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Gold dealer’s Avila mansion goes back to bank

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Published:   |   Updated: December 18, 2013 at 03:44 PM

TAMPA — A 29,000-square-foot Avila mansion tied up in scandal for four years has gone back to Bank of America through a foreclosure sale Wednesday.

Mark and Christel Yaffe’s home at 706 Guisando de Avila, built to look like a 17th Century British royal palace, got wrapped up in Mark Yaffe’s legal troubles starting in 2009. At that time, an institution called Sovereign Bank claimed Yaffe had been misappropriating some of the $35 million it had loaned him, ostensibly for his gold business, National Gold Exchange.

Yaffe eventually filed for bankruptcy protection and pledged to sell his Avila mansion to pay off his business debts. He put the home on the market at the astronomical price of $25 million in 2009, but it failed to sell. More recently, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate listed it for sale for $12.9 million. The home features a formal ballroom, 10 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and three half-bathrooms.

The mansion finally changed hands Wednesday, but not the way Yaffe had intended. Bank of America obtained a foreclosure judgment against the Yaffes and a few other entities in October, asserting a claim of $10.5 million. The bank forced its sale at a public foreclosure auction Wednesday morning and took it back with a winning bid of $258,500 when no sufficient competing bids came in, Hillsborough County clerk of court documents show.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Bank of America will do with the mansion because the bank’s attorney did not return a call Wednesday. An attorney for Mark Yaffe was not immediately available Wednesday.

msasso@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7865

Twitter: @msasso

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