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LI businessman to make bid for Russian-owned North Shore estate

An aerial view of the Upper Brookville estate

An aerial view of the Upper Brookville estate owned by the Russian government that was vacated on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016. Credit: Kevin Coughlin/

A day after a 14-acre North Shore estate owned by the Russian government was emptied of its occupants in retaliation for that country’s alleged cyberattacks, a Long Island operator of catering and banquet halls said Saturday that he wants to buy the property.

Butch Yamali, president and chief executive of Freeport-based Dover Group Hospitality, said he intends to send letters Monday to the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., and the consulate in Manhattan outlining his plans.

He wants to turn the historic Upper Brookville property into a five-star resort geared toward residents of the posh village and nearby upscale communities.

Yamali said he plans to contact local members of Congress for help in facilitating the sale.

The Russian embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

The former Soviet Union bought the wooded property, including the 1918 mansion, in 1952.

Aerial shots of the property, which the U.S. State Department calls a “recreational compound,” show a two-story mansion and another large building nearby, along with a soccer field, a tennis court and what appears to be a sand volleyball court. There also is an in-ground pool, Nassau County assessment records say. The county lists the estate’s market value at $9.35 million.

Yamali envisions adding a golf course and other amenities, creating meeting space for executives who live nearby and offering banquet facilities for weddings and other events. Yamali said he already has lined up 15 investors.

But there is no indication the Russian government wants to sell the property, and there is speculation that President-elect Donald Trump will reverse the U.S. sanction and invite the Russians back after he is sworn in on Jan. 20.

“Anything can happen,” Yamali said. “They may not want to come back.”

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