Inside Trump’s historic $95M mansion deal, 10 years later

The sale is raising red flags in D.C., but agents characterize the blockbuster deal as par for the course in the years leading up to the financial collapse

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Jim Weix, a South Florida Realtor, recalled a period at the peak of the housing bubble more than a decade ago when even the man mowing his lawn was scouting six-figure real estate deals. “The guy that cuts my grass, he came by one day and he said, ‘Hey Jim, I’ve got this really hot deal,'” recalled Weix, broker-owner of The Real Estate Company in Stuart, Florida. “‘We can buy a hundred lots in Port St. Lucie for $15 grand a piece,' he said, and then he added, 'So what I’m looking for is two partners to chip in $50 grand apiece and I think we can make a killing.’” Weix turned him down, as did others who were approached. But one year later, those same lots, situated in the middle of nowhere and overrun by roaming gopher tortoises, would skyrocket 233 percent to command a whopping $50,000 each. A year after that, they climbed to $100,000. It was in such a climate of frenzied buying, loose lending practices and questionable appraisals that in May of 2008, mer...