November 25, 2020

Mississippi’s most iconic antebellum mansion being bought by actor, film producer

Historic Dunleith antebellum mansion is under contract with a potential buyer and expected to be sold within two months, a bank official confirmed Friday afternoon.

“Dunleith is under contract for sale to Mr. Jake Seal,” said Adrian Sandel, chief executive officer of United Mississippi Bank. “It should be (closed) 30 to 45 days from the day we signed the contract, which was a week ago today.”

Jake Seal is an actor, director and film producer who owns Plantation Village Studios in Jackson, Louisiana, which has attracted movies such as “Oblivion,” starring Tom Cruise, “Free State of Jones” starring Matthew McConaughey and “The Magnificent Seven.”

Seal did not immediately return calls for comment on this story Friday afternoon.

Sandel, however, said he has been told that Seal plans to continue operating Dunleith as a luxury inn.

“Dunleith will continue to be operated much like it had before, meaning that it will be rooms for rent, restaurant, wedding venue, event venue, very much like it was being operated,” Sandel said. “Of course with the excitement of the addition of potential use in television shows and movies. Jake is a producer. His business is movies and television shows.”

Sandel said he believes plans include continuing to operate The Castle Restaurant on the grounds of Dunleith.

“Our understanding at the bank is that it will open back up and be run much like it was previously,” Sandel said. “He (Seal) had some of his operations people on site yesterday (Thursday) and today, and they’ve begun meeting with people.”

UMB foreclosed on the storied mansion from which Dunleith Historic Inn and The Castle Restaurant operated in January a year after Louisiana businessman Michael Allen Worley filed a personal bankruptcy on Jan. 8, 2018, citing more than $107 million in debt, with just more than $80 million in assets.