IRS is seeing interest in historic Redstone Castle |

IRS is seeing interest in historic Redstone Castle

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Redstone Castle isn’t on the auction block – not yet, anyway – but the Internal Revenue Service has received several unsolicited bids for the property in recent weeks.

“Three or four” prospective buyers recently contacted the castle’s caretaker, Special Agent John Harrison of the IRS, to express their interest in the property. Harrison stressed the offers were not invited by the IRS or the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“They are just going there by themselves, taking the tour and saying, `Hey, we’d like to buy the place,'” he said.

Each potential buyer is warned that the property is not for sale unless its owners of record, Leon and Debbie Harte, are snared by the fraud investigation launched by the IRS in March. They’re also warned about the outstanding mortgage, a few much-needed repairs and the property’s historical and financial significance to the Crystal River Valley.

“But I tell people, `If you’re interested, send me some dollar figures,'” Harrison said.

He declined to divulge the potential buyers’ identities, but he did discuss their plans for the castle property during a recent meeting of the Redstone Historical Society.

“[Harrison] indicated that there was at least some interest from an altruistic potential buyer who would be interested in historic preservation, but he also indicated that there were some people who might be interested in the property for commercial purposes,” said Darrell Munsell, president of the historical society.

There is still no indication that a sale will be necessary, Harrison said. The castle, along with the neighboring caretaker’s unit and a residence on Redstone Boulevard, were seized by the IRS this spring as the agency began a full-scale fraud investigation of the Hartes. If the couple are found guilty, the Redstone properties – as well as an additional $25 million worth of property involved in the case – will be auctioned off to compensate the case’s many victims, Harrison said.

“We’ve recovered a lot of money” in the case so far, Harrison said, “but we have a lot of victims.”

In the meantime, the 101-year-old Redstone Castle is open for daily tours and special events until Oct. 15, when the property will close for the winter.

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is]

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