Simpson house sells for $2.63 million

  Jonathan T. Lovitt ; Richard Price


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1997)


  NORWALK, Calif. -- O.J. Simpson's dream mansion sold at public auction

  Monday for $2,631,259, almost a fourth less than its appraised value, after a

  three-minute battle between two bidders.


  The winner: Hawthorne Savings Bank, which took the house with a bid $100,000

  above the bank's expenses for a loan it issued Simpson against the value of the



  The loan paid the costs of his criminal and civil trials after the 1994 murders of

  ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.


  Hawthorne had held the primary lien. The extra $100,000 goes to the next

  lien-holder, Robert Baker, O.J. Simpson's civil trial lawyer.


  Experts had predicted bids would be well below the $3.5 million appraised value.

  ``Typically, these properties go for far less than their market value,'' says Randall

  Bell, a real estate analyst.


  The other bidder was Steve Whitlock of Promax Investments in San Marino,

  Calif. He outbid the bank's representative, Pat Dobiesz, by a dollar four times

  before quitting.


  Next step for the mansion: The bank will put it on the market. Simpson already

  has said he expects to move out with his two youngest children, Sydney and

  Justin, by the close of the summer. He has been house-hunting in the area.


  The Brown and Goldman families, who won a $33.5 million award against

  Simpson in civil court earlier this year, get nothing from this sale. But they hope

  to bring in something from an auction of Simpson's personal possessions later

  this summer.


  The 1.5-acre estate, which Simpson bought for $650,000 in 1977, features a

  tennis court, playground, waterfall, guest house and swimming pool. The

  6,200-square-foot home has five bedrooms and six baths. Simpson added a

  screening room.


  Nicole Simpson's condominium, where the stabbings took place, was sold late

  last year. It was on the market for 21/2 years, five times the average for that

  neighborhood, and went for ``well below'' the $595,000 asking price, according

  to Bell.


  Mezzaluna restaurant, where Goldman worked as a waiter and Nicole Simpson

  dined with her family hours before her death, closed earlier this year. Its

  equipment was auctioned off July 1.


  In Simpson's community of Brentwood, besieged over the last three years by the

  media and the curious, there was relief.


  ``I'm happy to see him go,'' says Paige Newbold, a 26-year-old pharmacy

  technician. Adds Stephanie Evans, 23, a student, ``He's an embarrassment. He

  should have just left quietly and gone somewhere.''

  PHOTO,b/w,Tiziana Sorge,AFP