If North Countys most eligible millionaire bachelor Paul Walton fell into a volcano, he would jump out with a two pound diamond and throw a party for Julia Roberts, Mick Jagger, and Tiger Woods to celebrate.
As it was, Walton was all over the celebrity circuit last week. He was his own jet set.
That meant hobnobbing with Oprah at the NATPE television executives show in Las Vegas. Walton once was a guest on her show and she remembered.
“I said Hi, its Paul Walton. Do you remember me? And Oprah said, Of course, dear,and we both hugged each other,” Walton said. “I just wanted her to know she changed my life when I was on as Americas most eligible millionaire bachelor.”
The celebrity experienced continued at the Golden Globes red carpet where Walton caught up with Jamie Foxx, a former San Diegan and 10-year Walton acquaintance.
“Jamie invited me to his exclusive Golden Globes after-party,” Walton recalled. “We partied at the Four Seasons Hotel. He was very down-to-earth. You wouldnt know he was a movie star.”
As this column is written, Walton plans to visit the Phoenix Open before hitting New Orleans in time for the ultra-hardy-partying of the Krewe of Endymion at the Mardi Gras. Time, and inclination, permitting, he may take a quick jaunt to Jacksonville for a little game they call the Super Bowl.
“Its so exciting,” Walton said. “Thats why I go.”
A very interesting and entertaining guy, Walton is one lucky dude.
“That this little Claremont kid Paul Walton can do this, that this Madison High School kid that rode a motorcycle could make a million dollars…” Walton continued..
Heres the deal. Walton was involved with Sprints startup in the 1980s. He was sales director who separated from employment under murky circumstances, sued and won a hefty severance settlement.
Walton had a friend who somehow agreed to purchase Castle Creek Inn Resort and Spa, a 30-room European-style luxury resort at the very northernmost point of Escondido. J. David Dominelli designed and built the beautiful palace in 1985.
Dominelli spared no expense. Of course, that was before he was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for an $80 million swindle of San Diego investors that included participation by, and later conviction of, several prominent San Diego politicians including a former San Diego mayor.
Walton loaned his friend $1.2 million to purchase the property. However, the friend was overextended and ended up defaulting on the loan. So, Walton had himself a resort hotel and spa..
The problem was Walton felt foot-loose and fancy free.
Although his sister Ellie Walton proved a great hotel manager, he wanted to sell the place. He tried to sell for several years in fact, but couldnt find a buyer at $5 million.
Well, like Jed Clampet stumbling on some black gold in his back yard, the failure to sell Castle Creek turned out to be the greatest thing aside from appearances on “Dateline NBC”, “Blind Date” and a full-sized spread in New York Magazine, all of which Walton later experienced.
The property is worth at least $12 million today.
Walton struck it rich by not moving an inch, except to his many celebrity events.
“Im certainly glad I kept the property,” Walton said.
“The real estate market has gone through the roof.
This was one of the last North County holdouts to be known, but with the Indian casinos its all changed.
Its like gosh, how did this all happen. Im grateful and with my sister Ellie being a great general manager, Im looking forward to the future.”
Thats the Walton credo, summed up in one word:
“Surprising people is what makes me feel the best,”
Walton said. “I want to do things for my family and friends, surprise them. And, oh yes, hopefully find the girl of my dreams.”
Just in case Miss Right is out there, by the way, Walton wanted to mention that he “is proud to say Im not a private person. People ask how to reach me. Of course, they can at Castle Creek but I also tell them Im the only Paul Walton in San Diego and yes, Im still listed.”
By: Dan Weisman