Lou Pai, who was a top executive at Enron prior to the company’s collapse in the early 2000s, scooped up a Wellington equestrian estate for $8.2 million.
Pai and his wife, Melanie, bought the property at 5605, 5625, 5679 and 5727 140th Avenue South in Wellington from Shear Holdings Wellington, according to a deed. The buyers took out a $4 million loan from BayFirst National Bank.
The seller is managed by Jacqueline Shear, managing director of Marsh Pond Farm, according to her LinkedIn. Shear Holdings Wellington paid $4.1 million for the estate in 2006, according to deeds.
Matt Johnson of Engel & Völkers represented the seller, and Luis Rodriguez of Keller Williams Realty represented the buyer.
The estate, built in 2000, includes three stables with 37 horse stalls, two outdoor jumping arenas, a covered riding arena with mirrors, 22 grass paddocks and air-conditioned feeding rooms, according to a report provided by Engel & Völkers. In addition, a 5-acre area has pasture land with four 12-foot by 24-foot run-in sheds and a four-stall center-aisle pole barn, which is in addition to the 37 stalls. The property includes apartments and a two-car garage.
Pai was chairman and CEO of Enron Energy Services, the retail energy division of the fallen company. Prior to quitting the Houston-based firm in mid-2001, Pai sold almost $300 million in Enron stock, according to a 2008 ABC News article. The company was embroiled in a massive accounting scandal and filed for bankruptcy in December 2001.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges in 2008 against Pai, alleging he sold Enron shares prior to the company’s collapse without disclosing the firm’s losses, according to the SEC. Pai, who allegedly learned from successor management at Enron Energy Services that the company had identified losses, either knew or should have known he couldn’t sell the stock without disclosing this information, the SEC said.
Pai settled the charges the same day they were filed with a $31.5 million payment, without admitting or denying wrongdoing. He was never charged criminally in the Enron scandal.
Pai previously sold a large chunk of land he owned in Colorado, NPR has reported.
Wellington, a city in western Palm Beach County known for its equestrian estates, has caught the eye of deep-pocketed buyers. Michael Bloomberg; Billy Joel and his equestrian wife, Alexis; Bruce Springsteen; Netscape founder Jim Clark; Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs; and Bainbridge Capital’s Richard Schechter all have had ties to the winter equestrian capital of the world.
In March, a trust linked to billionaire Bill Gates sold a 5.5-acre Wellington equestrian estate at 13945 Quarter Horse Trail for $26 million.
In October, Louis Jacobs, a member of the billionaire Jacobs family that owns the NHL’s Boston Bruins as well as the team’s arena TD Garden, bought the equestrian estate at 4827 South 125th Avenue for $11 million.