Bankrupt ex-billionaire Sam Wyly won a judge’s approval Wednesday to sell his family’s Colorado ranch, the site of six custom-built homes.
The bankruptcy judge in Dallas also said Wyly could provide a loan to pay for the ranch’s upkeep before it’s sold. The property will be listed for $50 million, according to a real estate agent.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, which are seeking more than $2 billion from Wyly after he lost a lawsuit, had objected to the sale proposal before Wyly confirmed that the proceeds would be held in escrow until a judge determines who gets the money.
“Nothing is going to happen to the cash proceeds of this sale,” Wyly’s lawyer Josiah Daniel told the judge. He said the loans for the ranch’s maintenance would be recovered for the bankruptcy estate when the property is sold.
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Wyly, 80, declined to comment after Wednesday’s hearing.
In the lawsuit brought by the SEC, a federal jury in Manhattan found last year that Wyly and his late brother perpetrated an offshore stock-trading fraud that generated $550 million in illegal profit over more than a decade. Wyly filed for bankruptcy in October.
Wyly, who helped build the arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels Stores and other companies before running afoul of the SEC, has said he has about a 1 percent stake in the ranch, with the rest owned by a trust on the Isle of Man.
The 244-acre property about 10 miles from Aspen is used by the Wyly family for vacations and as a permanent home by one of his daughters, according to court papers. Wyly has said it must be put up for sale soon to take advantage of the “prime selling season” for properties in the area, high in the Rocky Mountains.
Dennis Faulkner, financial adviser to the estate, testified that the operating budget is $645,000 a year after recent reductions. Expenses include property taxes and salaries for a full-time ranch manager and ranch hand.