West Oaks Mall Bankruptcy Sale: JCPenneys on the Dollar

An update on the 1031-exchange debacle surrounding the West Oaks Mall: In March, the mysterious Edward Okun — the mall’s owner — was indicted by a Virginia grand jury on charges of mail fraud, for misappropriating $132 million invested in his 1031 exchange company, 1031 Tax Group — along with bulk cash smuggling and related charges. Days later, Okun was arrested in his home on Hibiscus Island in Miami Beach.

To the 340 investors who had trusted $150 million of their 1031-exchange funds to supposedly-qualified intermediaries controlled by Okun, this was good news. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get their money back — or find a way around the huge tax liability now associated with their failed exchanges.

The 1031-exchange investors in Okun’s 1031 Tax Group had hoped to recoup some of their missing funds by raiding Okun’s other assets — including the West Oaks Mall. But the Okun-controlled companies that owned the mall declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.

Today, the Costar Group reports that the freestanding building formerly known as JCPenney at the West Oaks Mall has been put up for sale, along with a mall in Salina, Kansas. The trustee in the bankruptcy case has hired Keen Realty, the new real estate division of KPMG Corporate Finance, to market both properties.

One Comment

  • With any luck at all, Mr. Okun will find himself living in a much bigger house with a roomate named “Bubba”