SF Bay.

    That said, it was a hard decision. I liked the size of the 5 series better, but it wasn’t as comfortable. In the end, comfort won out.

    LOL, I’m feeling older by the minute here …

  39. Loviatar says:

    @ michael reynolds:

    Used to love MB, when I lived in Stuttgart I made the trip over to HQ, awesome history lesson. For those who don’t know, Ford did not invent the automobile. I brought a E350 a few years ago with some bonus money, ended up giving it to my mom. No comparison to the BMW 5 series, the feel and driving ability of the 5 series is unmatched. For me the luxury elements are equitable, but once you drive a 5 series you see why they call it the ultimate driving machine.


    @ HarvardLaw92:

    If you get a chance take a drive up to Duchess county or the Finger Lakes region you’ll love it. Open it up on some of those winding country roads and you’ll get a feel for what the car is designed to do in Germany. Next one I purchase I’m doing the European delivery program.

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I keep saying I’m going to do something like that someday – just take an extended road trip and drive for the sake of the fun of driving, but there never seems to be enough time, you know? Someday just never gets here …

    Seems like the flip-side of success – the more that you earn and the better than you do professionally, the less time that you seem to have to enjoy it.

  41. Loviatar says:


    Seems like the flip-side of success – the more that you earn and the better than you do professionally, the less time that you seem to have to enjoy it.

    I’ve told my family this will be my epithet: Veni Vidi Feci

    Don’t wait, its always later than you think.

  42. C. Clavin says:

    My epithet is going to be:

    I can’t believe Keith Richards out-lived me!!!

  43. CB says:


    Ugh the GT-R is just gorgeous. Perfect lines.

    …Ha, I hadn’t even finished reading when I posted. I disagree! Flat out gorgeous.

  44. anjin-san says:


    I put some Telefunken ECC88s (1967 date codes) in the Pathos amp recently and the results were pretty spectacular. I have another Italian amp in the bedrooms system, but it is not nearly as pretty.

    This is probably my next stop if I decide I need an amp upgrade. Tim de Paravicini’s Yoshino V12. More audio eye candy…

  45. anjin-san says:


    It’s good to dream. I know that my house tends to eat up money that I could be spending on hot cars. Think about a Z. My 350 is lots of fun to drive, looks great, and the bang for the buck is very good. The only real down check on it is that if you are really pushing it flat out, the performance will tend to degrade, not sign the way a truly fine sports car will. But in the real world, how often do you drive like that?

  46. anjin-san says:

    Sorry, “sign” should be “sing”…

  47. Mikey says:

    @CB: I love the lines. But it’s not romantic like an Italian car. Every line has a purpose and there’s nothing superfluous. Everything about it just says “I will crush you.”

    It’s not for nothing the GT-R’s nickname is “Godzilla.”

  48. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san: My car (my wife drives it sometimes, but even she will say “Mike’s car”) is a G37. I love that thing. It’s comfortable, it rides well, the handling is superb, it has lots of cool tech, and you know what happens when you push your right foot to the floor. Which, as you say, is not nearly often enough.

  49. Loviatar says:


    Whenever I see an Italian designed product I always think Sophia and Gina. Classic Italian design; all curves and sleek aggressiveness.

  50. anjin-san says:


    A young Sophia Loren would have looked very fine in the Maserati.

    Are you a jazz lover? Italian artists such as Gianluigi Trovesi & Enrico Rava get a lot of airplay at my place.

  51. Gustopher says:

    Obama is a family man, so something with more than two seats would be a lot more practical.

    He should but the A-Team van.

  52. Matt says:

    Meanwhile I had to blow all my savings on parts ($400 roughly) to get my 1995 del sol S (d15b7 engine) running again. I was intending to use that money to pay for summer classes but I need the car for income.

    It’s great that you guys can afford all that pretty stuff though.

  53. Mikey says:

    @Matt: Yeah, I remember those days. Saving up to buy two retreads (couldn’t afford four) because the steel belts were starting to show through the ones on my car, that was always fun.

    Few of us started out being able to afford the pretty stuff. You seem like someone who will get there too.

  54. Matt says:

    @Mikey: Biggest issue is my car live all it’s life in the rust belt area. So that means the toe in bolts for the back of my car are completely rusted in place. So my rear tires both point to the right some (driver side rear is toed in while passenger side is toed out). Causes one hell of a tire howl when I drive above 30 mph. It just makes everything harder because everything is rusted in place so I have to be careful to avoid snapping bolts whenever I do any work on it.

    I might get there someday or I might not it’ll just depend on how much life shits on me in the next couple years.

    I guess I just wanted to remind them of what they have so they might appreciate it a little more. I know Micheal for sure has fought his way to where he is and as such appreciates it in a grounded manner.

  55. Mikey says:

    @Matt: I grew up in the Detroit area, I know exactly what you mean. All it takes is a couple winters with all that snow and wet and that damn road salt, and everything just seizes up. Good luck even changing a flat tire when the lug nuts are just encrusted with that crap..

    Don’t let it get you down. It takes a lot of hard work sometimes, that’s for sure, but it’s usually rewarded, if not immediately than a little ways down the line.

  56. T says:

    @Mikey: unfortunately godzilla likes to break when driven hard. I used to corner marshal for HPDE’s and motorcycle track days and almost every single GTR that someone would bring, stock or modified, would have issues. it was awesome being a marshal though, people would come from all over in their modded F350 dualie or the more wealthy guys would have an RV (so they could just stay at the track for several days) towing a hauler with their corvette or porsche or bmw and spare tires, wheels, brakes, etc etc etc.

    had a guy in a red 458 trigger his car alarm while he drove around the track. something with the electronics/wiring in the car messed up and so his horn, headlights, interior lights were going off while he’s trying to focus on driving as fast as possible.

  57. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: Not a Nissan 350Z? That’s my dream car.

    Unfortunately, I do need to schlep stuff around so I was prudent and bought a Versa instead.

    (Why, oh why, won’t someone make a snazzy two-seater with a TRUNK?!)

  58. grumpy realist says:

    Though if I ever get the $$$, my dream ride would be a Javelin. 0.9 Mach.

  59. T says:

    @grumpy realist: they do, they’re called hatchbacks.

  60. EddieInCA says:!!!?s=b5b5aa4ba694e25075bbb3037de358d1&p=296993#post296993

    Imagine this car, as a convertible, and in dark, blue. That’s my daily ride here in So. Cal.

    Mine’s a 1966 Galaxie Convertible, bagged all around, modern brakes, suspension, and FE Engine. Custom Gear Vendors Overdrive. I figured why drop $40-$60K on another Lexus or Benz that will depreciate down to $10K when I can spend $50K on this, drive it for five years, and unload it for $40K.

    Like others, though, I a huge fan of the MBenzs. My wife’s car is a 2003 AMG 55 Cabriolet, and I freaking LOVE driving that car with the top down.

    My dream car, though, is a 1992 Ferrai Mondial Cabriolet. I can find a good used one for $30K, but I know what a nightmare the maintenence is.


  61. EddieInCA says:

    The link didn’t work properly, so it’s the dark red one about 1/2 way down the page. Post #7