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Al Capone's Miami Beach gangster mansion on the market



(Reuters) - One of Miami Beach's most notorious pieces of real estate is back on the block: the asking price is almost $8.5 million.

The sprawling, waterfront compound is where notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone died after being released from Alcatraz and is said to have plotted the St. Valentine's day massacre in 1929.

The 10,000-square-foot baby blue mansion sits on exclusive Palm Island, sandwiched in Biscayne Bay between downtown Miami's skyscrapers and South Beach's hotel district.

The current owner, a Florida company managed by New York accountant Anthony Panebianco, purchased the home barely six months ago for $7.4 million, according to Miami-Dade property records.

The mansion was built in 1922 by Clarence Busch, a member of the Anheuser-Busch brewing family. Capone, who made a vast fortune importing and selling liquor during prohibition, bought it in 1928 for $40,000 after being chased out of Chicago and later Los Angeles, according Ron Chepesiuk, a journalist and author of the book Gangsters of Miami.

"A lot of the booze he was marketing was coming through Miami and south Florida," said Paul George, a leading Florida historian.

High-profile organized crime figures were a mainstay of Miami's early days, in part because of its proximity to Havana, a popular gambling and watering hole for Americans during the prohibition era.

A generation after Capone, Meyer Lansky - known as the "Mob Accountant" - owned a condominium on Miami Beach and in the 1950s operated casinos in Cuba before the communist revolution.

Capone's arrival in Florida caused an uproar. Newspapers followed his every move. Then-Governor Doyle Carlton ordered sheriffs throughout the state to arrest him on sight.

Capone attempted to charm the locals, promising not to break the law and giving sizeable donations to politicians. He also turned the property into a fortress, with heavy wooden doors, concrete walls and a gatehouse.

Bodyguards were a constant presence both at the home and as Capone traveled through Miami, spending $1,000 at a time on clothing in newly burgeoning downtown Miami or gambling at Miami Beach casinos and dog tracks.

The bodyguards' numbers doubled, according to Chepesiuk, after the Valentine's Day Massacre, when Capone's Chicago associates lured members of a rival gang into an ambush disguised as a liquor deal. Seven men were lined up against a wall inside a garage and executed by men dressed in police uniforms and in suits.

"While the most spectacular gangland slaying in mob history was going down in Chicago, (Capone) was 1,300 miles away at a party at his Palm Island estate, providing him with a perfect alibi," Chepesiuk wrote.

After Capone died in 1947, the home remained in his family until sometime in the 1970s, when it was bought by Henry Morrison, a pilot for Delta Airlines, according to George.

"It was in a pretty ramshackle condition. He had girlfriends coming over, and it was a real bachelor pad," he said.

After falling into disrepair in the 1970s and 1980s, the house was restored and put back on the market for nearly $10 million in 2011.

Despite being the site of Capone's death after he returned from Alcatraz as a mental patient, driven to insanity by syphilis, the house climbs in price each time it changes hands, said Albert Justo, of One Sotheby's International Realty, who is representing the owner.

"People love the fact that it's part of Miami history," he said.

(This version of the story is refiled to fix spelling of mansion in headline, third paragraph)

(Editing by David Adams and Dan Grebler)

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David S. February 09 2014 at 3:36 PM

Looks awesome......

Flag Reply +5 rate up
kkmiausa February 09 2014 at 6:03 PM

No one will be able to turn that into another Graceland! This is a very private residential island and I am sure the residents are protected from anything commercial and anything that would bring in tourists would not be tolerated, they have enough problems with the sightseeing boats that circle those islands daily.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
flguy4ever February 09 2014 at 10:31 PM

It's a pease of history

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Eileen February 09 2014 at 6:27 PM

Why wasn't it sold for alll the taxes he owed??? I thought thats how they caught him , for back taxes??

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
wigeflyer Eileen February 09 2014 at 6:33 PM

That what this Bull---- Government does best, call in the DOGS

Flag Reply +1 rate up
John Eileen February 09 2014 at 6:39 PM

My question exactly ! Why should anyone benefit from his criminals acts . If someone steals millions from a bank, goes to prison, dies, does the family get to keep the money if it was hidden ??

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
dbrine1261 John February 09 2014 at 6:47 PM

Capones back taxes were paid. It is the only thing he ws convicted of so there is no reason the rest of his money or holdings would have been sold.

Flag +3 rate up
villigord February 09 2014 at 10:17 PM

Yeah, those five pictures are all I need to purchase a $10M piece of property. They couldnt show more of the interior than a stairwell and a bathroom basin?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
talari villigord February 09 2014 at 10:27 PM

I'm sure you'll be allowed a scheduled showing before closing date, Get a real estate agent, show them your money and they'll let you in, I promise.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sunon February 09 2014 at 9:42 PM

doesn't the left hand tell the right anything? his daughter is a long leap to his grandniece.
another misleading headline. when i read it, i thought, his daughter? she must be 110.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
zug364 February 09 2014 at 9:20 PM

"The home is for sale for $10 million."
"One of Miami Beach's most notorious pieces of real estate is back on the block: the asking price is almost $8.5 million."
So, AOL, which is it?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
mstienlee February 09 2014 at 8:39 PM

"Despite being the site of Capone's death after he returned from Alcatraz as a mental patient, driven to insanity by syphilis..." Gross! I can see that is place is not for the family man.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
williamlevi123 February 09 2014 at 8:21 PM

Overpriced. Todays' modern day gangsters can afford it though. Todays gangsters wear suits and ties.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
2 replies
danny_bean williamlevi123 February 09 2014 at 8:56 PM

And they are called Madoffstein.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
spdy65 williamlevi123 February 09 2014 at 9:10 PM

What? Capone was an absolute dapper dresser! The guy was always dressed to the hilt.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
williamlevi123 February 09 2014 at 8:18 PM

I wonder if the media would call Al Capone a terrorist if were alive and active today? The feds didn't eliminate the gangsters in Chicago.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
jimmyv2222 williamlevi123 February 09 2014 at 9:09 PM

No now they just call them politicians

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Ellde jimmyv2222 June 01 2014 at 10:16 PM

Absolutely and Lobbiest!

Flag 0 rate up
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