Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Quiet Auction: Cash on the Barrelhead
Ever been to an auction where cash on the barrelhead was the singular term of payment? (Money order, or cashier check? They were OK, but no time would be given to secure one in the right amount.) One was given Tuesday, February 3, at eleven AM, in front of Space 61 by the Lockwood Community Corporation (LCC).
There were many strange things about this auction. First, there was a "hold harmless" clause; stipulating that no guarantees were to be made as to any title, or ownership of the property auctioned, or even that the auction was bona fide. A bidder was bidding on good faith and little else, it seemed. No handouts were given out in explaination of the stringent terms, nor of the lengthy dialogue read by the auctioneer. A call for questions brought an inquiry "if a winning bidder would be given to the end of business." They would not. Cash sale means cash only, replied the auctioneer, on demand immediately at the end of the auction.
There was no doubt that every level of LCC management was present, or represented, in the small crowd that had gathered. The Secretary/Treasurer, the President and Manager were there for reasons that were unspoken.
A stranger began the action with a bid of $10,000. Nobody bid higher. Then came a demand for payment. He did not know the "cash only" aspect was firm, but offered what would be taken as good credit anywhere.. Unable to render cash payment, he was banned from further bidding. The show went on, as did overly obvious and rude comments and body language gesturing, directed at this man whose only crime was not understanding.
The auctioneer began again. Again, the winning bidder did not have cash on hand; this time due to an error in communication between him and the banned bidder.
Again, the bidding went back to a last bid of the remaining bidders, $4,500. There were three bidders that had bid the price to $6,000. Beginning again, the price went to $5,100 and it was settled.
Where else, but in Lockwood, can you buy a house for that amount of money?
It was later learned that LCC was not to benefit from any funds greater than the amount held in lien; rumored to be about $1,500 in back rent. Inquiry, about where the balance was to go, has at his writing gone without reply.