Ellis Short is co-founder and vice chairman of Dallas-based Lone Star Funds -- you remember, the company that can't seem to get out of trouble with the South Korean government over the Korean Exchange Bank. Turns out, Short, who was a wanted man in South Korea only a few months ago, is also the owner, since 2003, of Skibo Castle in the Scottish Highlands, where he's invested some $18 million "on refurbishing the 21-suite manor and its 11 'lodges,'" according to the latest issue of Forbes. Why does Skibo Castle sound familiar? It's where Madonna got hitched to Guy Ritchie and where Ashley Judd married Dario Franchitti.
And what do the locals think of Short?
"He's a switched-on kitty, that one," our driver had said approvingly. The castle's new chatelaine, Short's wife, Eve, got herself in hot water with locals last January when she accused two elderly neighbors walking their dogs of trespassing. She allegedly threatened to have the dogs shot if their owners did not skedaddle. The Highland Court affirmed the women's right (under Scotland's Outdoor Access Code) to stroll. Skibo management apologized and sent flowers.
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The Shorts are very popular in many countries, turns out. Because the South Koreans are still seeking Ellis Short's extradition. Sorry, South Korea, but he's got a castle, nyah-nyah. --Robert Wilonsky