- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2002

HOUSTON (AP) Former Enron Corp. chief executive Kenneth L. Lay appears to have a lot of assets in his arsenal to stave off personal bankruptcy.
Two Houston homes and four adjoining apartments in the city have a combined value of $1.1 million. Three beachfront homes and two lots on the west end of Galveston are valued at a combined $1.7 million. Four properties in glitzy Aspen, Colo., could fetch more than $19 million.
Mr. Lay's wife, Linda, said last week on NBC's "Today" show that she and her husband lost their fortune when Enron crashed, because most of it was tied up in shares now each worth less than an average cup of coffee.
She said all their homes are up for sale except the $7.1 million, 33rd floor of one of Houston's most exclusive high-rises.
But if the Houston and Galveston properties are on the market, many real-estate agents don't know about it.
In Houston, a red brick, two-story house, formerly owned by the Lays and valued at $259,300, was sold within the past two months. But the two other homes and four adjoining apartments don't have for-sale signs and aren't listed on the Internet through the Houston Realtors Association.
Neither are the Galveston properties.
Pamela Hughes, spokeswoman for the Galveston Association of Realtors, said they could still be for sale.
She said sellers sometimes ask that listings not be published and that for-sale signs not be placed in front of properties while sales are negotiated privately.
But high-end brokers in Houston said the lack of easily accessible listings indicates a low priority to unload property fast.
Three of the Lay's properties in Aspen are listed, and the sale of a fourth in the winter playground is being negotiated privately, said broker Joshua Saslove.
If the Lays still worry about bankruptcy after selling off assets, they don't have to be concerned about losing their penthouse: Texas law guarantees that debtors can keep a primary residence while in bankruptcy, whether it is or a one-room efficiency apartment or a multimillion-dollar mansion.


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