Published: December 10, 2002
NORTH BETHESDA, MD. -Sloan’s Auction Galleries, Ltd, a 153-year old company and America’s sixth largest auction house, filed for Chapter 11 status on December 3 in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of Maryland.
Sloan’s former vice president Colin Clarke, who was named acting president of the auction firm just three weeks ago, stated that “the continuation of Sloan’s is the intent we all have, it is the intent that the court has, and the intent that the present owner has. We are in the process of reorganizing our finances, raising further investments and we will go forward, definitely.”
Paula Seagraves, a clerk with the Greenbelt Division of the Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office stated that in the December 3 petition Sloan’s is seeking protection from “more than 1,000” consignors and creditors. There is between “$3 million to $5 million in debt,” stated Clarke.
The motion filed was a “bare bones petition” that allows Sloan’s 15 days to get information to the court. Sloan’s reported having between $500,000 and $1 million in assets in its Chapter 11 filing.
The auction house submitted to the courts a report listing its top 20 unsecured creditors, including law firms in Baltimore and Denver that are owed nearly $200,000, a Canadian-based consignor is also listed as being owed $209,096 and Allen Kronstadt, Sloan’s landlord, is owed $267,256.
Several attempts for the company to regain its health through Internet auctions and specialty sales were said to have failed, leaving the auction house struggling to meet its financial commitments. Dozens of unpaid consignors and creditors have reportedly filed suit against Sloan’s and the Maryland Attorney General has investigated nine cases involving the auction house, five of which are still open.
Clarke is optimistic regarding the future of the auction house. “The ad-hoc representative from the court took the view that it was very important for us to remain in business. There is clearly a lot of work to be done and it is clearly our intent to go forward from here.” The Washington, DC, area auction house specializes in fine art, furniture, decorative arts, silver, rugs, books and fine jewelry.
As of press time, results of the December 9 hearing had yet to be established and the prospect that their December 12 auction of uncataloged antiques would take place was “unlikely,” according to Clarke. Sloan’s will be announcing their upcoming schedule of auctions once it meets with court approval.
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