There’s something of a “separated at birth” quality to Donald Trump and Patrick Diter. Both made their fortunes in real estate. Both have a brazen if not confrontational and litigious style. Both like their homes to be palatial, faux–Italianate Renaissance Mar-a-Lago splendoramas. And both received horrible news from the courts the second week of December.
In Trump’s case, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his Texan queen’s gambit to overthrow the presidential election. And in Diter’s case, la Cour de Cassation, France’s highest judicial court, upheld a previous ruling in the appellate courts that the $69 million “château” he illegally constructed—without proper authorization or respect for zoning laws—on 17 acres outside the Provençal village of Grasse must be wiped off the face of the earth, and the countryside restored to its original state.