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Uncertainty looms for Kruse International, sellers

While Kruse International struggles to regain financial footing, sellers wonder when they will get paid.

One of the more recent examples to come to light is its Topsfield Auction, sponsored by the North Shore Car Club and held June 20 in Topsfield, Mass. During this auction, several consigners claim Kruse International issued post-dated checks for the cars sold, and these checks have not cleared the bank, leaving the sellers without their cars or funds in their place.

“Eleven vehicles sold that we know of, for a total of about $100,000, and not one of those sellers has been paid,” said Rick Beecoff, president of the North Shore Car Club. Beecoff is hoping to hear from other sellers through the club’s phone number at 978-560-0905.

Questions around whether Kruse International’s annual Labor Day weekend auction in Auburn, Ind., would even happen surrounded the company in the days before the sale. In addition to owing money to some of its consigners, the lending institution holding Kruse’s mortgage for its Auburn auction park engaged a court to appoint a receiver to control the park before the event started. A last-minute agreement between Kruse International and its lender kept the park open through the event, but on condition that the lender received payment of $500,000 and other creditors were paid $1 million by Sept. 15.

According to Fort Wayne’s The Journal Gazette, Kruse International’s recent non-payment history to its consigners led to an investigation by the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division. During the investigation, the agency’s inspector learned that Kruse International did not have an active dealer location with hours of business in both Tucson and Phoenix, which is required by law in Arizona, causing Kruse International’s license to sell cars in that state to be suspended. Numerous other complaints from sellers who have not been paid after selling their vehicles have also been filed in courts.

Dean Kruse blamed the speed and deep-running effects of the recession on the financial problems that plague his company, and told media outlets before the fall auction in Auburn that he expected that revenue generated from the sale would turn around his business. Old Cars Weekly will feature Phil Skinner’s exclusive interview with Kruse in the Oct. 1 issue, which was recorded during the Auburn sale.

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