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LA’s most expensive listing sells at auction for $100K

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The sprawling hilltop property was once listed for $1 billion

A large flat expanse of grass along a ridge line overlooking a city skyline
Dubbed “The Mountain” in promotional material, the property is still listed for $650 million.
Photos by Matthew Momberger, courtesy Aaron Kirman Partners

Los Angeles’s most expensive listing sold today for less than the price of most tear-downs.

Billed in listing material as “The Mountain,” the nearly 158-acre Beverly Crest property hit the market last year with an astronomical $1 billion price tag. The parcel was auctioned off this week for a meager $100,000, according to attorney Ronald Richards, who represents its former owner.

The lucky—or unlucky—buyer was a trust established by late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes. Hughes bought the enormous hilltop tract of land in 1997, and property records show that the trust he established sold the parcel in 2004.

As The Hollywood Reporter detailed in a 2015 story, Hughes’ trust lent buyer Charles “Chip” Dickens $23.8 million to purchase the undeveloped land. Dickens and business partner Victor Noval then shopped the property around to potential buyers, eventually listing the house last year with a headline-grabbing price 10 times higher than any real estate sale in Los Angeles County history.

But records show that Dickens quickly defaulted on his loan from the Hughes trust. Richards says the debt owed to the lender amounted to $200 million by Tuesday—meaning the real cost of the property amounts to far more than the $100,000 paid.

According to the Wall Street Journal, any other buyer would have had to cough up the $200 million needed to pay off those debts and fees, on top of the purchase price.

The sprawling parcel of land, situated above Beverly Hills, could eventually prove lucrative for its on-again-off-again owner. As of Tuesday, it was still listed for sale with a more modest price of $650 million.