Beverly Hills' Billion-Dollar Listing, The Mountain, Sells for $100K

The Vineyard  - Beverly Vineyards Publicity-H 2019
Beverly Vineyards

After months of legal wrangling, the 157-acre plot of land atop Tower Grove Drive sold to the Mark Hughes Trust, named after the founder of Herbalife.

The 157-acre Beverly Hills property known as the Mountain, which was listed last year for $1 billion, quietly sold on Tuesday for $100,000 at a foreclosure auction in Pomona.

The sale was confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by attorney Ronald Richards, who is representing the former owner of the property, Secured Capital Partners. The buyer and sole bidder at the auction was the lender on the property — the Mark Hughes Trust. In recent legal filings, the Mark Hughes Trust alleged it was owed $200 million in liens on the property. Meaning, had there been any other bidders present they would have had to bid more than $200 million to cover the debt. 

Tuesday’s sale is the latest twist in a decades-long saga that has centered on the property. 

Last year, Secured Capital Partners hired Compass’ Aaron Kirman to represent the property. In July, Kirman rebranded the plot of land calling it the Mountain (it was previously referred to as the Vineyard) and listed it for $1 billion. That generated a wave of headlines across the country, but it also coincided with a cooling in Los Angeles’ luxury real estate market. A few months, later the price was cut to $650 million. 

In recent months, Secured Capital, which is tied to convicted felon Victorino Noval, had sought bankruptcy protection. A judge ultimately ruled against the bankruptcy protection, which allowed Tuesday’s auction to proceed. 

The official address of the Mountain is 1652 Tower Grove Drive, and over the past few decades the property has traded hands from the Shah of Iran's sister to Merv Griffin to Mark Hughes, the mogul behind Herbalife. One of the central and lingering questions surrounding the Mountain is who actually owns it. Tuesday’s auction gives some clarity on that front and a decisive victory to the Hughes Trust.

But Richards, the attorney for Secured Capital Partners, said his clients are planning on challenging any transfer of ownership. “We have to wait until they change the title, then we can bring a wrongful foreclose action against them,” said Richards, signaling that the legal wrangling is far from over.

Calls and emails to an attorney for the Mark Hughes Trust were not returned. News of the foreclosure was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.