Calling all suckers: Never buy a dog or sell Madonna’s former mansion in Miami.
A slew of newspapers from the Orlando Sentinel, the Associated Press and Newsweek to Forbes and NPR publish a pointless story about a “millionaire’s dog” named Gunther sleeping in Madonna’s former bedroom and setting up her former villa at 3029 Brickell Ave. On the market for $31 million.
“He lives in Madonna’s former master bedroom,” listing broker Ruthie Assoulin reportedly said in an interview. “He literally sleeps with the most amazing view in a custom Italian bed in the former bedroom of the world’s biggest pop star.”
Great story. The only problem? It’s for sure incorrect.
“No dog ever sleeps in the former Madonna’s bedroom,” said a person familiar with the deal. “This is a completely made-up story. The medium is talking nonsense. There is no dog. There has never been a dog. The owner thought it would be a fun way to score a reality TV show,” the source said.
What’s true: Assouline and her husband, Ethan, list 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 businessman from Tuscany named Maurizio Mian.
And while the villa is on the market for $31.75 million, a realtor who toured the unusual property said it’s only worth it if you can afford to tear it down and start over.
When The Post confronted him with the lie, Mian said, “It’s complicated.”
Mian admitted that “the dog does not own the house, but there is a foundation [for the care of the dog.]He went on to admit that “the dog belongs to someone else.”
Legal experts have confirmed that in the United States it is impossible to leave property for a pet – although money can be saved as a guarantee for their care.
But press reports quoted a house listing broker, Assouline, describing Gunther VI as a German shepherd with a personal chef who had a “meeting” about selling the house, and that his “handler” had bought the house for him – and that he had inherited his fortune, including the eight-room mansion Dorm on the waterfront, from his grandfather Gunther IV.
The story goes that the dog’s breed goes back decades to when Gunther III inherited a $150 million trust from the late owner, German Countess Carlotta Liebenstein when she died in 1992.
The Earthly Dog has apparently since been traveling to places like Milan, Miami, and the Bahamas.
Assouline told The Post she wasn’t aware the dog was not the owner: “At first I thought he was crazy, but I saw other people left money for their pets… How could that be an illusion? I see pictures and Google stuff – Gunther went to auction And he bought truffles for $1.1 million. There is a lot of information and history.”
However, a simple 30-second Google search would have revealed the truth – that the dog’s story is a “myth” – and a fake.
The Gunther scam was actually called out in 2005, when Mian’s Gunther Corp. paid $7.5 million to buy the house.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that “Mian once admitted to an Italian newspaper that the Countess never existed.”
Our source says the truth is that the owner, Mian, “borrowed” or “rented” the dog and that “the whole story is one big lie.”
They said: “The fake story goes back 20 years, Maurizio wanted to get into the film industry and made up this fake story. He’s the son of a billionaire. The caretaker told me the whole story too. It’s the biggest scam. It’s a joke. I’d like someone to put an end to this nonsense.” At the moment they rent a dog and are filming it at home. They rented a dog 20 years ago and now they hire another – it’s a scam.”
It’s the doghouse for storytellers hungry for publicity.