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Bidders Play It Close to the Vest as Villa Imperiali Stays on Auction Block

September 15, 1987|MARIA L. LA GANGA | Times Staff Writer

After more than 300 bidders headed for the hills of Orange County Saturday morning to attend an auction such as few local residents had seen before, the doors of the lavish Villa Imperiali closed that night without a buyer.

The contents of the 16,000-square-foot mansion were sold piece by piece for an undisclosed amount "well into the six figures," said Sharron Stockman, a partner in Land Auction Unlimited, the company that is selling the house. "We're pleased with that."

But none of the bidders came up with an offer even near the minimum bid of $3.8 million set by the auction company for the house.

The mansion is set on five acres of hilltop land in Cowan Heights. It has 11 bathrooms, an estimated 20 crystal chandeliers, matching his-and-hers bidets, a pool, fountains and a large cabana.

"We are still taking offers," Stockman said. "We had quite a bit of press, and they (interested parties) did not want to voice anything in front of anybody."

Stockman said she has consulted with four prospective bidders who have requested anonymity. "I can't comment on who they are," Stockman said. "That's one of the reasons they wouldn't bid Saturday, though it is surprising. You go to a public auction, and you should expect to be known."

The unacceptable bids received Saturday included one offer of $2.5 million and an additional piece of property, Stockman said. Villa Imperiali is owned by tile magnate Leo Imperiali, owner of the Tile World chain of stores.

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