Dean Kruse, whose Kruse International auction house of Auburn, Indiana once moved many Crosleys and other vintage cars, has been fined $35,000 and his auction licenses have been revoked, and the annual Labor Day auction there is up in the air. That huge event was so popular it was carried over ESPN.
The licenses were pulled yesterday by the Indiana auctioneer commission. A three-hour fact-finding hearing Tuesday in Indianapolis cost Dean Kruse his personal auctioneer license and fined Kruse International and Kruse himself with $35,000 in civil penalties. The revocations will be effective as soon as the final order is drawn up by the attorney general's office within a week. The decision came as a result of an attorney general investigation into complaints against Kruse by customers alleging Kruse had not paid them for vehicles sold at his auctions. That led to a 70-count complaint against Kruse personally, the auction house and the auction company. The attorney general's office found merit in the complaints through an investigation.
Kruse's personal license will be suspended with no right to petition for reinstatment for a minimum of two years. After that term, the license will be placed on probation for three years, with no right to challenge the probation. Kruse International can reapply for its license in seven years. Kruse reportedly has repaid a portion of his debt, but it's unclear how much and what he still owes.
Kruse must show exactly what the company has coming in and going out financially, and show his efforts to pay back the consignors.
Kruse's classic-car auction is held each Labor Day weekend at the 480-acre Kruse International Auction Park in Auburn as part of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival with its 300,000 spectators. It seems now the only way it will go on as scheduled would be if an outside auctioneer rents the park and holds the auction. It's unclear if that's in the works.
We'll keep you posted.