RM Auctions purchases former Kruse auction park

AUBURN, Ind. – Rob Myers, chairman and founder of Canadian-based RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house, today announced the purchase of the 235-acre auction park located in Auburn, Indiana by a subsidiary of RM from long-time automobile auctioneer, Dean V. Kruse.

As part of the company’s overall expansion plans, Myers also announced the formation of Auctions America by RM − a new RM subsidiary created to operate the recently-acquired auction facility, specializing in the presentation of the hugely popular 1950s and ’60s classics, customs and muscle car segment of the collector car market. Neither Dean Kruse nor any of the Kruse Companies has any vested or legal interest in the Auctions America by RM company, its auctions and/or in the Auburn auction park real estate.

Financial terms of the sale weren’t released, but Myers said his company was only buying the property and other assets for the 235-acre auction park and not assuming any of Kruse’s debts.

Kruse International owner Dean Kruse said “my bills are mine” and that he wouldn’t seek bankruptcy protection while working to pay the 62 people to whom he still owes money.

Kruse’s business problems started with the recession that began in 2008, his attorney has said. People who bought cars at the 2008 and 2009 auctions ended up owing Kruse millions of dollars. Kruse, in turn, owed the cars’ former owners money he didn’t have.

At one point, Kruse owed about $7 million, but had paid that down to $300,000 by May – in part by taking out a $4.5 million loan on his Auburn home.

“I intend to earn as much money as I can,” Kruse said Thursday. “The state of Indiana gave me three years to pay the consigners and I want to do that faster if I can.”

The Kruse auctions have since 1971 drawn bidders competing to buy rare and classic autos, including cars once owned by Clark Cable, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

Auburn Mayor Norman Yoder said Kruse had been a great leader in the community about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne and that many people have been worried about the auction park’s future. “I’ve had a lot of anxiety lately and people want to know what’s going on,” Yoder said. “So to bring closure and turn the chapter is a great time.”

Kruse said he was confident that RM Auctions, which bills itself as the world’s largest collector car auction house, would build up the Auburn operations by attracting customers from around the world. “I feel this is the best possible deal that I could ever bring in to Indiana,” he said.

RM Auctions continues its annual calendar of events, and the two separate RM auction entities, each with its own focused brand identity, will seamlessly serve the entire spectrum of the collector car market with the superior level of client service for which RM has become known. The massive global contingent of classic car enthusiasts is able to participate in RM’s prestigious auction events by bidding absentee or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.

Under the Auctions America by RM banner, the tradition of staging what was once the world’s largest automobile auction held in conjunction with the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Festival each Labor Day weekend, will mark its 40th year, September 2 to 6, 2010 in Auburn.

“The very first collector car auction I attended was the one held on Labor Day weekend in Auburn back in 1974. The ACD Festival and auction weekend has been a tradition for me ever since,” said Myers. “All of us within the RM group of companies are very excited to take on these new opportunities and we look forward to upgrading the auction park and continuing to serve our clients and friends with a venue like Auburn.”

Donnie Gould, RM Auctions partner and collector car expert, has been appointed President of Auctions America by RM. Gould will work closely with Ed Cepuran in his new role as chief financial officer of RM’s new subsidiary. Serving as general manager, the day-to-day aspects of the business will be overseen by RM car specialist, Ken Wallace.

“RM Auctions has so many customers active in the buying and selling of muscle cars, customs, street rods and just plain great old cars that we simply cannot service them all with our existing venues,” said Gould. “We believe the Auburn location is ideal for this biggest segment of the market with its freeway access, huge parking lots, and motorcoach and swap meet facilities. We are all very excited to get started.”

The Auburn Auction Park is located at 5540 County Road 11-A, Auburn, IN 46706. Originally opened in 1989, it is considered one of the best facilities of its kind by car enthusiasts from across the country.

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