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'The Mountain,' costliest US property, sells for $100G, instead of $1B listing, in foreclosure auction

Mike Cherico

"The Mountain," a 157-acre parcel of land on top of the highest point in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, which was once listed for sale at $1 billion dollars, has been sold at a foreclosure auction for only $100,000 to its lender.

A trust linked to the late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, won the property Tuesday at a trustee’s sale in Pomona, California, says Ronald Richards, an attorney for one of the former owners of Secured Capital Partners, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Potential bidders may have been scared away by the $200 million in debt the empty piece of property has accumulated. Any new buyer may have been forced to absorb the money owed on the land made up of late fees and interest.

The Hughes family now has the power to take the property back onto the market if they like.

Boasting some of the best views of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean coastline, the billion-dollar price tag was recently reduced to $650 million, still making it the priciest real estate in America. Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos passed on the property after several visits, deciding that the undeveloped piece of land was overpriced.

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In 2004, Atlanta investor Charles Dickens purchased the property from the Hughes family trust, which remained the primary lender on the seller-financed deal. The Dickens group eventually defaulted on the loan payments, leaving the property subject to auction where the Hughes family resumed control.

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