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Auto auction's new owner calls first event a success

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The new owner of a long-running classic car auction in northern Indiana calls its first stab at putting on the traditional Labor Day weekend event a success.

Auctions America by RM bought the former Kruse Auction Park in Auburn two months ago and said more than 25,000 people attended the weekend event, during which sales topped $13 million.

Company spokeswoman Kerrey Kerr-Enskat told The Star of Auburn that auction events went very smoothly, both in public and behind the scenes.

Auctions America spent more than $1 million on improvements to the facility in the past month. Kerr-Enskat says the company was pleased with its accomplishments since buying the auction park that had its future threatened by former owner Dean Kruse's financial troubles.

The Indiana Auctioneer Commission permanently revoked Kruse International's auction license in May after hearing complaints about business practices that left dozens of people awaiting payment for cars and other items sold at Kruse auctions.

The panel also suspended Dean Kruse's auctioneer's license for two years, fined him and his company a combined $70,000, and ordered him to pay former clients the $300,000 he owes them.

For Kruse, the panel's actions marked the end of the classic car auctions he first hosted in 1971 in Auburn, about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne, at the company his father founded. Those auctions have drawn tens of thousands of visitors to Auburn each Labor Day weekend. Bidders competed to buy rare and classic autos, including cars once owned by Clark Cable, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

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