THE ART OF THE STEAL

The don­ald scored his new vir­ginia b&b, in the shadow of thomas Je­fer­son’s mon­ti­cello, for pen­nies on the dol­lar.

Forbes - - Contents -

The tan­gled history of Don­ald Trump’s new Vir­ginia B&B.

IN MAY Don­ald Trump and his son Eric opened the ten-room Trump Albe­marle Es­tate, a lav­ish bed-and-break­fast (rooms start at $399 a night this sum­mer) near Char­lottesville, Va. in a manse that—in case you’ve been liv­ing in the bot­tom of a chardon­nay bar­rel for the last cou­ple of decades—for­merly be­longed to the late media bil­lion­aire John Kluge, once Amer­ica’s rich­est man. Trump paid just a frac­tion of the as­sessed worth of the prop­erty, which has a tan­gled history.

MAY 2015

trump, tak­ing ad­van­tage of re­cently re­laxed lo­cal lodg­ing by­laws, opens albe­marle es­tate as a bed-and-break­fast.

Oc­to­ber 2012

trump fnally buys albe­marle house from bofa for $6.7 mil­lion, com­plet­ing his ac­qui­si­tion of the en­tire es­tate.

june 2011

pa­tri­cia fles for per­sonal bank­ruptcy.

MAY 2011

trump pur­chases the 776acre vine­yard for $6.2 mil­lion, plus $1.7 mil­lion in equip­ment and in­ven­tory. he sticks signs out front: “no tres­pass­ing. this land is owned by trump vir­ginia ac­qui­si­tions llc.” he lets the lawn go un­mowed.

De­cem­ber 2010

an at­tempted auc­tion of the win­ery at­tracts no bids, and pa­tri­cia’s lenders close in. farm credit of the vir­ginias takes pos­ses­sion of the win­ery af­ter it fails to sell at auc­tion; a month later south­ern na­tional ban­corp of vir­ginia fore­closes on vine­yard es­tates.

jan­uary 2011

an ad­di­tional len­der, bank of amer­ica, fles to fore­close on albe­marle house proper, al­leg­ing that pa­tri­cia de­faulted on $23 mil­lion in loans. be­fore that auc­tion don­ald trump qui­etly cuts a deal with the trustees for pa­tri­cia’s son, John

kluge Jr., to buy 217 acres that sur­round the man­sion for less than $500,000. the deal also gives trump right of frst re­fusal to match the pur­chase price of any at­tempt to buy the house. at auc­tion trump bids a low­ball $3.6 mil­lion. it’s not enough; bofa takes pos­ses­sion.

2007–2011

pa­tri­cia takes out some $65 mil­lion in loans to ex­pand wine pro­duc­tion and makes plans to build a luxe sub­di­vi­sion, vine­yard es­tates, with 24 mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar homes (it will never be com­pleted).

Fall 2009

pa­tri­cia lists albe­marle house for $100 mil­lion. in early 2010 she slashes the price to $48 mil­lion. still no tak­ers.

Sum­mer 2010

kluge wines are well re­ceived (they’re served at chelsea clin­ton’s wed­ding), but win­ery fnances are a mess. to help pay cred­i­tors, pa­tri­cia auc­tions per­sonal prop­erty and albe­marle house fur­nish­ings, reap­ing $15.1 mil­lion for 933 items. in septem­ber John kluge dies at 95.

1985

John kluge and his third wife, pa­tri­cia, build albe­marle house on 22 acres south of char­lottesville. the 23,500-square-foot manor boasts 45 rooms, a he­li­pad, sta­bles and a pri­vate chapel.

1989

forbes de­clares kluge, with a net worth of $5.2 bil­lion, amer­ica’s rich­est per­son. we later call him a “cheap­skate bil­lion­aire” for sk­in­fint habits like leav­ing his hat and coat in his car to avoid hav­ing to tip res­tau­rant coat check­ers.

1990

kluge and pa­tri­cia, a one­time nude model and ac­tress, di­vorce; pa­tri­cia set­tles for an es­ti­mated $100 mil­lion, plus albe­marle house.

1999

pa­tri­cia and third hus­band, wil­liam moses,

es­tab­lish the kluge es­tate win­ery & vine­yard on 960 acres near the house.

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