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Marcos Skyscraper on Wall Street Auctioned for a Paltry $77 Million : Real Estate: New York City building secretly bought by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos sold for just above the minimum asking price.

November 13, 1989|From Reuters

NEW YORK — A 66-story Manhattan skyscraper owned by the ousted late Philippines President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his wife, Imelda, was sold at auction in Federal Court here today for $77,000,100--a price that just barely covered its mortgage and expenses.

The price for 40 Wall Street was only $100 over the minimum price set by mortgage holder Citibank to get its investment and expenses back.

The special court-appointed master overseeing the sale, Stephen Estroff, called the low price a tragedy, saying it did not look as if the Philippine government, which claims the property was secretly bought by the Marcoses, will realize any money from the sale.

The price was sharply lower for the building than the $108.6 million it fetched when first auctioned off last July.

But the original buyers, real estate developers Ralph and Joseph Bernstein, who had a business connection with the Marcoses, could not find the financing to complete the deal and now stand to lose a $1.5-million deposit.

The building is one of four properties secretly owned by the Marcoses in Manhattan that a Federal Court here has ordered sold off.

The Marcoses were charged with looting the Philippine treasury of more than $100 million and then defrauding U.S. banks of $168 million to buy the buildings.

Marcos died in September after being ruled too ill to stand trial but his wife faces trial for fraud and conspiracy next March.

The building at 40 Wall Street was bought by a group headed by developer Burton Resnick.

The sale was ordered by Federal Judge Pierre Laval and the money is to go into an escrow fund until the dispute between the Philippine government and the Marcoses over the buildings is settled.

Another building owned by the Marcoses, a 10-floor shopping mall called Herald Center, was auctioned off last week for $25 million, its minimum price.

Robert Abrahams, the attorney for Citibank, said the low price for 40 Wall Street reflected a soft market for Manhattan real estate. Asked if he was surprised, he said, "Nothing surprises me any more in this case."

There are still two more buildings owned by the Marcoses to be sold but no date has been set for their auction.

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