Government may drop claim against troubled Versace mansion

The U.S. government filed papers Monday admitting its claim against the Versace mansion in Miami Beach is worthless, the South Florida Business Journal reported. Federal prosecutors have been pursuing a claim against the mansion because they say Ponzi-schemer Scott Rothstein invested in its former owner Casa Casuarina.

His restaurant operation, Bova, briefly ran Casa Casuarina in an effort to revive the finances at the troubled former Versace mansion. Owner Peter Loftin dismissed the Rothstein team after investigators accused the Broward lawyer of the scandal.

“The United States … found that the market value of the Versace Mansion Assets is substantially below the amount due to secured lenders, holders of junior liens and creditor interests, including, but not limited to, taxing authorities, vendors and other parties, thereby rendering the government’s interest worthless,” a motion filed by prosecutors said.

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The mansion is currently owned by former telecom tycoon Peter Loftin and operated as Villa By Barton G, a a boutique hotel.

Italian designer Gianni Versace was fatally shot on the steps of the mansion in 1997. [SFBJ]