Unused Kruse auto museum sold to keep military museum open

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AUBURN, Ind. – A South Dakota classic car collector has purchased the Dean Kruse Foundation’s unused auto museum put up for sale in a deal to save a neighboring military museum facing foreclosure.

The building owned by the Dean Kruse Foundation in Auburn, Ind., was sold during an auction Sunday for $995,000. The buyer, DeWayne Keiper, said he has collector cars and memorabilia he plans to display at the museum and also use it as a sales showroom.

Money from the building’s sale will go toward the $2.9 million the Kruse Foundation owes for what had been planned as a museum for the memorabilia of auto racing icon Andy Granatelli, who later changed his mind about using the Auburn location. In a news report, Dean Kruse told The Star of Auburn that he had hoped the building would sell for $1.5 million or more.

In July, a judge overseeing the bank foreclosure lawsuit ordered the sale of the Kruse Foundation museums site, which includes the National Military History Center. The military museum will remain open under an agreement reached last week to end a bank’s foreclosure lawsuit with the selling of the Granatelli building and possibly some museum items.

The military museum opened in 2003 after Kruse bought the inventory of a closing World War II museum in Belgium and shipped it to Auburn. According to media reports, the Kruse Foundation said it plans to also sell some military museum items in a November auction to help pay off the loan.

Dean Kruse hosted classic car auctions for nearly four decades in Auburn. But he has been sued repeatedly in recent years for business practices that include not releasing money to vehicle consigners or vehicle titles to purchasers. In 2010, Indiana officials suspended his auctioneer’s license and stripped his former Auburn-based auction house Kruse International of its license.

 

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