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Bid deadline looms for former Hilbert mansion

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Salutations, Hilbert mansion aspirants.  Please excuse the indelicacy, but note that Friday is the last day to submit your bid or get off the bidet.

As of mid-morning, “several” bids had been submitted in the auction for the 25,000-square-foot-mansion once owned by Conseco Inc. co-founder Stephen Hilbert, said Prudential Indiana agent Greg Cooper. He declined to elaborate, saying only some bids were markedly better than others.

Cooper is co-listing agent with Dick Richwine, who heads the local real estate firm.  Technically speaking, they’ll accept bids until 11:59 p.m.—just in case would-be buyers have been on the fence and experience a change of heart after a round of Friday evening cocktails.

But have $100,000 handy. That’s the so-called "earnest money" that must be submitted with each bid.

And be prepared to deliver no less than 10 percent of the total bid within one business day, assuming, of course, that you’re the high bidder and your offer is accepted.

The Carmel-based company, since renamed CNO Financial Group Inc., has been trying to sell the mansion—which it gained control of it during a court battle over loans Hilbert took out to buy Conseco stock—for five years. It went on the market with a $20 million asking price, and more recently was listed at the bargain price of $9.9 million.

The mansion at 1143 W. 116th St. is being sold “as is,” although CNO has been paying to maintain the property. The company last month announced its plans to conduct a sealed-bid auction.

Cooper previously said the mansion has drawn interest from potential buyers such as race car teams, which often wine and dine their sponsors.

The estate includes a 15,000-square-foot “sports palace,” catering facilities, a guest house and its own power plant.

The suspense over who—if anyone—lands the region’s hottest residential property will linger after the deadline expires.

“It’s unlikely anything will be finalized until next week,” Cooper said.

But there's a caviar, er, caveat: The bid terms, at www.indianamansion.com, note that the seller “reserves the right to accept a bid prior to or after the bid submission deadline.”

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