Ken Mattson asks $10M for Piedmont mansion despite FBI scrutiny

Raid at another of the developer’s properties stems from partner’s allegations of fraud

Developer Asks $10M for Piedmont House Despite FBI Raid

A photo illustration of 62 Farragut Avenue in Oakland (Getty, Google Maps)

Embattled developer Ken Mattson is putting his Julia Morgan-designed mansion in Piedmont on the market for $9.9 million after an FBI raid and allegations he defrauded investors.

The Sonoma County developer was poised to sell the 94-year-old, Tudor-style estate at 62 Farragut Avenue, in Oakland, the Press Democrat and San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The 11,800-square-foot mansion is to be offered for sale in the upscale Oakland Hills neighborhood, according to an online listing posted by the Grubb Company. 

A day after the six-bedroom, nine-bathroom home went on the market, the FBI conducted a morning raid of another Mattson home northeast of the city of Sonoma.

Neither Mattson nor two brokers associated with the sale announcement responded to requests for comment. Randy Sue Pollock, an attorney representing Mattson, said the property has been “on the market” for two years. 

The 1-acre estate doesn’t appear to be officially listed on such websites as Zillow and Redfin.

FBI agents searched Mattson’s home in unincorporated Sonoma County on Friday, agency officials said, weeks after his business partner alleged the developer had defrauded investors.

Over the past decade, Mattson and the business partner, Tim LeFever, have bought properties in and around the city of Sonoma totaling more than $240 million, including the Sonoma Cheese Factory and the historic General’s Daughter event venue.

Mattson and his company’s real estate portfolio have long drawn scrutiny and suspicion from residents in Sonoma Valley, who say the developer had let some of the more than 100 properties fall into disrepair.

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Local residents, who grew worried about the impact the sales would have on their community, criticized the pair for failing to complete promised projects. They sparked the creation of a nonprofit watchdog, Wake Up Sonoma.

In recent weeks, LeFever sent several emails to investors alerting them to “a large number of unauthorized and what we believe are improper transactions” by Mattson in relation to a fund controlled by their company, LeFever Mattson, according to the Chronicle.

LeFever described a “secretive scheme by Mr. Mattson” to allegedly deposit in his own accounts retirement savings he had solicited from investors, rather than investing it in the limited partnership fund as he had purportedly told them he would. 

He said Mattson had resigned as CEO of their company, LeFever Mattson, and that the company had alerted federal authorities.

The developer has yet to publicly respond to any of LeFever’s allegations.

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Mattson bought the Piedmont home, known as Harrow Manor, in 1999 for $1.8 million, according to public records. The Morgan-designed mansion, built in 1930, includes manicured grounds, a swimming pool, spa and putting green.

The property drew scrutiny from both Mattson’s neighbors and city leaders, The Press Democrat revealed, last year as part of a larger investigation into Mattson’s real estate holdings. 

Ongoing renovations at the historic home, some apparently carried out without proper approvals, prompted a flurry of complaints over the years from neighbors in the wealthy East Bay enclave.

— Dana Bartholomew