WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s best pal, Marty Nesbitt, has orchestrated the purchase of a posh house in Hawaii, appearing to set the stage for the president and first lady Michelle to spend more time on the island of his birth after they leave the White House.
Nesbitt is the chair of the Chicago-based Barack Obama Foundation and is overseeing the development of the Obama library, museum and academic center as well as putting together plans for Obama’s post-presidential years. He is the co-founder and co-CEO of The Vistria Group, a private equity firm.
The house is at 41-505 Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu. Seth Madorsky, the Chicago lawyer representing Nesbitt, confirmed the purchase, saying in an email, “Marty Nesbitt has authorized me to advise you that I represented him in connection with the purchase. Marty did not have any partners or co-investors in the transaction.”
The home sale was reported by KHON, the Pacific Business News and other Hawaii news outlets. The Pacific Business News reported the sale price for the beachfront home at $8.7 million and that “the entity that recently closed on the sale, Wamanalo Paradise LLC, lists as its manager Judy Grimanis, an executive assistant for Chicago-based venture capital and private equity firm The Vistria Group.”
Obama is a Hawaii native. For years, the Obama family has returned to the island of his birth almost every Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Nesbitt and his family often vacation with the Obamas in Hawaii.
The Obamas’ family home is in Kenwood, on Chicago’s South Side.
Obama has said that after they leave the White House in January 2017, daughter Sasha, who will still be a student at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, will decide where they will live until she graduates. The oldest daughter, Malia, will be a college freshman in 2017, and Sasha will be in 10th grade when the Obama family moves out of the White House.
The Hawaii house purchase comes as the Nesbitt-led Obama foundation is in the final stages of evaluating sites for the Obama development. The finalists are the University of Hawaii, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Columbia University in New York. The U. of Hawaii is likely to get a satellite facility and work in tandem with the school that wins the project.
Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is on the Obama foundation board and lives and works in Hawaii.