A Houston businessman has purchased a secluded 2,800 acre ranch from the estate of Michael Brown, the former Houston hand surgeon who died last week.
The property, known as "Castlemane" because Brown had planned to construct an elaborate castle on the grounds, is just outside Normangee, Texas, located about 110 miles north of Houston.
The deal closed on Friday for $8,500,000, about $3,000,000 below an earlier asking price. The proceeds appear will be divided among creditors and family members.
The purchaser is listed as John Juneau, of Houston. Juneau already owns property near Castlemane. A representative for Juneau said the purchase was a "family matter," and declined further comment.
The purchase, according to a source familiar with the matter, includes hundreds of exotic animals who live on the property.
A bankruptcy court inventory of the ranch’s animals includes varying amount of the following species: Aoudad, Blackbuck Antelope, Llama, Sika Deer, Water Buck, Zebra, Pygmy Goat, Oryx, Elk, Scottish Highlander, Miniature Donkey, Miniature Horse, Clydesdale Hose, Fox Trotter Horse, Arabian Horse, Ostrich, and Quarter Horse.
"It’s been my life the last 27 years. I’m going to miss it," said Coye Williams, who ran Castlemane Ranch until last Friday. "He wanted the place to be like a park."
The ranch appeared to be in immaculate condition. Blacked out deer stands and a network of cameras, along with armed guards watched the property 24/7 up until recently. At one point, 22 employees worked there.
Williams described the ranch and it’s accommodations for 20+ overnight guests as fancy but comfortable, with storage buildings stacked wall-to-wall with Brown’s belongings.
"Boots, shoes, inside of them they were beyond your belief. When he went to Africa he would bring back everything he could," Williams said.
Williams said Brown was the best boss who ever employed him. Brown bought the ranch in 2000.
Williams retired just last week.
"The new owner asked us all what we wanted to do, I said I plan to retire," Williams said.