A bidder who declined to give me his name won imprisoned fraudster Kenneth Starr’s condo at auction today for a $5.63 million bargain price.
He was among 17 registered bidders for the apartment in the doorman building called the Lux, at 433 E. 74th St.
The current owner is the Internal Revenue Service, to which Starr relinquished the property prior to his sentencing.
No one bit when the auctioneer started with $5 million at 11: 12 a.m. in the Courtyard Marriott on 92nd Street east of First Avenue, but bidding went quickly up to $5 million. Subsequent increments were absurdly small, at one point by just $1,000, causing the auctioneer to insist on raises of at least $5,000.
The eventual winners — who asked that I cease photographing them only after I grabbed the shot at the left — consisted of some combination of the four individuals shown in the photo.
They had planted themselves in the front row of a meeting room in which there were some 50 bidders and observers sitting and standing.
The 6,550-sf triplex has five bedrooms, five and a half baths, a 1,543-sf rear terrace that has an outdoor kitchen, an indoor lap pool and a 340-sf second terrace upstairs.
Other of its features are a sauna and wet bar adjacent to that pool, a (windowless) recreation room, plush media room, “banquet room,” laundry room and, of course, glam open kitchen that has a humongous stove.
As part of an agreement to pay $29 million restitution for his fraud, Starr turned over to the U.S. government the luxurious condo that he had purchased for $7.6 million. He is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence after his guilty plea last March to federal charges of having stolen more than $33 million from his celebrity clients.
Although the final price was low for a unit so big and with so much outdoor space — perhaps by a couple of million dollars — it exceeded the government’s minimum, according to Special Agent John F. Ricupero, IRS asset forfeiture coordinator
“This auction brings closure to a significant investigation and pluck the ill-gotten gains from a criminal while providing seed money for pursing other bad guys,” he told me.
If you’re eager to learn the identity of the winners, you’ll have to wait until the transaction closes. Then, you’ll find the information on the IRS Web site.
Tomorrow: Crystal balls
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Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022