Shipley mansion: Boatload of offers, owner jumping ship

Realtors tour the kitchen with a hidden refrigerator, far right, two sinks and an oversize island with bar area during an open house of the Shipley Mansion in San Martin. The home is 24,000 square feet located on a 20 acre vineyard estate and went up for

The 24,000-square-foot Shipley Mansion, which is nestled in the San Martin foothills and came on the market mid-May, attracted 15 offers from people all around the world, and is poised to set the record for the highest home price ever in South County. 

All but one offer came in above or well above asking price, according to listing agent Duane Adam of Sotheby International Realty, who said an offer will probably be accepted in the next several days. 

“I can’t tell you prices, but let’s just say the top tier offers would set a new record for South County of all time,” Adam said. 

The current record holder for the highest-priced sale in the area is Kirigin Cellars on Watsonville Road. The winery sold for $4 million in 2000, according to county real estate records. 

The Shipley Mansion, which is owned by Dale Shipley, who founded the Silicon Valley-baed Veritas Software Corporation in 1983, is listed for sale for $2 million, a fraction of what it’s worth. 

“There’s nothing like this north of Hearst Castle,” Morgan Hill realtor Rob Malech, of Windermere Real Estate, said previously. “The over-the-top wealth and the over-the-top display of wealth, I mean, Hollywood should have filmed ‘The Great Gatsby’ here.”

The Shipley Mansion closely rivals the largest home in the county, a 25,535-square-foot mansion in Los Altos Hills, and can swallow an average 2,000-square-foot house 12 times. During a recent tour, hundreds of real estate agents swarmed around the expansive grounds of the mansion near the corner of Watsonville Road and West San Martin Avenue, gasping at the colossal marble double staircase in the entry, the three ornate kitchens, eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms dispersed between several wings, the painted dome ceilings in the vein of Michaelangelo and the larger-than-life marble cherub statues peering over every fireplace. The home is surrounded by 20 acres of vineyards and orchards.

Now, after spending 13 years constructing and decorating the second largest home in Santa Clara County, the Shipley family is scrambling to sell their ornate mansion at 915 West San Martin Ave. 

News that the mansion was for sale for $2 million, when it was appraised for $10 million just last year, created a buzz in the real estate world in the Bay Area and beyond. 

Adam said Shipley is looking to sell very quickly. 

“I don’t know the reason, I’ve just been told to sell it and sell it fast,” he said.

Records from the Santa Clara Tax Collector’s Office confirm rumors floating around the real estate community that Shipley is behind in paying his taxes on the property. According to county tax records, Shipley owes $493,958 from not having paid his property taxes for the past three years.

Also, records from the Santa Clara County Office of the Clerk-Recorder indicate that the IRS sent Shipley numerous notices of federal liens on his property from the years 2007 to 2011. The Dispatch inquired about these liens to the IRS, but a spokesperson said the agency does not disclose a person’s tax status.

A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against a property when someone neglects to pay an income tax debt. The lien is placed after the IRS sends a bill that demands payment and the payment deadline is missed, according to the IRS website.

Another lien was placed and released on the property in 2006 by the California Franchise Tax Board.

According to a records person from the Tax Collector’s Office, if Shipley failed to pay his property taxes by 2015, the state would confiscate the home and sell it by auction.