We’ve covered Diamond Comics Distribution owner Steve Geppi’s debt problems several times here. In what has to be seen as a particularly demoralizing blow, Geppi’s historic 19th century 13,000 sq. ft., nine acre estate is going up for foreclosure auction today. Geppi and his wife bought it in 2004 for $4.8 million; tried to sell it in 2008 for $7.7 million (bad timing with the housing market slumping) and the mansion is currently listed for sale for $3.6 million.
“It is a rare jewel, that house,” said Karen Hubble Bisbee, an associate broker with the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Green Spring Valley office who specializes in historic and upscale homes. She called the home “as tony an address as exists in the county.
“It is without a doubt one of the most important houses in the entire metro area,” she said.
Court records show Geppi with an outstanding mortgage debt of $3.25 million. This is in addition to recent settlements on back rent on the Geppi Entertainment museum, another settlement on rent on a movie theater, debts from several bad real estate deals, and an ongoing lawsuit by the estate of Bob Montana, charging non-payment. If you were to say it all adds up to look like Steve Geppi is broke, we couldn’t say we blamed you.
The Baltimore Sun takes the opportunity of the foreclosure to look at some potential hazards for the one Geppi business that seems to be holding its own, Diamond. Finance columnist Jay Hancock suggests that the comic-book trade is challenged by Internet, recession, while quoting a piece written by yours truly. And the Read Street blog looks at whether the iPad is a threat to Diamond:
The biggest threat on his comics distribution business: the iPad. Previous e-readers such as the Kindle and nook are not built for full-color graphic displays. But the iPad’s clear, sharp display offers comic book fans a new way to feed their habit.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.