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Adventures in the American meritocracy

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See if you can guess where this is going:

It was a modest house by this town’s standards, a center-entrance colonial, three bedrooms and a two-car garage on a quarter-acre lot. The inside hadn’t welcomed a renovator in many, many years, and the outside didn’t wear its age particularly well.

Its owner: Peter Brand, Harvard University’s legendary fencing coach. Its assessed value: $549,300.

So when the house sold to a wealthy Maryland businessman for close to a million dollars in May 2016, the town’s top assessor was so dumbfounded that he wrote the following in his notes: “Makes no sense.”

If you guessed “using real estate to launder money for fun and profit,” aka the Donald Trump Special, you’re right:

The buyer, it turns out, was the father of a high school junior who was actively looking at applying to Harvard with an eye toward being on the fencing team.

 

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