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Athlete's luxury home still on the market

Almost one year ago, Gary Sheffield decided he wanted to simplify his life.

The Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star outfielder had a new wife and new life in California. The 11,000-square-foot "dream house" he built for himself on 3 waterfront acres on Pinellas Point was "too much for two people. It was to be a bachelor pad for parties and having lots of people over."

So he and his wife, De Leon, put it on the market for $4.3-million.

"It's still on the market," said Realtor Roy Siegle, who is listing the house through Tourtelot Brothers Realty.

Siegle said, "We had one very good offer. He was a foreign person. We thought we'd be closing this month. When it came to contract time, it fell through. The country he comes from is in quite a bit of turmoil," declining to name the country.

The most far-fetched offer was from "a woman I met some years ago," said Siegle. She wanted to buy it for $4.5-million, above the asking price. She said she had gotten a $10-million judgment against a foreign country. "It's not collectible,' she said. "But I will give Mr. Sheffield $4.5-million on paper and he can just write it off.'

" "Write it off?' " Siegle said he replied, astonished. " "Yeah,' she said. "It's a great deal.' "

Siegle asked her about his commission. " "You can write that off, too,' she told me. Needless to say, we did not accept her offer."

The Sheffields own a home in Los Angeles but continue to commute to St. Petersburg, where his mother lives. His two children live in Tampa with their mother. "They will probably be here some time over the holidays," Siegle said.

The house was designed by Atlanta-based builder Tony Escondari, with seven bedrooms, 5{ baths, home theater, gym, game room and six-car garage. A lagoon-style pool overlooks an unimpeded view of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway, and has a solarium, wet bar, cooking station and bath house.

Recently, the Sheffields decided to knock $400,000 off the asking price, down to $3.9-million.

"They want to expedite it," Siegle said. "And get on with their lives."

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