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This Massive Property Was Listed for $1 Billion, But Only Sold For $100k — Here’s the Bizarre Story Behind It

The rich and famous often buy and sell million-dollar properties. And while they don’t always profit big time from them, the sells often translate to some profits in the end. It doesn’t seem to be the case with this high-profile property.

Dubbed as ‘The Mountain Of Beverly Hills’, this 157-acre undeveloped piece of real estate was listed for $1 billion about a year ago. If it was sold at the price, it would’ve been the biggest real estate purchase in California ever. That didn’t happen though, and the prime property was sold for just $100,000.

Beginnings in the ‘70s

The Iranian royal (right) bought the massive land property from the actress in 1977

In the late 1970’s, the 157-acre Beverly Hills property belonged to Shams Pahlavi, an Iranian princess who bought it from actress Mitzi Gaynor and her producer husband Jack Bean. Pahlavi eventually passed on the property in the late 1980s and sold it to Merv Griffin, who created the game show ‘Jeopardy’.

Griffin then nicknamed his purchase as ‘The Vineyard’ and planned on building the largest house in all of Los Angeles on it. Unfortunately, these plans never came to fruition after the TV show creator became short on cash. So, he sold it to Mark Hughes, who was then enjoying the success of his multi-level marketing business Herbalife, in 1997.

Dream Home

The property is located just 10 minutes from the famous Rodeo Drive

The successful businessman seemed to have similar ideas for the property as Griffin. Hughes was intending to build his own dream home on it. Bought for $8.5 million, Hughes was reportedly planning to spend $100 million to turn his dreams into reality. But like his predecessor, the Herbalife founder never got to build his home. He died three years after buying the large piece of land in 2000.

Because of this, the ownership of it came to the hands of his then-eight-year-old son, Alex. But due to the terms of Hughes’ will, which also left his entire estate to the boy, Alex won’t be able to gain access of the assets in the trust until 2027 when he turns 35.

The Winning Bid

A young Alex with his mother Suzan Schroder, who was Hughes’ third wife. Alex is now 27 years old

Since Alex is too young to manage the big fortune his father left him, financial matters were handled by trustees who then sold ‘The Vineyard’ to a suspicious man called Charles Dickens. Having no money or experience with real estate, Dickens borrowed money from Alex’s trust to finance the purchase. He then transferred the property to one Victor Franco Noval.

Noval was actually the one to list the renamed ‘The Mountain of Beverly Hills’ for $1 billion. At the time, Dickens has reportedly racked up a $200 million debt from Alex’s trust and were looking to pay it off with the sale of the property.

But, after the duo scared some potential buyers away and began drowning in tax bills, Alex’s trust decided to foreclose on them. Through the Mark Hughes Trust, they won the bidding with just $100,000, and cleared Dickens of his massive debt.

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