Buyer cries foul in Duesenberg sale

Claims sellers illegally drove up price at auction
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According to a recent story in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, James Scott claims in the federal lawsuit Durham, and others who had a financial interest in the sale of the car, drove up the price during bidding and then split the profits of the sale. Scott eventually paid the $2.9 million for the car.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Missouri collector car dealer Mark Hyman; Donald D. Lyons, of Dowagiac, Mich.; Kruse International and the Auburn museum, according to the Journal Gazette report.

The Duesenberg was put up for consignment by a group of sellers: Durham, Hyman, Lyons and the Lyons Family Trust. Scott participated in the auction by telephone.

Hyman opened the bidding with an offer of about $500,000, according to court documents.

As the auction moved past $850,000, the remaining bids were between Scott and Hyman. Scott alleges that Hyman conferred about bids often with Lyons, who was seated next to him.

Scott said no one disclosed that the group of sellers reserved the right to bid or that they were in fact offering bids on the car, a violation of Indiana law, court papers say.

After Scott transferred more than $3.1 million to the museum’s bank account a few days later, the money was divided up and distributed to Hyman, Lyons and the museum, with Durham’s knowledge, according to the story. Scott has yet to receive the title for the vehicle, according to court documents.

In his civil lawsuit alleging violation of Indiana law, fraud, criminal conversion and negligence, Scott is seeking $3.1 million, interest and the right to retain the automobile, according to court documents.


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