A private trust fund with apparent ties to John Edwards bought a house in Charlotte last month, fueling speculation that it was for his mistress, Rielle Hunter.
Some Eastover residents and real estate agents -- as well as tabloids -- have been buzzing about the possibility that Hunter and her daughter Frances could be moving into the house at 1611 Providence Road, across the street from Providence Road Sundries. However, reports now suggest that might not happen after all.
According to the deed, Alan Simpson sold the house to The Providence Road Trust for $535,000.
"The buyer wanted to remain anonymous," Simpson said today. "I have heard speculation (about Hunter). I could not tell you who was buying the house."
The trustee listed on the deed could not be reached. The trust's mailing address is a Raleigh post office box registered to the law firm Lynch & Eatman. Attorney Maria Lynch is treasurer of the Wade Edwards Foundation, according to the 2008 tax return of the organization founded by John and Elizabeth Edwards to honor their late son. Lynch has not returned several calls.
Three real estate agents involved in the sale would not discuss it, citing confidentiality. But another one who was not involved said agents had been buzzing with speculation that Edwards was buying it for Hunter.
The National Enquirer, which broke the story of Edwards' affair last year, features a picture of the house in editions that went on sale Monday. It said Hunter was scheduled to move in Dec. 1 but didn't after she and Edwards got into a dispute over child support.
Hunter, reached by the Observer last week on her cell phone, declined to discuss the matter.
"I don’t speak to the media, and that comment was off the record," she said. "Thank you for calling and have a great day."
Neither Charlotte attorney Jim Cooney, who is helping represent Edwards, or Hunter's New Jersey attorney Frank Louis would comment.
It was unclear where Hunter is. She has been living in Southport, according to a New Hanover County real estate agent. The Enquirer said she had checked into a Charlotte hotel prior to the anticipated Dec. 1 move-in date.
The speculation over where she'll live next comes as Edwards faces a grand jury investigation. On Friday a Raleigh TV station showed him and former law partner David Kirby at Raleigh-Durham airport walking off a plane belonging to Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, a wealthy heiress and one-time friend of Jacqueline Kennedy.
Flight records showed the plane flew from RDU to the private northern Virginia airstrip at Mellon's home.
In 2008 Mellon's holding company gave $3.48 million to Alliance for a New America, a so-called 527 group tied to Edwards' presidential campaign. Prosecutors investigating Edwards have talked to attorneys for Mellon.
Charlotte lawyer Ken Bell, a former federal prosecutor, said Edwards' flight could cause an appearance problem, if not legal.
"It would create a danger of being accused of trying to influence a witness or obstruct justice," he said. "It's dangerous and perhaps inadvisable but not necessarily illegal."
The Politico's Ben Smith reported today that Andrew Young, the former aide to once claimed to be the father of Hunter's baby, is alleging that Mellon paid some of Rielle Hunter's bills.
Meanwhile, the Providence Road house stands empty. One neighbor even baked cookies for the woman she expected to be her new neighbor.
"I froze them," she said.