Couple Buys Disgraced Financier's Iowa Estate

The 20-acre estate outside Cedar Falls, Iowa, was sold for a winning bid of about $600,000. The property used to be owned by Russell Wasendorf, who was recently sentenced to 50 years in jail for embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from investors.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And we have news of another fire sale. Our last word in business today is the buy of a lifetime.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That's what some are calling the sale of a 20-acre estate outside Cedar Falls, Iowa, which sold for a winning bid of around $600,000. The precise amount was not disclosed. One expert says to build something like that estate today would cost $1.5 million.

GREENE: The estate features a three-story main house with a basement piano bar and a wine bar. Sounds lovely. There's also a greenhouse and a home theater. The property also has two smaller homes, a huge tree house, an enclosed pool, a sand volleyball court.

INSKEEP: But wait. There's more. Some locals say there's also hidden treasure on the property - coffee cans filled with cash buried by the former owner, disgraced financier Russell Wasendorf. The man nicknamed the Midwest Madoff was recently sentenced to 50 years in jail for embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from investors.

GREENE: The winning bidders, Ken and Linda Alberts, plan to spend time at their new home - new estate - with their children, grandchildren and horses. And while they don't seem to buy into the whole buried treasure myth, Ken Alberts joked to the Des Moines Register that he should charge visitors like 500 bucks just to search the grounds for all that loot.

INSKEEP: Be sort of like a lottery with a shovel.

GREENE: I guess it would. That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: I'm Steve Inskeep.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.