1. Business

Expensive Tampa estate draws little interest at auction, to be taken over by bank

Published Dec. 19, 2013

TAMPA — The palace once called Tampa Bay's most expensive estate will soon be taken over by the bank, after its foreclosure auction Wednesday closed with only one lowball bid.

Bank of America set the lowest price it would let former gold dealer Mark Yaffe's megamansion go for at about $6.5 million — a steal, considering the home modeled after a royal palace was once for sale at $25 million.

But the only bid, from a Tampa home flipping firm, came in at $258,000 — about 2 percent of the $10.5 million the bank says the Yaffes still owe in loan principal, taxes and interest.

Yaffe, who once ran one of the world's largest precious-coin wholesalers, spent seven years building the 29,000-square-foot Jacobean manor with 10 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and 14 fireplaces.

But four years ago, beneath $36 million of debt, Yaffe's National Gold Exchange declared bankruptcy. The home was foreclosed, and creditors seized $18 million in rare coins and antique music machines.

The bank is expected to take over the home's title within weeks and continue a five-year effort to offload the sprawling estate. The mansion in Tampa's prestigious Avila enclave was most recently put on the market at $12.9 million.

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or dharwell@tampabay.com.


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