After losing his position at the Today show and finding himself in the middle of a divorce, Matt Lauer was also being threatened with the loss of his prestigious property in New Zealand. When Lauer and estranged wife Annette Roque bought the $9 million sheep and cattle ranch in New Zealand, they signed a “good character” clause, which Lauer was thought to have violated. This clause is something that the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office requires foreign investors to sign in order to purchase real estate in their country.
Town & Country says that for months, the former NBC anchor didn’t know if he would be forced to sell after he was fired for potentially committing a crime. Lisa Barrett, an official with the Overseas Investment Office, said that for now, they will not be making any claim against Lauer.
New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office told the Associated Press that they interviewed Lauer and had also been in contact with NBC, as reported by Boston.com.
“Mr. Lauer has not been charged with any offense, nor convicted, and the evidence available to the OIO at this time does not establish that Mr. Lauer is unfit to continue to hold the asset. However, in reaching this position, we do not condone the inappropriate way that Mr. Lauer has behaved.”
The property currently owned by Lauer and Roque is 27,000 acres in an area called Hunter Valley Station. The property runs for eight miles of lakefront property. The property includes a main house with five bedrooms and several outbuildings and barns.
For months, it was unclear whether the New Zealand government would force Lauer to sell the farm or sign it over to Roque as was the agreement. Lauer was fired from NBC in November, and the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office just made the decision this week that Lauer and Roque can continue to own this top-shelf property.
Lisa Barrett, who is the Deputy Chief Executive of the controlling bureau, said she had been in touch with NBC about their investigation into Matt Lauer’s behavior.
Back in November, Barrett said they needed to do their own investigation before they make a decision.
“The Overseas Investment Office is aware that allegations have been made in relation to Matt Lauer and that he is no longer working for NBC News in the USA. We are discussing this with his representative and are seeking further information.”
No decision could be made about the property in New Zealand as it pertained to the Lauer and Roque divorce until it was determined that Matt Lauer was allowed to continue ownership.