Before trying his hand at managing a baseball team, Mike Matheny tried his hand at being a real estate tycoon. Unfortunately, due to the the economic downturn, several of his projects have gone sour and he was forced to sell his house (pictured above), nestled on 11 acres that included a baseball field, batting cage, private lake and a floating island green within that lake.

Matheny was forced to sell the estate last year amid the business deal gone bad. Like many investors ensnared by the real estate meltdown, he borrowed heavily for a commercial project that would have been less risky in headier times. When demand dried up, Matheny found himself unable to satisfy the debt.

By May 2010, Matheny told the lender that he would no longer make payments. Matheny, who is married with five children, wrote in a letter that he had been making payments "at great expense to myself and my family."

"I certainly hope you can understand that we need to protect our family's interest," he wrote.

The bank sued him a month later.

Obviously the bank did not understand. The Cardinals, however, do understand and don't have a problem with their new manager's decision to just not honor a signed instrument. "'He was very upfront and candid about it from the start of our process,' Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon said. 'We view this as a personal issue that has absolutely no bearing on his ability to serve as our manager.'"

Matheny is still involved in the litigation and therefore had no comment. He and his wife may still be on the hook for over $4 million when all is said and done, however.

h/t Joseph R.

Mike Matheny lost his home in legal fight with bank over business debt []