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Helmsley's Mystery Buyer Becomes Mystery Seller

The mystery buyer who purchased Leona Helmsley's 40-acre Greenwich estate for $35 million in October 2010 knew he had a fixer-upper on his hands.

After a six-month cosmetic overhaul, Dunnellen Hall has come back on the market for $42.9 million, a $7.9 million hike over the purchase price, but still a long way off the original asking price, which was $125 million.

"Nobody knows the real story," says Gloria Marwell , a real estate agent who works in Greenwich, Conn. and Bedford, N.Y. According to Marwell, the only person who has the scoop on Dunnellen Hall's buyer/seller is the listing broker, Jane Barsham of David Ogilvy Associates - and she's not talking.

The English manor-style house has 40 acres of parkland with high views over Long Island Sound. There are 14 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, and nine fireplaces in the 21,897 square-foot single family home, as well as a 35-foot-high atrium. There is an indoor pool as well as an outdoor pool, and the garage has space for six cars. Annual property taxes are just over $196,000.

Harry and Leona Helmsley bought the property in 1983 for $11 million. Leona, widely known as the Queen of Mean for her intractable character, died at Dunnellen Hall at the age of 87 in 2007. She left $12 million in a trust fund to her Maltese terrier, Trouble , but a judge subsequently reduced the amount to $2 million. Trouble died earlier this month at his home in Florida. He was unable to spend his entire inheritance which now reverts to the Helmsley charitable trust.

"The market for a property like this is a very small percentage of the world," Gloria Marwell says. Marwell thinks that potential buyers could be oil tycoons, Russians or people in the entertainment business. "Very few parts of the country have properties at this price point," she says. "Greenwich is one of them."

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