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Godfather horse-head mansion enters bankruptcy protection programme

Los Angeles

A STORIED US$125 million mansion in Beverly Hills that was featured in The Godfather movie is in bankruptcy protection.

American real-estate investor and attorney Leonard Ross has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the business that holds the title to the estate, listing US$75 million in liabilities.

A hearing was scheduled to take place on Tuesday (Wednesday, Singapore time) in Los Angeles Superior Court where creditors are seeking the appointment of a receiver for the property in a separate lawsuit.

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Known as the Beverly House, the mansion was built in 1927 for Milton Getz, executive director of the Union Bank & Trust. In 1946, it was bought by legendary businessman and publisher William Randolph Hearst who lived there with actress Marion Davies until his death in 1951.

The house sits on 3.7 acres and includes a 50-foot entry hall, a living room with 22-foot detailed ceilings, a library with hand-carved woodwork, a billiards room, two projection rooms.

There is a total of 19 bedrooms and 29 bathrooms, a commercial kitchen, outdoor terrace seating for 400, an art-deco nightclub, and a seven-bedroom guest house with its own tennis court.

More famously, it is where the late US president John F Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline spent their honeymoon.

And in the 1972 Francis Ford Coppola movie, it's where consigliere Tom Hagen visits a Hollywood studio mogul to persuade him to give a movie role to Don Corleone's godson, Johnny Fontane.

When reason doesn't prevail, the studio boss wakes up in the morning with the severed head of his favourite stallion in his bed.

Mr Ross has been embroiled in a dispute with private lenders who hold a mortgage on the property. He sued them in September, claiming he was manipulated into a loan agreement four years ago.

According to his complaint, the lenders took advantage of Mr Ross, 74, when he was going through a personal tragedy after the loss of his daughter.

The lenders filed a cross-complaint and asked for the appointment of a receiver because, they said, the mansion is filled with period furnishings and artwork that is part of the collateral for the loan and is easily removed. The lawsuit will likely be put on hold as a result of the bankruptcy filing. BLOOMBERG