Vick's House Fails to Sell at Auction

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Anyone in the market for an eight-bedroom, 11-bath home owned by one of the most notorious quarterbacks in NFL history?

Well, it's still available.

Michael Vick's gated-community home in suburban Atlanta went up
for auction Tuesday with a minimum price of $3.2 million - a
half-million dollars less than Vick paid before he moved into the
luxurious dwelling in 2005. But no one showed with the qualifying
payment of $160,000, which was required just to start the bidding.

Vick is in the closing months of a nearly two-year sentence for
his role in funding a dogfighting ring, a criminal case that left
the once-celebrated Atlanta Falcons quarterback in financial
shambles. He is scheduled to be released July 20, and could be
transferred to home confinement as early as May 21.

A pair of real estate agents attended the scheduled auction,
held behind closed doors at a lawyer's office amid a sprawl of
strip malls, hotels and office buildings surrounding the Mall of
Georgia. But they were merely interested parties, not bidders.

"It is the economy that is hitting the price of the houses,"
said Narender Reddy, president of Sterling Realty Services and
affiliated with Metro Brokers GMAC. "I'm sure most people think
the $3.2 million price is fixed higher than the market can fetch."

Vick's lakefront home in Sugarloaf Country Club is being sold as
part of his bankruptcy case, with the goal of paying off a portion
of his massive debts. He lived in the home for only two years,
installing a custom-made bar, workout room and an indoor golf
simulator, before moving back to Virginia to deal with his
dogfighting case.

Attorneys and real estate agents waited privately for a possible
buyer to show, then called off the auction in less than an hour
when it became apparent no one was interested.

Ross Reeves, an attorney for Vick's unsecured creditors, said he
was disappointed but wasn't expecting the sale to take a big chunk
out of the money owed to his clients. He said about $3 million must
go to the mortgage company, a secured creditor, to satisfy the
remainder of the loan and related costs.

The company handling the listing, Funari Realty, said in a
statement that it could not discuss sale details because
negotiations were ongoing.

Meanwhile, federal authorities in Virginia filed court papers
Tuesday objecting to a plan to bring Vick from the federal
penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kan., to testify at a bankruptcy
hearing in his hometown of Norfolk.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro said last month that Vick
must testify in person at an April 2 hearing, even if the suspended
NFL star's attorneys have to get a court order to make it happen.
The judge said he would reject Vick's bankruptcy plan if he fails
to appear.

But the federal prosecutor's office in Alexandria, Va., said
Vick's testimony could be "accomplished by alternative means" and
argued that the transfer would raise all sorts of logistical and
security concerns.

"Mr. Vick's crime continues to engender strong feelings by
members of the society. The possibility of protests has to be
evaluated, anticipated and planned for by the Marshals Service,"
the court papers said.

Santoro scheduled a hearing Wednesday on the matter.

Vick's bankruptcy lawyers, Peter Ginsburg and Paul Campsen, did
not immediately respond to telephone messages left by The
Associated Press.

Reddy said he represents a client who offered $3.2 million a
couple of months ago, but withdrew it when told the home was going
up for auction. He's not sure if his prospective buyer would still
be willing to pay that price after no one else was offered as much
Tuesday.

"The market is changing everyday," Reddy said. "Even I think
$3.2 million is a little high. I will have to talk to my client
about that."

While still furnished, the three-story home has largely been
stripped of anything that would remind a prospective buyer of its
notorious owner. The carpet in one bottom floor has a giant "7" -
Vick's number - but his trophies, keepsakes and pictures have been
removed.

"My client is interested in the home not because it's Michael
Vick's home," Reddy said. "He likes the floor plan. He likes the
lake view. The house is very well built. It's a beautiful home. It
has all the features you would want in a luxury home."


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