Home / Articles / News / News / Going once, going twice…
Print this Article
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 05:53 am

Going once, going twice…

THR treasures on auction block

art11045

Baseball memorabilia, including balls signed by such greats as Hank Aaron, Carlton Fisk and Don Larsen, are among the antiques up for sale.
PHOTOS BY BRUCE RUSHTON

Pete Rose’s rookie baseball card. A stuffed beaver. A signed photograph of Ronald Reagan asleep on a hammock. Dozens of antique swords. A plastic tub filled with home pregnancy tests.

Such is the flotsam and jetsam left behind from the high tide of THR and Associates, the Springfield firm born in 2008 that rocketed to riches almost overnight before descending into bankruptcy, leaving tens of millions of dollars in debt.

Under orders from a federal bankruptcy court, THR’s assets are being auctioned off to satisfy a list of creditors that includes the Internal Revenue Service, which is owed $3.4 million in delinquent income taxes, and the state Department of Revenue, which is owed $1.3 million in sales, payroll and other taxes. Aumann Auctions, a Nokomis-based firm, is billing the online sale as the largest auction of personal property in state history. It seems a credible claim.

Everything from Santa Claus costumes to shampoo to jewelry to olives to antiques to clothing for pets is on the block at nine shuttered warehouses and stores in Springfield, Urbana, Bloomington and Nokomis. Walking through a warehouse on Clear Lake Avenue is akin to strolling through a shopping mall in the aftermath of a tornado, with no rhyme or reason apparent in the acquisition of tens of thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – of items.

The auction includes dozens of pieces of taxidermy, including this stuffed bear.
PHOTOS BY BRUCE RUSHTON
One of the more unusual offerings is a desk that belonged to Jeffrey Parsons, THR’s president, CEO and sole shareholder. The wooden veneer desk is equipped with a  gizmo that once lifted and lowered a flat-screen computer monitor through a slot cut into the desk’s surface so that the desk looked like an ordinary piece of furniture when the monitor wasn’t being used and like something from a James Bond movie when the monitor-raising device was deployed. There is also an electric chair, handwritten lyrics to a song by the late Johnny Cash, a pair of sunglasses owned by Elvis Presley and an autograph from Albert Einstein. Secondhand watches are being sold by the bagful.

The whole shebang is being peddled in an online sale, with a catalog available at www.aumannauctions.com, where bids are also being taken. As of last Thursday, 327 bidders had registered from as far away as Africa and South America.

“We don’t even know how many millions of items there are in the nine locations,” says Kelly Aumann, proprietor of the auction company.

Many of the secondhand items presumably came from THR customers who responded to advertisements for buying events held nationwide, typically in hotels. Sources for new items ranged from Macy’s to Jordan Parsons, Jeffrey Parson’s son, according to an inventory sheet filed last June with the City of Springfield, as required by state law when retailers hold liquidation sales. THR’s going-out-of-business sale at two Springfield warehouses and the retail store called J. Parsons on the west side ended last summer after less than two months. THR paid nearly $2.9 million for merchandise that was worth more than $8.1 million, according to documents filed with the city.

While online bargain hunters point and click, Jeffrey Parsons is facing eviction from a Panther Creek luxury home owned by a limited liability corporation set up and controlled by Todd Green, a local car dealer who has engaged in several business transactions with Parsons and THR.

In addition to selling Parsons a boat and a jet with payment made in silver coins, Green’s corporation in 2011 took $100,000 as an upfront fee for the home. Parsons was supposed to pay $7,500 a month in rent, but has been late at least twice and has not paid rent for January or February, according to documents filed Feb. 5 in U.S. bankruptcy court. Attorneys for Green’s corporation are asking for permission to initiate eviction proceedings in state court.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.



Log in to use your Facebook account with
IllinoisTimes

Login With Facebook Account



Recent Activity on IllinoisTimes

Calendar

  • Tue
    16
  • Wed
    17
  • Thu
    18
  • Fri
    19
  • Sat
    20
  • Sun
    21
  • Mon
    22