The Savarona was the largest yacht in the world when it was built for American heiress Emily Roebling Cadwallader (whose grandfather John Roebling engineered the Brooklyn Bridge) in 1931. It cost a whopping $4 million at the time, which would be $57 million today. Her second owner was Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the army officer and writer who went on to revolutionize and create the Republic of Turkey after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. During World War II, the ship lay idle and abandoned in the Bosphorus, operating briefly as a military training ship. Then, in 1979, the majestic ship was gutted by fire. After floating, abandoned, for another ten years, a Turkish businessman chartered her and began slowly and painstakingly restoring her to her former glory, with a $25 million renovation that reinstalled the swimming pool, Turkish bath, 282-foot gold-trimmed staircase, movie theater, and library suite that were originally featured onboard. The new version of the ship also includes many historical and personal artifacts from the life of Ataturk — as well as a set of new diesel engines that have replaced the old-fashioned steam ones.
So how is this historical gem being used today? As a high-end bordello, staffed with beautiful models who also serve as prostitutes, working at the beck and call of Tevfik Arif. A wealthy Russian-American businessman, he is a real-estate developer who has partnered with Donald Trump on several projects including the Trump Soho and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale. Arif was rounded up along with about ten others this week in a raid on the yacht.
To be honest, if someone told you about a $60 million yacht with a golden staircase that was almost the length of a football field, you probably would have guessed this was inevitable. Eventually Donald Trump, or at least a gaggle of prostitutes, was bound to show up.