Here’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around every day: For $150,000, you can own a small bite — um, we mean bit — of Mike Tyson’s notorious former estate.
The 2.5-acre parcel just hit the market Tuesday in Southington, Ohio, about 45 miles southeast of Cleveland, offering two bedrooms, three bathrooms and what appears to be its own little parking lot off to the side.
If our eyes — and our interpretation of satellite images — don’t deceive us, the home was the gatehouse during the estate’s glory days. We’ve left messages with the listing agent, Yvonne Smith of Real Living Brokers Realty Group, to confirm that.
This parcel was split off from 60 acres, including a 25,000-square-foot mansion, acquired around Christmas 2014 by Living Word Sanctuary, which is in the process of converting the benighted estate into its headquarters.
Why do we say benighted? Well, as we wrote in April of last year (one of Yahoo Real Estate’s most popular stories of 2015, incidentally), when we reported on the church’s plans and we published photos of its abandoned state:
• The mansion was built in 1980 by a hair-styling mogul and county commissioner who lost it to foreclosure (and who, a few years ago, was convicted of fraud and money laundering in “a conspiracy that resulted in one of the largest credit union collapses in history”).
• Tyson bought it at a sheriff’s sale in 1989 for $300,000, and kept it during the three years he spent in prison for raping an 18-year-old. But he lost it in 1999 after a comeback that fell apart when he eared himself – sorry, earned himself – a $3 million fine for biting off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear. “We started getting letters from the IRS saying they were going to take the house and all our stuff,” his then-wife, Monica, told the New York Times. He’d moved out anyway, though, because the local authorities refused to let him keep pet tigers.
• The buyer in 1999 was Paul Monea, a promoter of Tae Bo fitness who went to prison for tax evasion a few years later, then was eventually sent back to prison for money laundering and conspiracy after trying to sell the mansion – and the 43-carat Golden Eye Diamond – to drug dealers (really undercover FBI agents). One money-laundering idea he had was a webcast he’d call “Mike Tyson’s House Party,” in which he’d fill the mansion with young women and cameras, then charge viewers to watch.
• Someone called moneypenny220 tried to sell the mansion on eBay in 2005 for $3.5 million, but it went into foreclosure.
So yes, we think it’s probably fair to call the property benighted, even cursed.
Not to worry if you’re considering buying the parcel, though. These days, under the church’s stewardship, the main property is coming along nicely, local TV station WKYC reports:
“Transforming the former House of Tyson into the future home of the Living Word Sanctuary is slow, but gratifying work.
“The changes are most noticeable on the outside. To this point, much of the work has been done by the congregation.
“ ‘We have totally re-landscaped the place. We’ve opened up those paths, cleaned up the basketball courts, redone all the roofs on all the buildings and shored them up. Painted the place. We have temporary electric and we are moving on,’ [co-pastor Nick] Dejacimo said, as he showed off all the work done to the grounds of the 58-acre property. …
“The room has been cleaned and demolition has begun. It’s easy to see why this is the perfect room for services.
“ ‘You can see the beauty of this place is phenomenal. And you would think this place was always intended to be a church and a sanctuary,’ Dejacimo said, as he stood at what will be the pulpit when work is completed.”
Yvonne Smith’s listing suggests that the smaller parcel could be used as “a shop or commercial dwelling or as a rental.” She does caution that the house needs work, though, because it has been vacant.
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