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FOI request seeks last name

A Redstone historical preservationist is hoping a freedom of information request can do what a handshake and lunchtime chat couldnt Tuesday.Peter Martin has filed a request with the Internal Revenue Service in an attempt to learn the name of the man who on Saturday made the highest bid $4 million to buy the Redstone Castle.Coincidentally, Martin ran into the man over lunch at the Redstone Inn Tuesday.We had a pleasant chat. His first name is Rolly. Thats all I know, said Martin, attorney for the local historical society.Given Martins encounter, the FOI request mystified IRS spokesman John Harrison. In it, Harrison said, Martin explained the societys interest in learning the high bidders plans for the castle and telling him their hopes for the propertys future.To me whats the point if you already met the guy? Harrison said. All the questions you can get from me you could ask him yourself. If Peter met the guy he should have had ample opportunity to make that pitch.But Martin said he didnt get to spend much time with the mystery bidder, and he found it awkward to ask many questions during the chance encounter.He said he recognized the man after having met him during a bidders conference before Saturdays auction, and also from a photo in a newspaper following the event.In shaking hands and visiting him for five minutes I was favorably impressed, Martin said.The IRS so far has revealed only that the man is from Pasadena, Calif. His name will be public if he completes the purchase of the castle. Martin said the mans associates indicated he also has Aspen connections. He also said the man assured him he is committed to Redstone and residents there would be happy with his plans for the castle.His associates seemed very positive about the impacts on the village and the castle, Martin said. My response to him was positive and hopeful.Redstone residents consider the castle crucial to the communitys tourism economy, and hope public tours will continue there. They also want to know whether the high bidder has plans to develop any of the property.Coal baron John C. Osgood built the 42-room castle at the start of the 20th century. A historical easement protects the castle from being torn down or blocked from view from Highway 133.Martin said he told the prospective buyer that the historical society has a lot of information it can provide regarding historical preservation guidelines associated with the castle, and its structural condition. The man indicated he would be contacting the society, Martin said.We wanted to exchange information to find out who he is and have him find out about us, Martin said.But for now, Rollys last name remains a mystery to Martin. And Harrison said that by the time the federal government responds to the FOI request probably 60 days the mystery probably will be solved. The bidder has 45 days from the auction date to complete the purchase of the castle. He faces a Friday deadline to put $200,000 more down on the property, after putting up $200,000 just for the right to bid on it, Harrison said. If the purchase falls through, the mans name wont ever be made public, Harrison said.The bidder declined to be interviewed by the media Saturday after the 11-minute spectacle to auction off the castle. The IRS took possession of the castle in 2003 as part of an investigation into a $56 million investment scam that authorities say left more than 1,000 victims. Proceeds from the castle sale will go toward a restitution fund for victims.Contact Dennis Webb, 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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