Sam Bronfman’s Atherton Mansion for Sale at $42 Million

Nestled between the buzzing tech hubs of San Francisco and San Jose, in the most luxurious ZIP Code of the United States—Atherton, California, is Samuel Bronfman II’s 40 Atherton Avenue – for sale at $42 million.

A world of luxury 

Built in 1932, and rejuvenated in 2001, this 13,525-square-foot architectural marvel sprawls across a majestic 3.17 acres of nature’s splendor. Every corner of this estate blooms with exceptional plantings. 

The estate orbits around a magnetic central courtyard, with French doors blending indoor and outdoor spaces.

Versatile Living:

A spacious guest house, complete with a full kitchen—ideal for guests or poolside soirées.

A standalone apartment


 Outdoors Reimagined

Dive into the glistening pool

Challenge a friend on the pristine tennis court

For the Connoisseurs: House your wine treasures in a sommelier-worthy wine cellar with a capacity for 5,000 bottles.

Parking Galore: With oversized garages that can accommodate up to 5 cars, always have space for your collection.

 Each of the seven bedrooms serves as a private retreat.

The master suite, a sanctuary of its own, features an inviting fireplace, a scenic balcony, dual dressing rooms, and a bathroom that exudes spa-like tranquility.

Experience grand entertaining in a formal dining room and a living room adorned with a romantic fireplace, both opening to an Edenic backyard. 

A home office worthy of closing multimillion-dollar deals 

A haven of horticultural beauty—gardens with exotic plantings and mature trees.

A slice of America…. 

The property taxes are $104,557 per year.  With a $4.2 million down payment, your monthly payments are $319,356.


Atherton is in San Mateo County, California, with a population of 7,188. It has the highest per capita income and cost of living in the U.S. among towns of its size.

Land use in Atherton is restricted. There’s no commercial zoning, meaning the town is not cluttered with restaurants, shops, or grocery stores inviting unwanted visitors.  The average home price is more than $7.5 million.

Meet the Seller

Samuel Bronfman II, an heir to the Seagram liquor empire, purchased the mansion 37 years ago for $3.3 million. 

He bought the home 11 years after he was kidnapped in 1975, by Mel Patrick Lynch and Dominic Byrne, and held for $2.3 million ransom, which his father Edgar Bronfman Sr. paid under an aqueduct in Queens.  

While both Lynch and Byrne initially confessed to the kidnapping, they changed their stories, claiming Sam masterminded his own kidnapping to raise cash, and that Lynch and Sam were lovers. The jury acquitted the two men of kidnapping, but found them guilty of extortion.

Sam, who denied his involvement vehemently, lived under this shadow. It may have caused the decimation of the Bronfman fortune. With doubts lingering about Sam, his father bypassed him for running Seagram and named his younger brother as successor. 

Edgar Jr. constructed a merger with the French company Vivendi — giving Vivendi 51 percent in a deal that may have been a little shy in due diligence, since Vivendi was on the verge of bankruptcy. The merger resulted in the Bronfmans losing 75 percent of their fortune.

Sam Bronfman, choosing not to work under his younger brother, became the co-founder of Bacchus Capital Management, a San Francisco-based investment firm. 

Samuel’s younger sisters, Sara and Clare Bronfman, distinguished themselves for their work related to the self-help life coaching group NXIVM. In 2020, Clare Bronfman was sentenced to 81 months in prison due to her NXIVM-related activities. For the same reasons, Sara exited the USA and is living in Portugal.

As for Sam’s role in the kidnapping, one of the kidnappers’ lawyers said in a “deathbed” memoir that Sam was truly kidnapped, and that Lynch and he lied to the jury to get the kidnappers off.

The FBI said they had found no evidence that Bronfman was involved. Representatives of the Bronfman family said Sam was at college in Williamstown, Massachusetts, when he was supposedly meeting with his purported co-conspirators to plan his abduction in New York.

Meet Your Neighbors

We invite you to explore the list of your soon-to-be neighbors. [Ed. Note: Some of these neighbors might have recently moved.] 

Business and Tech

  • Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder.
  • Timothy C. Draper, founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape.
  • Douglas Engelbart, computer engineer, inventor of the mouse.
  • Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark.
  • Elizabeth Holmes, former biotechnology entrepreneur.
  • Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz.
  • Ron Johnson, former senior executive at Apple
  • Guy Kawasaki, venture capitalist
  • Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp
  • Steve Westly, former State Controller of California, and venture capitalist.
  • Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, former CEO of eBay
  • Dennis Woodside, president of Impossible Foods, former COO of Dropbox
  • Nick Clegg, Meta Platforms executive and former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Douglas Leone venture capitalist
  • Andy W. Mattes, CEO of Diebold.
  • J. B. Pritzker, Governor of Illinois and co-founder of the Pritzker Group
  • Tom Proulx, co-founder of Intuit
  • George R. Roberts, co-founder of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
  • James R. Scapa, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Altair Engineering
  • Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman and CEO of Google
  • Charles R. Schwab, founder and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation


  • Gertrude Atherton, author
  • Andy Kessler
  • Maureen Kennedy Salaman, author, proponent of alternative medicine


  • Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac
  • Robby Krieger, guitarist, The Doors
  • Charlie Kubal, music producer
  • Bob Weir, musician with the Grateful Dead
  • Quadeca, White Rapper

Moving Picture Performers

  • Drew Fuller
  • Shirley Temple


  • CiCi Bellis, tennis player
  • Ty Cobb, baseball player
  • Ted Robinson, sports broadcaster 
  • Y.A. Tittle, football player


A message from diversity specialist Lucius MacNab:

At Atherton, our dedication to embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity is a source of immense pride. Setting us apart from many other affluent communities, we firmly believe that in our town, your race or gender should never serve as an impediment to finding a place to call home. Here, it’s not a question of who you are, but rather a celebration of the profound sense of community and the collective values that bind us together.

In the vibrant tapestry of Atherton, wealth may open doors, but it is our shared reverence for the kaleidoscope of diversity that holds the greatest significance. We extend an open-armed welcome to all who can afford to wish to be a part of our community, inviting you to contribute to the mosaic of experiences that make Atherton a luminous exemplar of an inclusive and thriving town.

Diverse neighbors

  • Mohamed Atalla, inventor of MOSFET transistor,
  • Stephen Curry, basketball 
  • Willie Mays, baseball
  • Jerry Rice, football 
  • Komal Shah, art collector
  • Bobbie Kelsey, basketball coach
  • Vivek Ranadive, founder TIBCO Software
  • Rajeev Motwani, professor
  • Farzad Nazem, former chief technology officer of Yahoo! 
  • Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital

About the author

Frank Parlato


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About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083


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