Big cities around the world boast impressive buildings and structures that attract millions of people each year who are eager to visit. In these crowds of starry-eyed admirers, scammers see opportunity. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, men like George Parker and Victor Lustig became famous for preying on unsuspecting victims to whom they would “sell” famous landmarks for large sums of money. Here, we take a look at some of those famous landmarks sale scams spanning from New York to Paris, and London.
1. The Flatiron Building
The sale of the Flatiron Building which took place on March 22nd was not a scam. The landmark was put up for auction in a legitimate sale ordered by the court after an irreconcilable dispute among the building’s owners. After a 40-minute bidding war, the triangular structure was sold, and things got sketchy after that.
The winning bidder was a relatively unknown investor, Jacob Garlick of the venture capital firm Abraham Trust. His $190 million bid ousted former owner Jeff Gural of GFP Real Estate. When it came time for Garlick to leave a $19 million deposit, however, he didn’t pay up. Now, since he missed the deadline to leave a deposit and wasn’t granted an extension, his winning bid has been disregarded. The building has been offered to the next highest bidder, Jeff Gural. If Gural doesn’t choose to purchase the building by the end of the week, it will go up for auction again!