2010 NEWSMAKER: Lucas lands Hilbert mansion

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Lucas Oil Products Inc. owners Forrest and Charlotte Lucas in October purchased the 25,000-square-foot Carmel mansion built by Conseco Inc. co-founder Stephen Hilbert.

The couple bought the massive estate from Conseco, now called CNO Financial Group, for $3 million, a steep discount to the original $20 million asking price.

forrest lucas Lucas

Forrest Lucas, a native of Corydon, is a former truck driver whose company signed a $122 million, 20-year naming-rights contract for the home stadium of the Indianapolis Colts in 2006.

Lucas said the mansion is a true work of art that should be preserved and shared. He envisions using the property for business activities as well as for community events and fundraisers.

A sealed-bid auction for the 33.6-acre estate held in August attracted a half-dozen potential buyers who submitted a wide range of prices, said Prudential Indiana agent Greg Cooper of The Richwine Real Estate Group.

Bids called for $100,000 in so-called “earnest money” to be submitted. And the high bidder whose offer was accepted must have delivered no less than 10 percent of the total bid within one business day.

Carmel-based CNO had been trying to unload the mansion—which it gained control of during a court battle over loans Hilbert took out to buy Conseco stock—for five years. Once valued at $35 million, it went on the market with a $20 million asking price, and more recently was listed at $9.9 million.

CNO had been paying to maintain the property at 1143 W. 16th St. The company announced its plans in July to conduct the sealed-bid auction.

Built in 1993, the estate includes a 15,000-square-foot “sports palace,” catering facilities, a guest house and its own power plant.

Lucas has made several creative business deals since launching his California-based specialty oil products company in 1988.•

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