The Dark Past of Montana's Biggest Mansion
Imagery provided by Nathan Satran
The Dark Past of Montana's Biggest Mansion
There are some people in the world who believe that one can’t possibly become super rich without stomping on the necks of others.
While we don’t necessarily think that’s entirely true and believe that the American dream to aspire to wealth still exists, it’s undeniable that many have risen to riches though what we’ll just call some “Dark and dirty deeds.”
Over on our Facebook page, we recently posted a property that went rather viral with over 100,000 shares. Most of this viral momentum was due to how awesome the home was without most realizing the incredible story behind it.
We will get into the specifics of the home itself in a second. However, upon reading through the comments of the viral post, we also learned that there is a much bigger story than the gorgeous home itself.
It’s a tale of a man who has painted a colorful past and has now been brought to light in order to face his wrongdoing. What makes things even more interesting is that the home featured in this story is also available for sale as of the posting of this story.
The True Story of the Dark History of the Biggest Property in Billings, MT
The following information was procured from several different local publications.
The story starts with a man by the name of Larry Wayne Price Jr. The latest article on Price calls him a “Former Mine Vice President” but it seems like he’s involved in a variety of shady business dealings.
By most accounts, Price wouldn’t necessarily be considered an ethical man.
Over the years, he has put together quite the amount of wealth for himself through what most would consider underhanded activities. The portion of this wealth that had become public knowledge several years ago came when Price was said to have defrauded investors and his own company for $17.7m.
According to the Billings Gazette, a more impressive figure would eventually come out recently when Price would admit that all of his thefts combined would amount to a haul closer to $40 million. These schemes also included over billing and a fake equipment sales scam with his former boss at the Signal Peak coal mine.
$40 million. Think about that. The man literally stole enough money to put him in the one percent of earners every year for the next century, resulting in some people losing their life’s savings so he could build a castle
With that money, Price would start to build what the prosecutor in his case would eventually call “An obscene monument to wealth.” The home would be a slap in the face of everyone that he had stolen from and with the build, Price wasn’t exactly trying to conceal the fact that he had come into money.
The creation looks like something that a drug lord would put together in a Hollywood film. We couldn't help but think back to the portrayal of Pablo Escobar's estate in the Narcos TV series. This home is nothing short of luxury meets an adult playground, all wrapped up in the facade of a castle.
This is what it looks like when someone has seemingly unlimited money to spend. By most accounts it looks more like a theme park than a home but we can't help but be drawn in and want to live there, anyway.
The home would spread its wings over a sprawling 30,000 sf. In other words, you could fit 12 average American homes inside of this monstrous estate. It also sits on a lot that spans nearly 100 acres.
Inside, the excess continues. From what we learn, Price has a rather small immediate family but that didn't stop him from building the mansion to the extent of 10 bedrooms, each with their own en suite bathroom.
Grand living areas also adorn the home at every turn. Within these areas, we find the finest fixtures and finishes available, state of the art technology, and a unique ambiance.
For those who are into numbers, here are a few:
The home boasts a total of 15 full and 4 half bathrooms. We have no intentions of getting gross but if you use the bathroom twice each day, one could theoretically never see the same bathroom twice in a week. There would also be 5 bathrooms left over that you didn't get to yet.
It also features the likes of a 14 car garage, perfect for a large collection of high end cars. We're already drawing up the list in our heads to fill those garage bays.
Lastly, we find a 5 story circular elevator surrounded by a gorgeous custom spiral staircase acts as an epic conversation piece with function. While this place is definitely over the top, some of the details really stand to inspire.
Quality is apparent thought out as well
Just look at this kitchen! Those exposed beams, the exquisite countertops, the fixtures - top of the line everything. Not good enough? Use the second kitchen!
...or one of the multiple other kitchens on the premesis.
More fan favorite features, you say?
Surrounded by elegant woodwork, check out this massive built in fish tank
Inside we also find an indoor shooting range
Additionally, occupants work out in yoga room, well-outfitted gym, and a golf simulator that puts the cherry on the sundae.
Add in three swimming pools and this place has the R&R features packed in as well.
Fans of unique basements will find a bar and an epic entertaining area as well. As fans of theaters, we couldn't leave The list goes on and on and on.
Cap it off with a turret and a moat with a private draw bridge and the home almost seems like a medieval Disney Land for grown ups.
Here Comes the Fallout
So Price was able to have this wonderful home built but when things snowballed out of control, he would never be able to live in it.
The Billings Gazette would report that the home would initially be signed over to investors in what Price’s defense attorney would consider an act of “extortion,” citing that the investors’ attorney had already set up a meeting with the FBI to turn over the incriminating details on Price.
The meeting would later be cancelled after the deed to the home was signed over.
Court filings say that the cancellation of the meeting would come with the statement that the investment group no longer considered themselves victims and would testify in Price’s favor.
Oh yeah, one of these investors was a bank officer who previously did business with Price and would admit to not disclosing the two men’s private business dealings when approving bank loans for Price.
It gets even deeper. Back track with us for a second...
Not long before Price signed over the mansion over to the investment group, he was said to have an inkling that he was being looked into and was to be confronted by investors that would travel to give Price a visit at the Virginia home he was currently living in as the mansion was being built. The investors likely concluded they weren’t going to be paying back the $7.5 million they were owed.
When he heard of this, Price made an unusual attempt at disappearing.
In order to do this, he would construct a story that he was kidnapped but that story would later be debunked by investigators through security camera footage that contradicted the picture Price painted. This picture had an outlaw motorcycle gang taking price in a van and throwing him from the moving vehicle. While Price somehow saw the story ending with him disappearing with an unnamed woman, said to be his mistress, the discovery of the lie resulted in nothing but additional charges.
Fast forward and Price’s lies would begin to surface. At this point, he owes millions to numerous parties. This is accompanies reports saying that his assets have been frozen at 15 banks.
Price had finally been caught.
The most recent developments came in October of this year when the Billings Gazette learned that Price would be sentenced to five years in prison with three years of supervised release for charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and false official statement. Price’s restitution is to be determined later.
However, that's not where it ends. Price wouldn’t be alone in facing charges as plenty of others have been tied up in the story as well.
One of the most relevant are the contractors who built the home who would also be sentenced for what the Billings Gazette called an “Under the table scheme with Price,” dodging federal taxes along the way.
It’s hard to say where exactly the first domino fell that would expose this insane web of lies and underhanded activity. Regardless, these days, one of the byproducts of the scheme is sitting on the open real estate market
Records say that the property is now owned by an unnamed Wyoming company due to a 2018 court ruling. The structure had been vacant for years while the details of the case were settled and would hit the open market in June of 2019 for $16,500,000 but has since been dropped in price several times before being delisted after a final price drop in February of this year. The home has since been resisted at a price of $13,950,000 in June of 2020 and is still active and available for sale as of November 2020.
We wouldn’t necessarily say that the extended stay on the market makes it a bad home or that its former owner is really all that much of a deterrent. However, a custom home like this with such an extravagant asking price is sure to take a while to find the right buyer. We would probably also guess that multi-million-dollar mansion sales have slowed as it’s not a priority in an age of COVID-19 where investors have become more cautious.
We would have to think that eventually, the right person will come along and pick up this Montanan paradise. Even though it has an insane backstory, it still is a home that dreams are made of.