The luxury midtown Manhattan apartment of disgraced attorney Marc S. Dreier was sold at auction Tuesday for $8.2 million, about $2 million less than the $10.43 million he paid in 2007.
The sale of the condominium at 151 E. 58th St. came just one week after Southern District Judge Jed S. Rakoff sentenced Dreier to 20 years in prison for orchestrating a multiyear Ponzi scheme that fleeced more than $400 million from clients of Dreier LLP and investors to whom he sold bogus promissory notes.
Forty-six bidders registered for the auction held at Southern District Bankruptcy Court. In just five minutes, the price of Dreier's 3,000-square-foot apartment in the Bloomberg Building at One Beacon Court rocketed to $8.15 million from an initial bid of $3 million.
"You'd look good on the terrace," auctioneer Peter Maltz of David R. Maltz & Co. quipped as he successfully elicited the final $8.2 million price.
The winning bidder, whose auction paddle bore the number 288, declined to identify himself, joking, "I have buyer's remorse."
However, a source said the buyer is Indian-born Ajit Jain, head of the reinsurance business of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., who has been touted as a possible successor to Warren Buffett at Berkshire.
Dreier, 59, spent his last weeks of freedom under the watch of around-the-clock armed guards at the apartment. Since his sentencing, he has been jailed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, pending assignment to a federal prison.
Rakoff recommended that Dreier serve his sentence at the low-security prison in the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex, located in the foothills of Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains. However, the Federal Bureau of Prisons frequently rejects such recommendations.
On Monday, as potential bidders roamed through Dreier's unit admiring the sweeping East River views from its massive terrace, remnants of the now imprisoned attorney's lavish past remained.
Photos of rocker Jon Bon Jovi and former New York Giant Michael Strahan, celebrity clients of Dreier LLP, which imploded days after its sole equity partner's December arrest, lined the walls of the entryway.
A poster for "After Innocence," a Showtime documentary written by former Dreier associate Marc Simon that follows the lives of wrongfully convicted men freed by DNA evidence, was propped up against a living room wall next to a photo of a sun-tanned Dreier at what appeared to be a country club.
In the kitchen, one of the auctioneer's employees dumped a bottle of walnut oil down the sink and threw a jar of capers into a large green trash bag. A 2003 bottle of Chateau d'Yquem and a bottle of Ruinart Champagne Brut Blanc were still chilling in a wine fridge.
A wood-framed mirror occupying nearly a full wall of the master bedroom faced Dreier's bed. A woman's black camisole was rolled up next to one of the nearly 30 pairs of shoes the attorney left behind in his closet.
The Harvard Law School-educated attorney also left behind bags of mail for his son, Spencer, and boxes filled with court documents filed in his criminal case.
Despite the $150,000 self-irrigating system Dreier reportedly had installed, the plants on the terrace appeared withered and brown.
'A GOOD DEAL'
Dreier's apartment came fully furnished, save for light fixtures hand-blown by glassmaker Dale Chihuly, reportedly purchased by Dreier for $180,000.
Monthly common charges on the unit are $4,180, while annual real estate taxes, with exemptions and abatements, total roughly $16,500.
Anu Bhartiya, who runs a consulting firm and made a $4.4 million bid for Dreier's condominium, thought the apartment fetched a "little bit higher" than current market value, which he pegged at $21.22 per square foot.
But Asher Alcobi, president of Peter Ashe Real Estate, said he thought the price was on the low side.
Last year, 38D, a 2,410-square-foot apartment in the building without a terrace, sold for $10 million, according to Alcobi.
There are reportedly no more than five terraces at One Beacon Court.
A trader, who declined to give his name and bid $6.5 million on the condo, said the winning bidder got a "good deal."
However, while his friend, also a trader, was impressed with the apartment's "incredible views," he said its "size was a little disappointing."
After the auction, Maltz said the auction was "very successful," adding that the winning bid was higher than expected.
Salvatore LaMonica, the trustee charged with liquidating Dreier's personal estate, also was pleased with the results.
"I think we did a great job" and maximized the apartment's value, said LaMonica of Wantaugh, N.Y.-based LaMonica Herbst & Maniscalco.
"I know that there won't be many people shedding tears but in a certain way, the sale of the apartment closes the chapter on a life gone inexplicably wrong," said Dreier's criminal lawyer, Gerald Shargel, who did not attend the auction.