A princely estate


Paul Clinton

Glenn Stearns found a castle for his princess.

Last week, Stearns closed escrow on a classically styled private

estate in Newport Coast, splitting two lots in the Pelican Hill

neighborhood. But the road the 39-year-old mortgage loan magnate took

to get there may overshadow even the home’s considerable price tag.

He and his fiancee are now settling in.

“We ended up taking a look at it and just decided ‘why not,’”

Stearns said breezily. “We were just ready to go for it.”

Less than a year ago, in September, Stearns found himself playing

the tables at The Palms Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, seated near a

table of raucous women, whooping it up while they played hands of


One of the women, a slim brunette, invited Stearns to the party;

he took his chips and joined in the fun.

Thinking nothing more about it, Stearns returned home to Newport

Beach. A few days later, as he watched news on KTLA-TV, channel 5, he

recognized that brunette -- entertainment reporter Mindy Burbano.

Forming a fast bond, the two began their search for a home as they

contemplated marriage.

And just as one couple was coming together; another was falling

apart -- publicly.

Chuck Finley, who once pitched for the Anaheim Angels, and Tawny

Kitaen, his actress wife, wrapped up construction on the home just as

the couple’s domestic strife made headlines. In September, Kitaen

agreed to undergo anger management classes; prosecutors said she had

assaulted Finley with a stiletto-heeled shoe.

As a result of the couple’s breakup, they put their Pelican Hill

home on the market. They first listed it for just under $15 million

in August, but pulled it off the market and re-listed it in February

for just under $11 million.

“You can tell by the price that it’s a special property,” said

Bill Cote of Cote Realty Group, the agency that listed the property.

“It’s one of the best pieces of property in Orange County.”

When Stearns heard the house was on the market again -- he had

even looked at it with Burbano earlier -- he quickly submitted an


The seven-bedroom, 13,000 square-foot home, which counts nine

bathrooms, makes for a stunning sight. The Tuscan-style, three-story

home has a 12-car subterranean garage; elevator; an vanishing-edge

pool and spa; seven fireplaces; three fountains; walnut floors; and

views of Catalina, the ocean and a golf course.

The house, which sits inside a gated community, has never been


“You would not be able to duplicate that house now,” said Strada

Properties’ agent Marcy Weinstein, who represented Stearns. “The

house took years and years to create.”

Once he opened escrow to purchase the house, Stearns hatched his

plan. He would propose to Burbano in the master bedroom. Sprinkling

rose petals on a floor surrounded with lighted candles, Stearns

waited for his girlfriend to enter the house. Burbano’s KTLA bosses,

cooperating with the energetic Stearns, sent her to the house under a

pretext to do a celebrity homes story.

A camera crew was waiting with Stearns for her.

“Glenn put himself under a lot of pressure,” Burbano said. “Ours

has been a storybook [relationship] from the beginning.”

KTLA even aired the tape on their morning news telecast in late

April. The wedding is set for October at the estate.

* PAUL CLINTON covers the environment, business and politics. He

may be reached at (949) 764-4330 or by e-mail at