Couple Buys Disgraced Financier's Iowa Estate

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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.


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


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.

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