Durham’s Geist mansion goes back to the bank at auction

Lender JPMorgan Chase & Co. took possession of convicted Ponzi schemer Tim Durham’s Geist mansion Thursday after the property failed to draw an offer higher than the bank’s base bid of $2.24 million.

JPMorgan Chase, which holds a $4.5 million judgment on the home, made the bid prior to a sheriff’s sale that took place Thursday afternoon in Hamilton County. To acquire the property, a bidder would have been required to top the bank’s bid by at least $1 and pay in cash.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office received several inquiries about the property prior to the auction, but nobody decided to bid after finding out how much it would take to win possession.

Durham is serving a 50-year federal prison sentence after being found guilty in 2012 of masterminding a $200 million Ponzi scheme. He is appealing that conviction.

The sheriff’s sale was the culmination of a foreclosure lawsuit that JPMorgan Chase filed against the disgraced businessman in 2010, months after Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. and the rest of Durham’s business empire collapsed.

The 10,700-square-foot home has seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, a 30-car garage, and multilevel decks overlooking a “resort-style pool” and Geist Reservoir. The 5-acre property had been listed at $5.5 million but was tough sell in today’s economy.

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