The World's Richest Billionaires

Posted by Fatimah Imah Kamis, 23 Juni 2011 0 comments
The World's Richest Billionaires In 2009 Kluge put Albemarle up for sale. Sotheby's International Realty initially listed it for $100 million. The figure was cut to $48 million in early 2010 and then to $24 million, where it sat until February's bank foreclosure.

Apparently unable to service her debt, Kluge then hired Sotheby's Auction House to host a two-day estate auction on the Albemarle grounds. Up for sale went personal jewelry, art and furniture that included a Chippendale dressing commode that sold for $338,500 and a Qing Dynasty table clock that fetched $3.8 million. All told, 933 items brought in $15.1 million.

Next went the winery itself. Farm Creditor of Virginia, one of Kluge's three major lenders, estimates she poured more than $40 million into the business. Despite critical acclaim for her vintages, Kluge appears to have cranked up production to 30,000 cases a year, only to discover that her company could sell less than half that. Kluge and Moses defaulted on almost $35 million in loans. By mid-December Farm Credit had repossessed Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard after it failed to sell in an auction in which the minimum bid was set at $19 million.

Farm Creditor of Virginia still owns the property and has put a freeze on all operations. The bank plans on April 7 to resell the acreage as six separate tracts in an absolute auction, in which they are sold to the highest bidder with no reserve price. The vineyard's farm equipment will be sold the following day.

With no buyer turning up for Albemarle, Kluge stopped making payments last year and defaulted on nearly $24 million in loans from Bank of America. She received a foreclosure notice in January, and Bank of America picked mid-February to auction off the estate. The bank took possession when no buyers stepped forward with a bid of more than $15.3 million.

There may be a silver lining for Kluge's creditors, if not for the former heiress herself. Donald Trump, a longtime friend of Kluge's, has expressed an interest in taking Albemarle off Bank of America's repossession roster. He has already bought up the 216-acre front lawn.
By: Morgan Brennan


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