Sun, Dec 28, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Town made famous by failed eBay sale up for auction again


A year after the rural town of Bridgeville, California was ostensibly snapped up in a frenzied online auction for nearly US$2 million, the town is up for bid again -- this time at half the price and not on eBay.

The supposed buyer, who was only ever identified as a nameless West Coast developer, disappeared soon after making the winning US$1.78 million bid last December on auction site eBay. No check ever arrived. That prompted real estate broker Denise Stuart to offer the property to another bidder. And another. And another.

After a dozen potential deals fell through, Stuart posted the property last week on the more standard listings that brokers routinely share.

The town's owner, Elizabeth Lapple, is now asking US$850,000 for the 33 hectare property, set among redwoods about 435km northwest of San Francisco.

Last year's online auction generated national attention and nearly 250 would-be buyers, even though bidding opened at US$775,000.

"It was such a fiasco last time," said Stuart, who owns California Real Estate in Eureka. "You have no idea who [buyers] are, if they're for real or they're bogus."

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