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Johnny Depp’s Kentucky horse farm fails to sell at auction

Actor Johnny Depp’s Fayette County horse farm on Versailles Road did not sell at auction Friday after the bids were rejected for being too low.

The property had been listed for $2.9 million. The top bid was $1.4 million. It came from radio personality Rick Dees of the Weekly Top 40, who said he didn’t blame Depp, best known for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise, for wanting more for the property.

Dees owns Sweetbrier, a large Boyle County farm.

After a brief conference with Depp business manager Edward White, the auctioneers ended the auction without a sale.

The Halfhill Auction Group and White said they will continue talking to interested buyers and are still hopeful of a sale.

“It’s not over yet,” White said. “There are some people interested in meeting with me.”

Depp had recently sold four penthouses at the Eastern Columbia building in downtown Los Angeles for a cumulative $10.22 million, White said. Depp still owns five properties in Los Angeles, White said.

Depp also owns Little Hal’s Pond Cay, a 45-acre private island in the Bahamas and a 37-acre compound in the south of France.

“It’s difficult to manage all these properties,” White said, because Depp “rarely comes to Kentucky.” Depp is a Kentucky native born in Owensboro.

Although there were 14 registered bidders, it was clear from the outset that the auction was going to be sluggish. An auctioneer’s suggestion that the bidding start at $2.5 million drew no interest, and bidding instead began at $1 million. The sticking point of $1.4 million could not be moved to $1.5 million, or even to $1.45 million.

Auction attendees were allowed to the roam the house’s interior before the auction. “Betty Sue’s Family Farm,” named for Depp’s late mother, featured shag carpet in the kitchen, a TV the size of a queen bed in the master bedroom and numerous family photos, including one of Depp with a baby in a Che Guevara baby-size T-shirt.

The 41-acre property includes a 6,000-square-foot brick house with seven bedrooms, a four-car garage, a guesthouse and three barns. The property is set up for a small horse operation, according to the description on the property listing.

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman

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