Mario Williams ended his disappointing tenure with the Buffalo Bills in March 2016, and he put his estate on the market two months later for $3 million.
More than a year later, Williams finally sold the 13,200-square-foot mansion, which sits on 5.1 acres on the border of Orchard Park and East Aurora, for $2.5 million on Tuesday, according to a document filed with the Erie County Clerk’s Office.
Businessman Ian Finn is the buyer.
It is an unusual home and an unusual transaction. Only one other home in Erie County has sold for more money over the last three years, a mansion in Aurora that went for $4.45 million in June 2016, according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors.
Kenneth Bernas modeled the opulent, 13,200-square-foot home after Buffalo's historic Miller Mansion. Prosecutors say the disgraced former lawyer swindled dozens of clients out of millions of dollars to build the intricately decorated Town of Aurora manor, where no expense was spared.
He sold the estate for $2.5 million in 2012 to Williams, who came to Buffalo that year as a coveted free agent and the highest-paid player in Bills history. Williams lasted just four seasons in Buffalo before he was released.
His listing agent, Michelle Winer, said she thought it might take two or three years to sell the Woodcrest Drive mansion, one of the most luxurious in the area.
Finding the right buyer, and closing on the sale, wasn't easy, said Winer, of Hunt Real Estate ERA.
"You have no idea," she said.
The all-stone mansion sits on 5.1 acres in Aurora on the Orchard Park border. Built in 2005, it boasts a pool and spa, balconies, radiant heat in the floors and a security camera system.
The home itself features limestone, imported marble, custom millwork, moldings, two-story cherry wood bookcases, spiral central staircase and other architectural detailing. It includes five full and four half-bathrooms, a surround-sound system and two laundry rooms. It also includes a workout room and a four-car attached garage.
"It's unique, it's spectacular and it's very private," Winer said.
Winer said she can't believe the attention to detail Bernas and his designers put into the residence, and she said Williams put about $600,000 into the home's security system, electric fencing and other upgrades.
"I had a lot of showings on it," Winer said. "We do have a strong luxury market."
Prospective viewers of the home had to be pre-approved to demonstrate they had the means to afford the home.
Little is know about Finn, and Winer declined to say much about him. He did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
"He's a very private businessman," she said. "I think he fell in love with the house the moment he walked in."
Bernas was convicted in 2011 of swindling 53 clients by taking out presettlement loans in their name without their knowledge.
Williams listed the home for sale again in May 2016 but Winer said she didn't begin showing it until that July. She said she had a potential sale in October that didn't come together. She said she took it off the market in May of this year when she began the extended closing process with Finn.
Williams, currently a free agent, "is totally thrilled" by the completion of the sale, she said.