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MAHOMET — A vast mansion on about 200 acres in northern Champaign County has sold for more than $4 million, according to documents filed at the Champaign County recorder's office.

But the new owner remains a mystery. The property, known as Hidden River, was sold to a trust at Hickory Point Bank and Trust in Decatur.

Champaign attorney John T. Phipps, who was not a party to the transaction, explained that the sale to a trust generally means the new owner of the property will never be disclosed.

"If it's a regular trust, which I would expect it would be, you're not going to find out anything. Even the contingent beneficiaries can't find out things," Phipps said. "It's a nice way of hiding a lot of things."

Another advantage of trusts is to avoid probate and its costs, explained Phipps, adding that trusts are "very, very common in Illinois."

Hidden River, once the property of software developer Bruce Artwick, was auctioned on July 22 via sealed bid.

The minimum bid was $850,000, according to Michael Fine of Deerfield-based Fine and Co. Fine declined to say how many bidders there were for the property, or who the winning bidder was.

Documents filed with the county recorder say the property was sold by Artwick, who now lives in Santa Fe, N.M., for $4,000,005. The sale was completed on Sept. 2 and recorded a day later.

The sale yielded $2,002.60 to Champaign County in real estate transfer taxes.

The Hidden River estate, once listed at $14.9 million and more recently on the market for $6.9 million, had a tax assessment of $3.55 million.

The entire property, which includes 7,180 feet of frontage on the Sangamon River and more than 85 wooded acres, has a 15,000-square foot English Arts and Crafts main residence with five bedrooms and eight baths, a 1,391-square foot log cabin and a 4,170-square foot motorcar pavilion with space for 12 cars.

The property is about eight miles northwest of Mahomet in Newcomb Township.

Artwick, an Illinois native, is a University of Illinois graduate in electrical engineering, and the creator of the first consumer flight simulator software.

Columnist

Tom Kacich is a columnist and the author of Tom's Mailbag at The News-Gazette. His column appears Sundays. His email is tkacich@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@tkacich).