When he slipped in his bathroom floor and fell on his head last week at home in Palm Beach, according to police records, former Fox News boss Roger Ailes was enjoying the spoils of a media career that saw him rise to the top of the cable news landscape.
His golden ticket to life among Palm Beach’s richest, at the edge of stretch of beach known as Billionaire’s Row, came courtesy of the sexual harassment controversy that caused his firing from the network last year.
Ailes, 77, who died Thursday morning from injuries he sustained in the fall, arrived in town late last summer and snapped up what was then one of the most coveted beach properties in Palm Beach.
According to property records, the portly, brash TV exec paid $36 million cash for the 10,000-square-foot property.
At the time, his bank accounts were reportedly flush with an estimated $40 million paid to Ailes by Rupert Murdoch’s conservative TV empire when it fired Ailes.
“Roger didn’t end up in Palm Beach by coincidence,” said a Palm Beach County lawyer who worked on Ailes’ relocation to the island. He asked that his name not be used. “He was looking for something to do with all that money if the lawsuits he was then involved with got out of hand.”
Florida’s homestead laws prevent the seizure of a homesteaded property to pay for judgments.
At the time, Ailes was the target of several harassment lawsuits and accusations that he behaved inappropriately toward some of the network’s stars, including former Miss America Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. Both have since left the network.
The property that Ailes picked at 6 Ocean Lane was sought as much for its ultra-modern interior than for the fact it’s one of the few Palm Beach beachfront properties not separated from the ocean by a road.
Ailes paid just $1 million under the original asking price for the marble-and-glass palace.
In November, Ailes filed an affidavit with the Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller that listed the house as his new permanent residence.
On May 10, police and ambulance crew were called to the mansion, according to records, after Ailes fell in his bathroom.
The report mentions “serious bleeding” to the head and that Ailes was still on the floor when rescuers arrived. He was “not completely alert,” the report reads, but he was breathing.
Ailes eventually drifted into a coma and never woke up.