Kansas independent Senate candidate Greg Orman has pitched himself as the real Kansan for the Senate, up against an out-of-touch Washington insider, Sen. Pat RobertsPat RobertsThe buzzword everyone can agree on in the health debate: RESTORE A guide to the committees: Senate Angst in GOP over Trump's trade agenda MORE (R).
But a review of public property records reveals Orman has owned multimillion dollar, thousand-square-foot properties, both in and out of Kansas. The Roberts campaign seized upon this as evidence the independent is the one who’s out of touch with the state.
The home has four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, two pools and spans more than a third of an acre. A real estate listing of the property features shots of the interior of a multi-level home, with mahogany and marble trim throughout, a sweeping master staircase and three-door garage.
It was most recently assessed at about $1.15 million, and Orman put the property on the market after marrying his wife, Sybil, last year, for $1.75 million. Just prior to launching his bid for Senate, however, Orman took the home off the market.
He also owns a condo in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which he purchased in 2011. Per a property listing, the condo is 5,204 square feet, has three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and comes with a private boat dock, lifetime golf club membership and a fitness center. Photos posted on the listing show the property includes a wine cellar.
It’s unclear how much Orman spent to purchase the home in 2011, but it was most recently assessed at just over $1.8 million, and was on the market for $3.8 million. Orman’s campaign says the condo is just an investment property, and he’s never lived there.
In 2006, Orman sold a similarly expensive Florida home, which he built himself, for $3.1 million.
Orange County property records show Orman purchased a vacant lot in Orlando in 2002 for $1.26 million, and subsequently built a 5-bedroom, five and a half-bathroom, 7,336-square foot home on the plot. The home includes a “large elaborate pool” and “good fireplace,” according to property records.
It’s not unusual for senators to own property outside of their states, and many have elaborate homes. Roberts himself once owned at least six properties, two of which he no longer owns — and one of which, a Denver property, was once valued at over $1 million.
He now owns four properties and his wife owns two, valued between about $100,000 to nearly $700,000 — all but one of which are located outside of Kansas.
And Roberts doesn’t in fact live in the property he owns in Kansas, instead spending most of his time at a home in Virginia and renting out the Dodge City location.
Roberts’s primary challenger used that fact to great effect to paint him as out of touch with Kansas, a label that’s stuck with him and contributed to his unexpected vulnerability this cycle. Roberts has trailed Orman in multiple polls, down by five points in one poll out this week.
But the scope and scale of Orman’s homes may provide his opponents with fodder to raise questions about whether Orman is any more in touch with the state, where the median household income in 2012 was little more than $51,000, per Census figures.
Roberts this year reported owning assets with his wife valued between $1.6 million and $4 million.
Orman’s personal financial disclosure forms indicated, during the period from January 2013 through the end of August of this year, he has between $21.5 million and $86 million in assets and his income was somewhere between $917,000 and $4.5 million. If he defeats Roberts this fall, Orman’s minimum possible assets would make him one of the 10 wealthiest senators, per data compiled by Roll Call.
Orman, however, came from humble beginnings — he received free lunch, for low-income students, growing up, and had to scrimp and save to get through college. His campaign has defended his wealth before, saying it’s a product of his “track record of success as a businessman.”
But Roberts’s campaign seized on the details of Orman’s properties as evidence the candidate isn’t who he says he is.
"Greg Orman is an out-of-touch millionaire Democrat spending his fortune misleading Kansans about his record,” said Roberts campaign manager Corry Bliss in an email to The Hill.
He said “the real Greg Orman…spends his time in million-dollar estates across the country, and considers $50,000 to be a 'very modest ..very small' sum,” a reference to comments Orman made dismissing an investment he has that’s tied to his relationship with a jailed Wall Street investor that’s drawn scrutiny during the race.
“However, all the money in the world can't hide the fact that Greg Orman is just another dishonest liberal Democrat,” Bliss said.
Orman campaign manager Jim Jonas dismissed the attacks as “desperate” and “hypocritical,” and said they’re “exactly the kind of politics Kansans are tired of, and are just more evidence that Senator Roberts is part of the problem in Washington.”
“Kansans know that Greg Orman is a successful businessman with a record of creating jobs and solving problems. That’s why Kansans are ignoring the endless desperate attacks from Senator Roberts flailing campaign, and supporting businessman Greg Orman’s independent campaign for Senate,” he said in an email.