'A step': Donald Trump wants all the Kluge properties

He got outbid by a bank, but the man known as "The Donald" hasn't given up his quest to buy the properties recently lost by Patricia Kluge. By placing an option on an adjacent property, New York-based real estate tycoon and reality television star Donald Trump may still scoop up all the former Kluge properties, including Albemarle House, the storied mansion that went on the auction block Wednesday morning.

Contrasted with previous auctions, the February 16 foreclosure sale was well attended, with, including media, over 60 attendees gathering in front of the Albemarle County Courthouse. Shortly before the bidding began, Charlottesville-based attorney Steve Blaine dropped his bombshell: "We represent Donald Trump."

After a few minutes of spirited back-and-forth between Trump's team and an unidentified woman– sparring in the range of $2 million to $3.6 million–- a Bank of America rep piped up with a bid of $15.26 million and won the house and the 98 acres on which it had lent $22.8 million.

After the auction ended, Blaine said that Trump has the right to buy Albemarle House by matching the bank's winning bid. The Donald won this right-of-first-refusal, Blaine said, when he recently bought an option on an adjacent tract held in trust for Kluge's son.

Albemarle County property records show that the John W. Kluge Jr. trust holds 217 acres, the mansion's former golf course, along with a 1,120-square-foot house, at 167 Albemarle House Drive. The property is tax assessed at $373,400.

According to Blaine's fellow lawyer pursuing the Trump purchase, Les Goldman, Trump has made offers on all the Kluge properties. After a series of financial setbacks, two other Kluge properties have hit the auction block in recent weeks: the Kluge Estate Vineyard & Winery as well as Vineyard Estates, a gated community where Kluge and her husband are the only dwellers. Both projects were reclaimed by their lenders.

"We'll begin working with the bank," said Goldman, although he declined to specify exactly what Trump has in mind if he can obtain the various parcels from the lenders.

"He's interested in good assets at the right price," said Goldman. "This is a specialty that Mr. Trump has."

At 23,538 square feet and comprising 8 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, Albemarle house is one of the biggest dwellings in the county. Kluge offered it 16 months ago for at a record-setting price of $100 million before ratcheting the price down to $24 million. Designed by a former baronial mansion specialist named David Easton, the opulent neo-Georgian was completed in 1985.

"It's a very unique house," said Goldman, "but it's not everybody's cup of tea."

Standing by and watching the events proceed was a veritable who's-who of the local real estate scene. Attendees included developer Dr. Charles Hurt, real estate broker Murdoch Matheson, distressed securities investor Tom Hill, and the lawyer to the developer of the stalled Landmark hotel, Connor Crook. None of these individuals, however, placed a bid.

Another person watching the proceedings was Elizabeth Nisos. A stone mason, Nisos said that in 2006 Kluge failed to pay her $16,000 invoice– and that had Kluge treated local citizens better the community would have supported her.

"Karma's a very wicked queen," said Nisos.

A call to Kluge's husband, William Moses, however, resulted in a hearty laugh on the topic of Nisos. "She's very persistent," says Moses, alleging that there are problems with Nisos' story, that she is the subject of counterclaims, and he directed a reporter to the lawyer handling that case.

Moses also revealed that Goldman, besides representing Trump, represents Moses and Kluge as well. Which makes Goldman's parting statement to a reporter leaving the auction all the more intriguing.

"A step," said Goldman.

For anyone just jonesin to know, the bidding went like this:

Trump: $2 million

woman: $2.5 million

Trump: $2.75 million

woman: $3 million

Trump: $3.1 million

woman: $3.5 million

Trump: $3.6 million

Bank: $15.26 million

At that point, Trump's rep Goldman held up a finger and said, "I'll be right back," and went to  conduct a phone call. And there the bidding ended, as no one agreed to top the value assigned by the bank, which appeared to lose nearly $8 million that day ($23 million lent minus a new value of $15.26 million).

–bidding detail added 12:45pm, Friday, February 18


This cannot be good. Donald Trump has "developed" every pristine piece of nature he has gotten hold of. And he shuts out 99.9% of everyone else from enjoying it in the future. Beware.

way to go Donald

hello lady in white

County should buy it and turn it into public housing. That would be the proper socialist way.

that's a good idea, County buys it and moves The Heaven in a area where homeless can work on the field and make good wine,

Presidents from Albemarle: Jefferson, Madison, Trump. (He is thinking about running so he needs to move near Jefferson first).

Sorry Jefferson, Monroe, Trump.

"lawyer to the developer of the stalled Landmark hotel, Connor Crook"
What a great name for a lawyer, and the lawyer on that particular project.

............YA FIRED!

If you're looking for great live commentary on this story, and want to have a few good laughs as well; take a listen to Coy Barefoot and Hawes Spencer coming to you compliments of our great local radio station - WINA.


Pure greed=New Orientalism.

Really People???? They say when an eagle falls from the sky the buzzards follow it to the ground. I have seen and heard about this story for several months. Everyone seems to forget about the amazing things that Patricia Kluge has done for the community with the Kluge-Moses Foundation. When ever there was a emergency or disaster in the area, she was one of the first to step up and lend a helping hand. Now when she needs support the most, everyone wants to pick her apart. The only thing I get out of your personal comments is jealously and envy...and that's quite sad. I am positive that Patricia Kluge WILL NOT go silently into the night. She was and still is a blazing star in the heavens and like a Phoenix....she will rise from the ashes. So put that in your pipes and smoke it.

You are right Tiffany...Patricia has done a lot of good for the area and in other areas. It's just too bad that it has come to this. The wines were beginning to really show something. I just wish she would have had more time...it would have worked....it would have worked. I really do wish her well and I hope this comes out to where she can pick up where she left off. Because she had the right combination going. I wish she would let me help her.

John S.......thank you for your comment. It is refreshing to finally see someone with a bit of class comment on this situation. Yes, she truly has made her mark in regards to the level of quality with her wines. And for that she will always be remembered... BUT don't count her out yet. She is a proud and intelligent woman and she will be back.

Well it still boils down to the rich taking care of the rich. This Kluge Chick gets money for who knows what ( sure aint brains).She mishandles the cash! The banks steps in (after receiving bailout cash from us (the US) Saves her bacon. Trumps steps in with some back door deal that will surly give have the property at a huge discount. The Rich Taking Care Of The Rich. Just think about it.

She was and still is a blazing star in the heavens and like a Phoenix....
River or Joaquin?

I cannot wait for the Donald to have at it with the nitwits on the Board of Supervisors.. Yes! This will be epic for months and months of excellent headlines and fodder for the inter-webs....

This is very good for the economy here if he brings that awesome golf course here. It's a hell of a lot better to have a thriving business for tourism here then have undrinkable 65 dollar rot-gut vino being NOT sold....

If you think she made a significant contribution to the Va wine industry; you are right. Was it a good contribution? She helped put Va more on the American wine map but that's about it. Of course some of the wines were good!- she could could afford to hire a 5th generation champagne maker from France to make her sparkling wine; the best from Bordeaux, Bourgundy, etc...unfortunately they all left after3-6 months due to poor treatment and bad business practices on her part: there was even a clause in their contracts that they were no even allows to converse with other Va winemakers! Talk with anyone in the Va wine industry and you will find she is not respected what so ever and had done everything to promote only her and no her peers in the industry.

Do yo nay sayers have something against someone buying a piece of property that is for sale? At least it is not being condemned and taken over by the County and sold to Wal-Mart.

Trump has cash, leverage and influence- maybe even a few jobs in the mix.

200 acres next to it- Golf Course of course..........

I've had a CD with Bank of America for over twenty years and now it is making almost no interest. That interest gets taxed. Bank of America has the audacity to spend money like that on another boondoggle in uncertain times? What a crime. The American revolution may not be against the government as much as against these financial institutions that are "too big to fail"... which the government bails out with our taxes!
The middle class is getting sick of this junk.

Arthur~ you silly twit, BAC was the mortgage holder so they bid to protect themselves, not to "spend on a boondoogle." Their mistake was trusting in the Kluge woman's business skill or common sense. As many know, including a former Governor, she works best on her back. Rise from the ashes my aching @$$!!

Oh, sorry Nick, I forgot how important it is for bankers to protect themselves. Guess that does make me a twit for not realizing what self center institutions banks have become.

Oh, sorry Nick, I forgot how important it is for bankers to protect themselves. Guess that does make me a twit for not realizing what self center institutions banks have become.

Arthur- were you forced to buy the CD?

No HarryD, but ethically I had hoped that money that they were trusted to keep safe and invest would be used for loans to local businesses, farmers and people who really need it in our community... not to bail themselves out. But then again I did say ethically.

The bank was basically the owner of the house having lent close to 23 million on it. The bank wasn't going to let someone get it for 4 million or so and take a 19 million loss. Now they are out 8 million or the Moses-Kluge still owe them the 8 million plus fees etc. The answer to that would be in the language of the loan papers.

"the bank, which appeared to lose nearly $8 million that day ($23 million lent minus a new value of $15.26 million"

Can you esplain it to me Lucy? I'm not a paper-shuffle wizard, but depending on the original loan to value ratio it doesn't look like the bank cut its losses by buying out at a higher bid price unless at some point the property is truly worth the $15M. They're holding a property that didn't sell (valued at ?) and pay taxes on appraised value until that becomes a market value in pocket. No doubt they're in good shape, because well, bankers are smart people.

Sorry that was inappropriate...I meant to say "can joo esplain it to me".

Gees, Louise. Do we really want the Donald in Charlottesville? I chatted with the owner of a cafe in Chicago, across the river from the Trump hotel. I was admiring the architecture of the Tribune building and lamenting their bankruptcy. The owner of the cafe said that at least the Tribune had run an honest business. The Trump tower was an ugly addition to the area, he claims. (no argument from me there). What really irked the cafe owner is that Trump declared bankruptcy on the Chicago project and left locals holding the financial bag. How can a person leave behind debts in one local and buy a mansion elsewhere? Besides, his hair is weird.

Tiffany really? You must be talking about a different person...really what has she done for this community, she did not care about at all. Any charity donations would be for tax breaks, she never had a good word to say about 'the commoners', she mistreated, abused, used and stepped on people on a regular basis for greedy self centered purposes. Kharma is a wonderful thing, she personifies, "what goes around comes around". It was Mr Kluge who was the good one, dont get them confused.