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Opulent open house features models, musician, Maseratis

Atop a grand double staircase, an electric violinist played a concerto. In the indoor pool's hot tub, steam swirled around two hired models posing for the professional photographer.

It was an extreme open house bash Wednesday in Upper Brookville, with models, music and Maserati test cars on site to entice moguls, Wall Street execs and others to visit the estate, listed at $12 million.

The French-style villa has been a film set - for the show "Gossip Girls" and rapper Ludacris' AT&T commercial - since the IRS seized it from convicted "chop shop" king Michael Pescatore and auctioned it off for $8.3 million in 2007.

"This is a rarity," Manhattan attorney Warren Estes said of the glammed-up open house as he toured one of the bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms but without the high-end finishes he expected. "For what they're asking for, that's the minimum you would expect. . . . The nicest thing are the cars in the front."

Besides trying to sell the house, host and high-end real estate broker Shawn Elliott used this gala to unveil the second issue of Luxury, his free quarterly lifestyle magazine. The party tab was $50,000, twice what he spent on his other open house bashes, the Woodbury broker said.

But that's chump change compared with the six-figure commission he'd nab if the estate is sold.

"I think it takes a lot of guts to do this in this market," the host said. "The message I'm trying to send to everyone is luxury is far from dead."


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