DCN ARCHIVES

March 23, 2005

Building seized two years ago by IRS

Historic Colorado mansion up for auction

DENVER

A historic 42-room mansion where John D. Rockefeller and Theodore Roosevelt were guests — and where a coal baron’s ghost is said to haunt the halls — goes up for auction Saturday, two years after the IRS seized the building in a fraud investigation.

“We’re hoping the right buyer will come by and recognize the need to preserve a very important part of Colorado history and a very important part of U.S. history,’’ said Jim Harrison, special agent for the Internal Revenue Service.

IRS agents seized Redstone Castle in March 2003 while investigating an international Ponzi investment scheme. They also seized about $20 million in cash from bank accounts and race cars worth $2.4 million.

“This is the first castle, and probably the last, the department has seized,’’ Harrison said. “There just aren’t that many structures like this anywhere in the country.’’

More than two dozen potential buyers attended a pre-auction meeting last week, he said, and at least five could be serious bidders.

Former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt stayed at the estate during a hunting trip after he left the White House; oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller did, too.

But it was nearly abandoned after a mining bust, and some say the cigar-smoking ghost of its builder, coal baron John Cleveland Osgood — who also died in the building —still haunts it.

Filled with antiques and surrounded by a carriage house, barn and other outbuildings, the mansion and 60-hectare estate, in the Crystal River Valley about 273 kilometres west of Denver, was finished in 1902 at a price of $3 million (U.S.) — an astonishing sum at the time.

The Associated Press

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