by William Aden
Published: March 5, 2015
The Long Island estate of Peter B. Madoff, the younger brother of Bernard L. Madoff, has been sold for several million dollars less than its original asking price, after years of efforts to find a buyer.
The four-acre property, at 34 Pheasant Run in Old Westbury, N.Y., sold for $3.5 million on Wednesday, according to the United States Marshals Service, which took possession of the home in 2013 after Peter Madoff pleaded guilty to crimes related to his brother’s enormous Ponzi scheme. The younger Mr. Madoff, who first listed the property for $6.5 million in 2011, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012.
Proceeds from the sale will go to victims of the scheme. The Marshals Service, which manages and disposes of properties seized by the federal government, did not identify the buyer. Maria Babaev, the Douglas Elliman agent who handled the sale, would say only that the buyer used a shell company to do the deal.
Although the Marshals Service described the estate as “luxurious and lavish,” pointing out its private tennis court and swimming pool, selling it was a distinct challenge. The shadows cast by the Madoff fraud provoked some concerned questions among prospective buyers, Ms. Babaev said.
The discounted sale price — in an area where homes regularly sell for multiples of that amount — testified to the challenge. After the listing by Mr. Madoff failed to produce a buyer, the Marshals Service put the estate back on the market for $4.495 million in April of 2013. The price was later reduced to $3.6 million, according to a listing at the time with Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes and Estates.
When Ms. Babaev took over the listing, the price was at $3.499 million, she said. She knocked it down to $3.199 million.
It then sold, Ms. Babaev noted, for $300,000 above the asking price. Her secret? “I was able to create such a positive spin,” she said.
The Georgian-style manor house, which dates to the 1930s, “offers a glimpse into Long Island’s high society from a bygone era,” according to the Douglas Elliman listing. “One can almost hear strains from Tommy Dorsey’s ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ wafting across the emerald lawns from the several bay windows overlooking the gorgeous gardens.”
The house includes five bedrooms, five-and-a-half bathrooms and a basement with a billiard room, the listing says. It is also located next to the upscale the Glen Oaks Country Club and golf course.
In addition to promoting these amenities, Ms. Babaev said she reminded prospective buyers that “every single dollar goes back to where it belongs,” to the Ponzi scheme victims.
After multiple showings in December, she said, she got three bids, including two above the asking price.
“When we turned it into this positive thing,” Ms. Babaev said, “that’s when the mood changed.”