An 87-year-old Comox man is one of the people owed money by an auction house in Black Creek.
Karl Ploeger is waiting to collect his fee for a lifetime’s worth of tools and some furniture he handed over last summer to Black Creek Auction Mart. However, the landlord has shut the doors at 857B Reinhold Rd. because the rent hasn’t been paid.
“I didn’t get a penny,” said Ploeger, whose planers, grinders and other tools filled several truckloads. “We’re looking at a fair amount of money. A lot of things to sell is difficult, I realize that.’’
Sid Nielsen, a partner at the auction, which was managed by Jody Patten, said auctions have come to a halt because of a dispute with the landlord.
“We were supposed to have an auction on the 22nd (of November) and there was some sort of dispute with the landlord (Tom Haglund),” said Nielsen, who mostly works out of town and has a Campbell River phone number, as does Patten.
He said Haglund had either discarded or given away items.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Nielsen said. “I had a bunch of trailers there myself. I’ve never drawn a wage from the place.”
Haglund closed the doors mid-November due to “lack of payment” from the tenants.
“I think there was six or seven things they didn’t do. One was to keep the building heated,” Haglund said, adding that he knows of at least two other people owed money from the proceeds of auctions held by the company. Haglund added that there was a “constant stream of people, but I wasn’t interested in getting involved in that. Anything of any value that was in that building is gone.”
The auction’s consignment form uses letterhead from Klass A Auctions in Saskatoon. Certain information on the Black Creek Auction website duplicates that of the Saskatchewan company.
“There’s no connection to us,” said Tracy Verishine, owner of Klass A Auctions. “We’re the only Klass A, there is no sister or brother company. There’s definitely some miscommunication. Honestly, I don’t appreciate that. That has left a very bad taste in my mouth. I hope he (Patten) gets it together. I’m not involved in this, and I feel for these people greatly.”
Verishine said Patten trained at an auctioneer school, from where students were often sent to Klass A to practise.
“That’s how we came to know Jody. He hung out here quite a bit. We kind of mentored him.”
Patten moved to B.C. where he intended to open an auction house called Klass A, which Verishine said he could not do.
“He did open it up as Klass A,” said Verishine, who had obtained an auctioneer’s licence for Patten in March, 2013. She is now in the process of having it revoked.
“I will not change my name because of him,” she said. “I will not allow him to auction in Saskatchewan under our registration.”
In a series of voice mails, Patten says the “issues and concerns” are being addressed. In one voice mail, he told the Comox Valley Record that he would be available for an interview Monday morning, but then revoked that offer on the advice of company lawyers.
Ploeger had hoped to make at least $10,000 from his tools. He says he spoke to police, but Comox Valley RCMP did not receive a formal complaint. Police did, however, field two other complaints about Black Creek Auction Mart.
“But it’s not a police matter because they entered into a contract with the guy,” Const. Don Sinclair said. “They should have put down a price for what they wanted for their stuff. There’s not a lot we can do once they’ve entered into that.”