Bill Gates, America’s richest man, is set to return to Wellington for the second winter in a row.
This time, real estate sources tell me, Gates signed a lease for a $10 million-mansion in the chi-chi enclave of Mallet Hill, inside of the Palm Beach Polo development.
The Microsoft mogul’s new digs are near the show-jumping stadium and, like last year, his 16-year-old daughter Jennifer is scheduled to train and compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
“It’s a larger property than he one he had last year,” a well-placed source who asked for confidentiality said. “The barn is better and more modern and there’s more space to train.”
Gates, 57, is believed to have signed a $500,000-deal for four months on the Mallet Hill Court digs. The 5-acre property, owned by equestrian Linda Juckette, is currently for sale for $10.5 million, according to real estate records.
The main house boasts only four bedrooms and bathrooms on 7,230 square feet. The land, however, also includes a show-jumping training area as well as a brand-new barn with 20 stalls and apartments for the workers.
A spywitness said moving trucks were seen on the property over the weekend. Among the equipment are six new golf carts to be used by Gates’ security crew.
Last year, Gates hired three Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies, all members of the SWAT teams, to patrol the grounds.
“They were funny,” said a former neighbor of Gates. “The PBSO guys wear riding boots and blue blazers. They’re sorta undercover, but you can tell they’re law enforcement.”
Gates is believed to be worth $65 billion, despite giving away $28 billion to diverse charities over the years. He and wife Melinda have three children.
Homeowner Juckette couldn’t be contacted and the Realtor who has her listing didn’t return calls. Gates’ people do not comment on the super-geek’s whereabouts. And neighbors Stuart Roffman, the entrepreneur owner of mega-yacht Lion Share, and Sulhail Rizvi, a private equity banker, didn’t comment.
Last year, one of Gates’ favorite hangouts was Oli’s Fashion Cuisine, a restaurant on West Forest Hill Boulevard.