Lay sells riverfront home, has another under contract | AspenTimes.com

Lay sells riverfront home, has another under contract

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Former Enron chairman Ken Lay and his wife, Linda, have sold one of their two remaining Aspen homes, and their last home here is under contract, as well.

The Lays once had four properties in the Aspen area. Last year, they sold a riverside property on Shady Lane for $10 million and a lot above the Aspen Art Museum for $2.15 million.

Those deals worked out well for the Lays, as they purchased the properties for a total of $3.55 million.

The Houston family recently closed a deal on one of their two homes in the Oklahoma Flats section of town along the Roaring Fork River.

A log-and-stone home sold on March 28 for approximately $4.6 million, although the buyer has also agreed to pay an outstanding $300,000 charge that the Lays owed when they opted to pay for, rather than build, a required employee housing unit.

The Lays purchased the home in 1999 for $4.8 million, and it was listed for a while at over $6 million.

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Joshua Saslove of Joshua and Co. was the listing broker on the deal. He said the house was listed for sale about the right length of time for the current real estate market.

Saslove is also the listing broker for the last property the Lays own in Aspen. The property is across the street from the house that sold in March. The property is now under contract but at a reduced price from the listing price of more than $6 million.

According to records at the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, the combined monthly payments for loans on the Oklahoma Flats homes were approximately $65,000.

Ken Lay fell from grace as the chairman and CEO of Enron when the company declared bankruptcy in December 2001. It was one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history.

Despite Lay’s current status as the poster boy of corporate greed, a recent New York Times article by reporter Kurt Eichenwald suggested that Lay may not have undertaken criminal insider trading before his doomed corporation went bankrupt.

Eichenwald’s investigative report indicated Lay remained loyal to his corporation almost to the end and, in the process, made some poor investment decisions.

The New York Times’ article said Lay’s marketable investments fell from $339 million in early 2001 to $3.8 million. “He also owns tens of millions of dollars of illiquid assets, mainly real estate,” the article said.

And according to an April 25 article in the Houston Chronicle, a huge lawsuit filed by Enron shareholders is moving into the discovery phase. A U.S. District Court judge ruled that Lay, along with other top Enron executives, cannot be dismissed from the lawsuit.

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is bgs@aspentimes.com]

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