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Mellon heiress sells Cape Cod land to Koch brother

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
The Mellon estate on Cape Cod includes seven acres of landscaped gardens, legacy of its former owner, a noted horticulturist who reportedly landscaped the White House Rose Garden for Jacqueline Kennedy. Sotheby's
Another view of the large, landscaped gardens on the 26-acre compound in Osterville, formerly owned by Bunny Mellon. Sotheby's
Another view of the large, landscaped gardens on the 26-acre compound in Osterville, formerly owned by Bunny Mellon. Sotheby's
A view out over the water from the Mellon compound, which sold this week for a reported $19.5 million. The property has 1,000 feet of waterfront. Sotheby's

A Mellon family heiress who prosecutors say gave millions to help former Democratic Sen. John Edwards cover up an affair sold a 25-acre portion of her waterfront Cape Cod compound to Bill Koch, brother of conservative political contributors Charles and David Koch.

Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and her late husband, Pittsburgh philanthropist Paul Mellon, heir to the family's banking fortune, bought the estate on Oyster Harbors island in Osterville, Mass., in the 1940s. The sale to Koch did not include 15 acres of the overall property, Mellon's attorney, Alexander Forger, said Tuesday.

The property was listed last January for $28.7 million; the 25 acres sold for $19.5 million.

Two years ago, federal prosecutors involved in a two-year investigation of Edwards planned to record the testimony of Mellon, 102, to preserve for any trial. She was interviewed but never testified, Forger said.

Mellon, who lives at her Oak Spring Farms estate in Upperville, Va., donated $3.48 million to political action committee Alliance for New America, which placed pro-Edwards advertisements during Democratic primaries when Edwards ran for president in 2008.

Edwards' campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial in May.

Forger dismissed as “theory” the claim by prosecutors that campaign money was used improperly to silence Rielle Hunter, the campaign videographer who gave birth to a daughter, later revealed to be Edwards' child, during the presidential campaign. Their romance was the subject of tell-all books, talk shows and a lawsuit.

Mellon's secretary at Oak Springs said she was not available.

William Koch, who is worth an estimated $4 billion, was recently identified as the anonymous buyer of the faux Old West ghost town and part-time Hollywood movie set of Buckskin Joe in Colorado. He had the entire 50-plus building town dismantled and moved from Canon City and rebuilt on his 5,000-acre Bear Ranch in Gunnison about 10 miles away, published reports said.

The Koch family companies employ about 60,000 people in 60 countries. Their major interests include refining, chemicals and biofuels; process and pollution control equipment and technologies; minerals; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; commodity trading and services; forest and consumer products; and ranching.

As a privately held company, Koch Industries Inc. does not release its financial statements or other financial data to the public.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or

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