Financier sells Red Mountain home | AspenTimes.com

Financier sells Red Mountain home

John Colson

Wall Street financier Ted Forstmann has sold his Red Mountain home.

Is Ted Forstmann giving up on Aspen – has he decided there are greener, perhaps more exciting pastures elsewhere?The high-powered Wall Street financier, whose investment corporation has long held September conferences in Aspen that have drawn some of the most powerful people in the world, recently sold his Red Mountain Ranch home for a reported price tag of $16.24 million.But, according to the real-estate broker who handled the sale, Forstmann still plans to keep on with the conferences.”No, no, no,” Realtor Scott Davidson replied Wednesday when asked if the sale is an indication Forstmann is pulling out of Aspen entirely. Davidson said that, as far as he knows, Forstmann will continue holding the conferences here, but he declined to discuss whether Forstmann owns other property in Aspen and will continue to live here.

The Pitkin County Assessor’s Office has no record of Forstmann owning any other property in the county under his own name.A call to the Forstmann Little & Co. offices in New York City yielded no confirmation of the fate of the conferences, or information about whether Forstmann still plans to maintain a residence in Aspen.Representatives of the Hotel Jerome said they have no official notice that the conference will be coming to Aspen in September.But, according to a Jerome official who asked not to be quoted by name, most of the hotels and other accommodations in Aspen are booked for the first couple of weeks in September, which she took as a sign that the conference is planned.

In the past, the conference has lured a broad range of speakers and participants, including such names as former Secretary of State Collin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former South African President Nelson Mandela, cycling star Lance Armstrong and multimedia baroness Oprah Winfrey.The multiday conference has hosted discussions on a variety of global issues including terrorism, medical advances, economic conditions worldwide and related topics. Entertainers for the conferees have included the Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and others, and Forstmann has been reported to have joined musicians on stage occasionally, playing keyboards with the band.While the conference has become almost a habitual boost to Aspen’s autumn economy, bringing an estimated $1 million into town during a traditionally slow time, it was canceled in the wake of the 9/11 bombings in 2001, and canceled again for an unknown reason in 2003, according to published reports.The 7,415 square-foot house at 142 E. Reds Road, which sold for cash to investment banker Barry S. Friedberg, went for close to its asking price of $16.5 million. It is a five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home that was on the market for four months. According to the MLS listing, it is “one of the most sought after addresses in Aspen.” The sale closed on July 21.

The Web lists the buyer as an executive vice president for Merrill Lynch & Co. in New York, and chairman in charge of global markets and investment banking. According to information on the Web, Friedberg and his wife owned property in New York City, East Hampton, N.Y., and Aspen.Wikipedia calls Forstmann, 55, “one of the most eligible bachelors” in New York. He has been on the Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans since 1998.He is credited with being one of the few to condemn Wall Street’s fascination with “junk bonds,” a high-yield investment vehicle used to raise large amounts of capital in the 1980s, which ultimately fell out of favor as a result of scandal and bad investments.John Colson can be reached at jcolson@aspentimes.com