Nuwaubian manor goes up for auction
Morris News Service in Augusta Chronicle/August 18, 2005
By Joe Johnson
Athens, Ga. -- The mansion's rank odor is as foul as the
unspeakable deeds done there when occupied by a religious sect
leader now serving a 137-year prison sentence on federal child
molestation and racketeering charges.
Yet at least a half-dozen people showed up to inspect the
palatial nine-bedroom house at 155 Mansfield Court in west Athens
once owned by Dwight "Malachi" York. The U.S. Marshals Service is
auctioning the house, one of two properties seized after Mr.
York's conviction in January 2004.
No one has lived in the mansion for three years, since Mr.
York's arrest in May 2002.
Two prospective buyers who inspected the property Friday - Brad
Stephens, a Duluth home builder, and David Felt, an Athens
attorney - were considering a bid as partners to repair the
mansion and resell it for a profit.
The size of the 8,309-square-foot house might scare away buyers
more than the stigma of its previous owner, Mr. Stephens said.
"I build $500,000 spec houses, but this place makes me a little
nervous - it's just so big," he said. "How would you use up all
Mr. Felt agreed that finding a buyer might be difficult.
"You'd need to find someone famous, like an Atlanta
professional athlete who wants to be on MTV Cribs," the
real-estate attorney said.
The property includes 6 bathrooms and a three-car garage in the
main house, along with a guest house and a swimming pool with pool
As mansions come, it is a definite fixer-upper, with peeling
wallpaper, unhinged interior doors, unkempt landscaping and the
pervasive odor of mildew.
The minimum bid in the online auction, which closed Wednesday
at 3 p.m., was $420,000. As of late Tuesday afternoon, auctioneers
had only two bids, the latest a $445,000 offer for the house Mr.
York bought in 1998 for $528,000. According to the Marshals
Service, the house is assessed at $840,000.
Mr. York, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., started the sect the
United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors in New York City in the late
1960s. The group moved to Georgia in 1993, with about 500 of Mr.
York's followers settling on a 476-acre compound in Eatonton.
In addition to the Mansfield Court property, Mr. York bought
the former Ideal Amusements building on West Broad Street in
Athens for $385,000.
The government also seized the Eatonton compound, valued at
about $1 million, and sold it in June to an undisclosed buyer.
According to authorities, Mr. York regularly had sex with more
than a dozen children at both sites.
Mr. York, now 60, was convicted in January 2004 in U.S.
District Court in Macon on charges of conspiracy, racketeering,
transporting minors for unlawful sex and tax evasion, among other
crimes. He is in a special housing unit of the federal prison in