Spike Lee, Seeking A Kickstarter Handout, Owns $30 Million Manhattan Mansion, Martha's Vineyard Estate

As of moments ago, Spike Lee’s Kickstarter campaign to raise $1.25 million for his next feature film has raised about $215,000 via more than 1220 donations. The director explains that he needs a public handout because “this is a motherfucking tough business, and I’m gonna keep fighting the powers that be.”

While Lee’s gambit is not a celebrity first (see Braff, Zach and Mars, Veronica), he may be the wealthiest online busker to date, an artist who does not need to seek, Knicks hat-in-hand, other people’s money to produce a new “joint.”

Perhaps Lee, 56, might have considered a relatively small loan or mortgage secured by his Manhattan home, a sprawling Spanish Revival mansion that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is likely worth in the vicinity of $30 million.

Lee’s Upper East Side residence (seen at left) is actually more of a compound. Two three-story buildings--joined by a private central courtyard--encompass about 9000 square feet of living space. In 1998, Lee and his wife purchased the 32-foot-wide property from the artist Jasper Johns for $4.75 million, according to deed records.

Lee’s landmarked home was built nearly a century ago by a Vanderbilt family member, and it was once the home of another Lee, Gypsy Rose, the legendary burlesque performer.

If Lee were hesitant to borrow off his primary residence, perhaps he could consider exploiting the equity in his summer home (seen below). The director owns a two-acre estate on Nantucket Sound in Martha’s Vineyard, just across from the 18th hole of the Farm Neck Golf Club. After purchasing the land for about $400,000 in 1989, Lee built a four-bedroom home on the property (which is now worth several million dollars).

And then there is always the Brooklyn headquarters of Forty Acres and a Mule, Lee’s film production company. The three-story Fort Greene property was purchased for $820,000 in 1991.

Lee’s filmography includes “She’s Gotta Have It,” “Do The Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” and “Bamboozled.”