The man who bought an entire German village for $174,000 (140,000 euros) now wants to back out of the deal, reported the Mirror.
Alwine, a tiny village located in Brandenburg State, 75 miles south of Berlin, made headlines last year when it was put up for auction.
The hamlet, containing a dozen decaying buildings, some sheds, and garages, was sold to an anonymous buyer who placed the winning bid by telephone in December 2017.
According to local media, the man now wants to back out of the purchase because he was “not legally competent .”
Matthias Knake, director of the auction house Karhausen, said earlier this year the buyer wrote to him seeking to withdraw from the purchase for “health reasons,” reported rbb.
Knake confirmed to local media there was a “legal dispute.” He considered the buyer’s grounds for withdrawal to be very thin.
They are currently assessing “to what extent he has the right to resign, or to refrain from the purchase,” Knake said.
The mayor of Uebigau-Wahrenbrück, the region which covers Alwine, Andreas Claus said he had “known for some time that this could happen.”
Claus met the man in December 2017 when he came to inspect the village.
“He already told me about a health problem at our meeting,” said Claus.
“I think after seeing it and having a lot of things come together in his private environment, he made that decision,” he added.
The mayor is now concerned about the condition of the ailing houses, which were further damaged by a recent storm. He feared that some of the houses might start to leak if repairs were not immediately made.
While the dispute is ongoing, it is reported that the previous owner will remain responsible for the dilapidating town. Two brothers had originally bought the town in 2001 for the symbolic amount of 1 German mark.
The auction house is hoping to quickly resolve this issue, in the interest of the 15 residents. Krase said they had received further inquiries from interested parties after the auction in December.
“We will now contact these people and discuss possible solutions,” he said.