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Sold! Atkinson mansion in Lake Saint Louis goes for $4.75 million

Sold! Atkinson mansion in Lake Saint Louis goes for $4.75 million

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Darain Atkinson's Lake Saint Louis mansion will be sold to an anonymous buyer for $4.75 million, pending bankruptcy court approval that could come as early as tomorrow.

Monday was the deadline for prospective buyers to offer a higher bid, and none did.

The house, which cost at least $26.7 million to build, is expected to be the most valuable asset surrendered by the brothers who owned Wentzville-based US Fidelis, which collapsed late last year amidst allegations of fraudulent business practices.

After US Fidelis filed for bankruptcy on March 1, an independent management team sued the company's owners -- Darain and Cory Atkinson -- and accused them of plundering the firm. A settlement required the Atkinsons to surrender virtually their entire fortunes, including at least four luxury properties.

The properties are being sold to pay the company's creditors, which include consumers who believe they bought worthless vehicle service contracts.

The high bidder on the Lake Saint Louis house is identified in court records as 5 Lakeview Acquisition Group LLC. According to state business records, the firm was created in October. Its registered agent is Brian E. McGovern, a lawyer at the Chesterfield firm McCarthy Leonard & Kaemmerer.

Last month, McGovern declined to identify the company's owner. He could not be reached for comment today.

David Warfield, a lawyer for a committee of unsecured US Fidelis creditors, was the architect of the company's settlement with the Atkinson brothers and leads the effort to unload the properties.

He said today he was surprised that there were no competing bids before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline. "We came close," he said.

Warfield said one man secured the $500,000 in earnest money and was about to offer a higher price until about 3:45 p.m., when he backed away from bidding. "I gather he just thought was the wrong deal at the wrong house," Warfield said.

Warfield wouldn't identify that man or the owner of 5 Lakeview Acquisition Group.

The house - although occupied until recently by Darain Atkinson and his wife, Mia - is not finished.

Kevin Cottrell, a real estate agent representing the buyer, could not be reached for comment. However, in a podcast on his company's website, Cottrell says construction estimates indicate that it will cost at least $3 million to finish the house.

That price tag includes completing work on an unfinished indoor pool and basketball court, as well as fixing some construction work. For example, he said, all the hardwood floors need to be replaced because they were finished with a solution intended to be used on furniture, not floors.

In the recording, Cottrell describes the purchase as an all-cash deal. "Nobody wanted to lend more than $4 million because of the location," Cottrell said.

Also in the podcast, Cottrell dismisses rumors that his client is a professional athlete or local celebrity. "It's a man from St. Louis," he said.

"My buyer is planning on living there for the foreseeable future. This is going to be the last house he probably purchases," Cottrell says in the podcast. "He's not going to flip it."

Weekday updates on the latest news in the St. Louis business community.

Related to this story

Until late 2009, Wentzville-based US Fidelis was the nation's No. 1 seller of extended auto-service contracts. The company, which filed for ba…

A two-story closet, a 'secret' room and a seven-car garage are just some of the features of the mansion built by one of the men who helped fou…

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