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Nascar Owner May Lose His $1 Million Deposit On Miami Real Estate Auction
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You learn something new everyday. When bidding on a pair of Miami luxury oceanfront mansions with 12.4 million of your money at a live auction, go yourself, don't send someone in your place. It looks like California businessman and NASCAR team owner Gene Haas made this very mistake and will most likely cost him more than $1 million. A Miami-Dade judge has ruled this week that Haas reneged on the winning bid for two Golden Beach homes in 2011 and must hand over his deposit plus interest.
Haas sent a proxy to the luxury real estate auction, which was held in the living room of one of the two mansions up for bid. The auction happened days before Stewart was victorious at Homestead-Miami Speedway’s Ford 400, earning Stewart-Haas Racing a Sprint Cup Championship.
Robert and Steven Fox owned their luxury real estates at 229 and 401 Ocean Blvd. since 1990. After deciding to downsize into neighboring Hollywood Beach condos a few miles north on A1A, they placed their Golden Beach luxury homes up for sale for nearly $24 million total.
Two years passed with no buyers so the brothers took a new approach. They held an absolute auction to sell both pieces of luxury Miami real estate on Nov. 10, 2011. Around 15 bidders applied and were vetted, among those were Lake Worth developer Albert Wadsworth, who represented Haas.
Robert Fox’s pad at 229 Ocean was the location of the luxury Miami real estate auction. The six-bedroom, six-and-two-half-bath home that sits on the Atlantic on a 29,000-square-foot lot was originally developed for some guy that invented wax paper. Steven Fox’s piece of luxury real estate was equally luxurious, with four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, two half-baths, three fireplaces, a 280-foot stretch of beach from back door to ocean, and a full-house generator; its first owner came up with the patent for witch hazel astringent.
Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher was tapped as real estate auctioneer. The unusual event was curious in Golden Beach, whose mayor, Glenn Singer, attended out of personal interest.
Fisher kept spitting numbers, and bidders continued bidding. Andres Toro, who was hoping to buy one of the luxury Miami homes, gave up after the offers broke $5.5 million. “It was amazing," Toro said.
Haas, who was bidding through Wadsworth, didn’t want just one of the luxury Miami mansions, he wanted them both. At the end of the auction Haas was successful with a $12.4 million offer for both luxury pieces of Miami real estate.
When it came time to sign the paperwork for the Miami real estate he had won, Wadsworth backed out and Haas never bought the homes.
The brothers sued Haas’ company, Haas Automation, for breach of contract, and demanded the $1 million deposit that Haas placed in escrow before the auction. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom ruled in favor of the Foxes, and on Tuesday Haas was ordered to turn over the deposit plus about $87,000 in interest.
Haas plans to appeal the decision. Wadsworth, Haas’ proxy, was in over his head when it came to bidding in a real estate auction of that magnitude. “The guy who was the eyes and ears for the actual buyer simply didn’t have the experience he needed to participate in that kind of auction," Isicoff said. “He came to that realization too late. But unfortunately, once the gavel fell on his winning bid, he and the buyer were contractually obligated to keep up their end of the arrangement."
The $1 million-plus he may be forced to pay on his would-be Golden Beach homes won’t bankrupt him. His estimated net worth was about $740 million in 2011.
Andres Leiser is a local contributor for Constec Realty's Miami luxury real estate website. Andres Leiser has been involved in Miami real estate for over a decade. For more information please visit www.constecrealty.com
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