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Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Donald Trump working to buy Kluge estate

By Steve Yanda and Annie Gowen

Embattled Virginia socialite and winemaker Patricia Kluge may have found a white knight to save her Charlottesville empire -- none other than real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Trump's attorney business adviser from the D.C. law firm of Skadden, Arps appeared at the Albemarle County auction of Kluge's grand 23,000-square-foot neo-Georgian estate, Albemarle House, Wednesday morning to say that they are in the process of working out a deal to buy the home, which after this morning's auction remains in the hands of Kluge's creditor, Bank of America.

"It's a very unique house, but it's not everybody's cup of tea, depending on what you want to do with it," said attorney Leslie Goldman.

Trump has already secured the rights to purchase 200 acres of land adjacent to the estate and is negotiating for Kluge's other holdings, including her 900-acre winery, the lawyer said.

Goldman was vague about the Trump's plans for the property, saying only, "It would be premature to speculate exactly how it would be used. But it's very valuable land."

Over the last decade Kluge, 62, created well-respected vineyard on land around her grand house near Monticello and won awards for her sparkling wines -- served at Chelsea Clinton's wedding last summer -- and red blend. But in recent years, following some aggressive expansion of the winery,she fell upon hard times, with credit problems forcing her to sell off her jewelry and extension collection of art and antiques last year. She lost the vineyard to foreclosure in October.

She had initially tried to sell Albemarle House -- which the Sotheby's listing calls "one of the most important residences in the United States since the "Golden Age" -- for $100 million, but when no buyer came forward the price was slashed over time to $24 million. The eight-bedroom home comes with its own movie theater, wine grotto, swimming pool and helipad.

By Steve Yanda and Annie Gowen  | February 16, 2011; 12:50 PM ET
Categories:  Virginia  
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Virginia shoul buy it and pave it over for a bypass around Charlottesville. Thanks to Kluge, Sissy Spacek and hallowed hills of Dead President Jefferson's fake view, we have a thirty minute bottleneck for five miles of mid state hell.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | February 16, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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