Missing Mogul's Riches Up for Grabs
PALM DESERT - Auction-goers got to bid on a real estate mogul's belongings today in Palm Desert. Michael Mastro fled the country after owing investors millions of dollars, and his riches auctioned off made $405,990 toward repaying his debt.
"His name is probably a draw for this auction and on top of that he had some pretty nice items," said Auctioneer James G. Murphy.
Among the hundreds of items that the 87-year-old and his wife Linda left behind, gold-rimmed china, designer shoes and more than 50 handbags.
The FBI is looking for the couple. They fled the country with $2 million worth of diamond rings after bankruptcy court ordered them to give up the jewelry.
"It's amazing what these people accumulated. Of course, it's easy to accumulate when you have someone else's money," said Murphy.
A 2007 Bentley, one of only eight of its kind, sold for $92,000. But all the money made at the auction will hardly make a dent towards repaying the $300 million Mastro owes creditors.
The Seattle developer has a place in Palm Desert where his items are on the auction block and many people at the auction knew him.
"They are very nice people. It's a circumstance where they were caught in the recession. The bank said we are calling in their loans and they tried to sell properties and no one was buying," said Janet Lanterman, who knew the Mastros.
With Mastro and his wife now vanished, hundreds of people now left to pick up what they left behind.
Jessica Flores, KMIR6 News.