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He Needs Cash to Keep His Keep

The adopted son of a baron will have to pay a king’s ransom before he can inherit a West German castle. Richard Hemmelsbach, 57, of Ferrysburg, Mich., has until April 5 to pay off $3 million in debts on the estate or a bank will offer it for sale to others. Baron Freiherr Theodore von Liebieg, 76, the castle’s owner, had no heirs, so he decided to adopt someone as a way to continue a family heritage that dates back to the Romans. Von Liebieg selected Hemmelsbach last summer from more than 10,000 hopefuls who wrote in after his story was broadcast on the syndicated television program, “A Current Affair.” But before Hemmelsbach, who is of German descent, can inherit the 1,428-year-old walled castle, accompanying 100-acre estate and vineyards valued at $10 million, he must square the debt on the property with a West German bank, which holds a $1.5-million mortgage on the property. Another $1.5 million is owed to investors, he said. " . . . I believe in miracles,” Hemmelsbach said. “I still believe we will own the castle.” He said he has been negotiating with investment groups interested in converting the 100-bedroom castle into a hotel and tourism center. Historians believe that the estate--Schloss Liebieg--is the oldest castle in Germany and the third-oldest in the Western world, Hemmelsbach said.

--On her first day of a very public job, Margaret Tutwiler asked for a little “patience and understanding” from the assembled members of the news media. “As you all know, I am not, and do not claim to be, an expert in foreign policy,” Tutwiler said as she made her debut as chief State Department spokeswoman. “But I do claim to have a fair amount of experience in working with the press, and I do know this President and this secretary of state very well.” Tutwiler, 38, served as Secretary of State James A. Baker III’s spokeswoman when he was secretary of the Treasury in the Ronald Reagan Administration and worked for George Bush when he made his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980. Tutwiler, who is considered one of Baker’s closest advisers, was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month. Speaking with a pronounced Southern accent, she was careful to stick closely to briefing answers prepared in advance by the department’s regional experts. She read a statement that praised the Soviet elections but said they did not comply with Western standards. When asked “what was missing,” Tutwiler declined to answer, saying: “You’re going to get me in trouble.”


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