Most people wouldn’t even pay a billion dollars for a large mansion, let alone an empty lot. But, that’s the steep price tag on a 157-acre vacant piece of land which has drawn a lot of attention in the past for its connection to Iran’s Shah and Brad Pitt.
A Steep Asking Price
Would you pay $1 billion dollars for just an empty lot which has nothing in it? Well, for some, this prime piece of land could have tremendous value, given its location in the most expensive part of LA overlooking the mansions of Bel-Air and the entire city.
Billion dollars is a steep asking price, even for billionaires looking to build a mansion perched in the middle of Benedict and Franklin canyons. But the sellers of this vacant lot aren’t willing to give any concessions.
The listing, made up of 17 adjacent tracts, is popularly known as the Mountain or the Vineyard – but it could soon be famous for becoming the most valuable property in the United States, and even the entire world, if the sellers manage to find a buyer willing to pay the full billion.
However, it seems highly unlikely that the Mountain would sell any time in the near future given the confusion surrounding its ownership. The property was first listed for sale in the market last month by a reputable real estate agent who specializes in selling the most luxurious and high end pieces of real estate around LA. Since then, the listing has drawn attention from the press due to its hefty price tag.
The Mountain’s Controversial Story
Many are curious, skeptical and astounded by the idea of spending a billion dollars on a piece of barren land. But more importantly, people want to know more about the seller and their motivation behind the pricing decision. Is it simply a publicity stunt to draw unnecessary attention from the media? Or could they be serious about actually selling the land for a billion dollars?
The only thing we’re certain of is that the story involves a number of suspicious characters who have been linked to the property for the past several years.
These names include a Cuban-American philanthropist who was imprisoned for running a real estate scam, Brad Pitt, shah of Iran and the heirs of Herbalife founder, Mark R. Hughes, who have been embroiled in a long-running battle over his estate. The global marketing corporation has its own history of scamming clients and customers. Moreover, the notoriously popular billion-dollar property has been involved in a number of complex and often-confusing lawsuits over the past.
Probably the most bizarre part of the story involves an Atlanta businessman named Charles Dickens who came to LA with no money and real estate background and somehow managed to become the de facto owner of the Mountain and put the property on the market for $1 billion with his business partner Victorino Noval, who himself is a convicted felon.
Dickens rented out the Mountain to the likes of Rihanna and Charlize Theron to hold charity events. That business eventually ran dry after one of the bashes was panned as the most chaotic and unorganized events in LA’s history.
Battle Over Ownership
For years, this coveted piece of land has traded hands from Shah of Iran to Herbalife mogul to Brad Pitt and Charles Dickens, but investigators say that the real estate may be eligible for selling at all. According to lawyers involved in the ongoing case over the Mountain’s ownership, there’s a ‘cloud of title’ on the property, meaning that no one knows for sure whom it belongs to.
Barry Russell, a federal bankruptcy judge abandoned the case after 10 years of litigation, saying that he can no longer afford to listen to the neverending drama of the Mountain’s ownership. The case eventually moved from his courtroom to the state bankruptcy court, but it will be long before this long-running dispute over ownership runs its course.
Many real estate agents have shut down the listing by saying that it is absolutely absurd and unheard-of to charge billion dollars for an empty piece of land in Los Angeles. Many are speculating that the listing is merely a publicity stunt to get people talking about the property which would ultimately boost its true value – which, according to some agents, isn’t higher than $100 million.