UPDATED: Russ Wasendorf Sr.'s assets sold to highest bidder
Written by Nikki Newbrough, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -
Going, going, gone! More than a thousand assets once owned by Peregrine Financial CEO Russ Wasendorf, Sr. hit the auction block Wednesday.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit those impacted by the Peregrine scandal. That scandal was exposed back in July after federal investigators revealed $200 million in missing customer funds.
Piece by piece--every bit of the Peregrine Financial empire was sold during a combination live and online auction Wednesday. A thousand people had bidding numbers to be part of the action.
High-end kitchen and exercise equipment, office chairs, printers, even a classic Ford Thunderbird are just some of the items going to the highest bidder. Nearly everyone attending the auction had their sights set on something specific for their own home or business.
"Absolutely the eagle downstairs!" said Larry Sweeting, a Cedar Falls buyer.
"We need some furniture," said Mohammed Ahmed, Chicago businessman.
"They purchased some vehicles of ours and we're looking to retain those vehicles back to our dealership. We know their maintenance and care, so we want to offer them again to current clients and customers," said Bill Stoler, with Dan Deery Auto in Cedar Falls.
Great American Group was assigned to conduct the sale. A business liquidation is not unique for the company, but it doesn't make handling all of Russ Wasendorf Sr. and Peregrine's assets any easier.
"We're just here in the service business trying to sell and recoup. We take our job very, very seriously. But certainly we feel sentimental towards the employees and what have you. These things happen out of their control obviously," said Mark Weitz, Great American Group.
Some buyers, like Mohammed Ahmed of Chicago, weren't familiar with PFG's collapse until now.
"We started googling it to see what it was and figured out what the extent of what happened at this company was and were pretty shocked," Ahmed said.
For others, it struck close to home.
"It's a tragedy, very tough situation," Sweeting said.
Many buyers are just glad that these purchases will be helping repay customers some of their lost investment money.
"I think it's a shame there's so many people on the line, on the cuff, for their cash. I'm glad they're going to get a part of their money back. I just wish they could get it all back," Stoler said.
After the auction is over, all the money collected will be turned over to the trustees, being funneled through a court-appointed receiver in Chicago. It's expected to take only a matter of weeks to start getting that money returned to customers who lost it in the Peregrine collapse.
Great American Group will not have a final tally on exactly how much money was collected through Wednesday's auction for a few days.
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