Sarah Palin buys a luxury house in north Scottsdale?

Has Sarah Palin bought a house in north Scottsdale?

For months, rumors have circulated in Arizona political circles that the former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential contender either was shopping for homes in Scottsdale or had already bought one.

A just-closed deal on a secluded luxury home in far north Scottsdale might fit the bill, and talk has begun that this may be the one. It’s an 8,000-square-foot, dark-brown stucco home with a guard gate that can keep unwanted visitors away. It has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, a six-car garage, a swimming pool and spa, and a full basement with a home theater, billiards room and wine cellar.

Safari Investments LLC paid $1.695 million cash for the home in a deal that appears designed to cloak the identity of a high-profile buyer.

Safari Investments is a Delaware limited liability firm formed May 12, the day before the deal for the Scottsdale home closed. No officers are listed on the Delaware filing, and that state doesn’t require the names of individual associated with limited liability companies to be disclosed. High-profile people often buy homes through LLCs to maintain their privacy.

Alan Kierman, an attorney with the Phoenix law firm of Mack Drucker Watson, is listed on property records as the contact for Safari Investments. Asked point blank by The Arizona Republic if Palin and her husband Todd Palin bought the north Scottsdale house through the company, Kierman said he had no comment.

In north Scottsdale’s scenic desert, the former foreclosure house was purchased by real estate agent and investor Ian Whitmore in March 2010 for $805,000. He sold it May 13 to Safari Investments, but said he doesn’t know who is behind the limited liability company. The home was half-renovated when it was taken back by the lender JP Morgan Chase Bank in 2009.

Requests seeking comment from Palin or her aides made Friday and Saturday through her political action committee, SarahPAC, were not successful.

Confirmation of a Palin house purchase in Scottsdale likely would rekindle chatter about whether Palin might run a political campaign out of Arizona, the home state of U.S. Sen. John McCain, who plucked her from relative political obscurity in 2008 to be his vice-presidential running mate.

Palin has been rumored to be considering headquartering her 2012 White House campaign, if there is one, in Scottsdale. She also has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

Palin has made multiple visits to Arizona since the night in November 2008 when, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort Spa, McCain conceded the presidential election to Democratic rival Barack Obama. Palin’s daughter, former “Dancing With the Stars” celebrity finalist Bristol Palin, last year purchased a five-bedroom house in Maricopa.

Palin’s name started coming up in Arizona in March, when state Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, repeated a rumor of a possible Palin bid for the U.S. Senate in his weekly newsletter to constituents. Farley told The Republic at the time that he heard the rumor from two Republican lobbyists whom he declined to name. The same week, a Politico blogger quoted an anonymous source as saying Palin might base a potential presidential campaign in Scottsdale.

The Arizona Democratic Party’s website asked, “Is Sarah Palin moving to Arizona?” and used the rumors to try to raise money.

The speculation was enough for Public Policy Polling, a Democratic company based in North Carolina, to include some questions about Palin in its most recent automated telephone survey of Arizona voters. One question asked respondents whether they would like for Palin to move to Arizona. Fifty-seven percent said no. Another 27 percent said they would like her to relocate to the state, while 16 percent were not sure.

The poll of 623 Arizona voters was conducted April 28 to May 1 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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