RFK Jr. and late wife asked Al Franken to help them receive no-cost home renovations: designer
NY Post: A discount isn’t good enough — for the Kennedys, it has to be free.
That was the message from Mary Richardson Kennedy, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., while they were remaking their mold-infested 1920 house as a green showpiece, according to Robin Wilson, the interior designer who worked on the project.
The Bedford, NY, house’s energy-efficient windows were being provided by a local distributor for a Minnesota company, Marvin Windows and Doors, at a discount of more than $100,000.
But Richardson called Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat and an ally of her husband, and asked him to push the company to donate the windows.“ Mary reached out to many people and corporations, including Al Franken,” Wilson told The Post.
A spokesman for Franken denied the claim, saying the senator “was never asked by Mary Richardson Kennedy for help with renovations.”
The windows are just one example of the many items the Kennedys coveted when they remodeled their seven-bedroom mansion. They raked in more than $1.3 million in free products and got deep discounts from the builder and other contractors — with the promise of publicity and credit on a never-aired Bob Vila television show for NBC.
RFK Jr. put the house on the market last month for $3.9 million — five months after his estranged wife committed suicide on the property.
Vila was on board through another Kennedy connection — Sarah Johnson Redlich, a film producer who lived in Bedford and wanted to work on the Vila show. Redlich had worked on a documentary based on RFK Jr.’s book “Crimes Against Nature.”
Wilson said it was a part of her job with the Kennedys to secure products and services for “free or as free as possible” during the renovation project, which stretched from 2008 to 2010.
“Robin Wilson kept saying, ‘If you don’t thoroughly donate the windows to us then we are going to completely omit the fact that you were even a part of this project,’ ” said a source familiar with the construction work. Despite the hard sell from Wilson and Mary Richardson Kennedy, the window distributor refused to budge. The Kennedys paid $230,000 for the windows, which had a retail price of $350,000, the source said.
The company got no credit for its work in Wilson’s book about the house, “Kennedy Green House,” or on the book’s Web site.
“This was purely a scenario of someone just trying to take advantage of their status, and it was almost to the point of grotesque,” the source said. “There was a complete abuse of power.”
Free Benjamin Moore paint for the mansion did not go far enough for the Kennedys. They also wanted enough paint for their vacation house in Hyannis Port, Mass., and to cover a float in the village’s annual July 4th parade, another source told The Post.
But Wilson herself got stiffed. Mary Richardson Kennedy fired her just as the project was winding down and paid only a part of her final bill, Wilson said.
RFK Jr. would not comment.
I’m all for people trying to the best possible price on something. Yet, when one is worth millions and claims to be in the party “for the people”, you’d think a man as rich as this could afford to buy his own home furnishings and donate free goods to charity. Course when you are a Kennedy, do as they say, not as they do.