American LaFrance auction draws international interest

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lindsay Street/Gazette American LaFrance’s business personal property will be on the auction block Wednesday, June 11.

The auctioneer company handling the June 11 American LaFrance auction has fielded calls from all over the country and world, including a businessman flying in from Mexico.

The auction also will be livestreamed online, so bidders can make offers no matter their location.

Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers is handling Berkeley County’s auction of the former firetruck manufacturer’s business personal property to redeem more than $650,000 owed to taxpayers on a fee-in-lieu-of-tax economic development deal. American LaFrance battled bankruptcy and finally closed in January. About 200 jobs were lost in the county.

With the county unable to connect with anyone at American LaFrance, the county seized American LaFrance’s assets at two locations and consolidated them into one location at the Patillo building off of Cypress Gardens Road. The county only has claim to the business personal property, which includes manufacturing equipment and office desks. It is unclear what will happen to the company’s inventory, like the transmissions, red engines and unfinished firetrucks.

The auction begins 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 11, and will likely continue for 10 hours, according to Cincinnati Industrial Auctioneers Managing Partner Jeff Luggen.

The auction is open to the public. Those wishing to bid online can do so at bidspotter.com.

Luggen said there will be an auctioneer’s chant to go through the thousand or so lots. He said Berkeley County is planning on having refreshments on hand.

While the auction will feature a “huge amount” of factory support equipment, if you’re looking to watch a big-ticket item to go at auction, you’re out of luck, Luggen said.

“At this auction, there really is nothing that’s the star of the show,” he said.

So who’s interested in this type of equipment?

“It’s all types of manufacturers and business people from all over the country and, heck, even all over the world,” Luggen said.

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