The former headquarters of collapsed Ponzi scheme Zeek Rewards, as well as thousands of items such as country music memorabilia and office equipment, is scheduled to be auctioned off next week as the court-appointed receiver seeks to amass funds for eventual distribution to victims that suffered nearly $600 million in collective losses. The auction, which is scheduled to be held at Zeek’s former warehouse in Lexington, North Carolina, is scheduled for December 16th and 17th, and will allow interested parties a chance to bid on the schemes former warehouse and headquarters, as well as a variety of personal items seized when authorities shut down the scheme.
Back in October, court-appointed receiver Kenneth Bell sought court approval to conduct the auction, arguing that the proposed auction “will result in additional cash being deposited into the Receivership Estate’s accounts and will increase the overall recovery for claimants.” The Receiver also sought to auction thousands of pieces of personal property that had been located in the various offices seized in the aftermath of the scheme. Notably, the Receiver indicated that he anticipated “certain third parties will claim an interest in some portion or all of this property,” and requested the presence of a United States Marshall in addition to the auction company’s provided security “in the event that there are any challenges to the Receiver’s authority to auction the real and personal property.” U.S District Judge Graham Mullen signed an order approving the proposed terms of the auction in late October.
The two properties up for auction include the building that formerly served as Zeek’s primary office and an attached laundromat. In addition to the real properties, the items up for auction include an extensive country music memorabilia collection that includes autographed items, guitars, and even clothing worn by famous country entertainers including Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, and Travis Tritt. An official from Iron Horse Auction Co., which is overseeing the auction, remarked that “it’s a big collection and is drawing a lot of attention.” Both the real properties and the memorabilia collection are scheduled to be auctioned off on Monday, December 16th. On Tuesday, December 17th, a variety of furniture and office equipment will be offered for auction, including bedroom sets, office chairs, and even a “heavily soiled” love seat.
Interested bidders will not only be able to attend the auction in person, but will also be able to submit bids through an online portal established by the auctioneer company. This portal, available in two separate webpages for the Monday andTuesday sale, is currently live and the entire auction catalog is available for browsing.
Zeek property being auctioned in NC to raise money
BY MITCH WEISS
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Items owned by a North Carolina company that bilked more than $600 million from investors in a Ponzi scheme are being auctioned to help a federal court-appointed receiver recoup some of the money.
The merchandise includes a warehouse, office building and furniture, as well as promotional materials such as water bottles, coffee mugs and pens.
But half of the more than 1,000 items on the list for the Rex Venture Group’s auction next week are reminders of the owner’s country music past.
Paul Burks owned Rex Venture, which operated Lexington, N.C.-based online company ZeekRewards. Burks, 66, was a former county music disc jockey and magician, who performed in nursing homes in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Federal investigators found a massive country music memorabilia collection in 2012 after Burks’ company was shut down during a fraud investigation. The memorabilia include pictures and prints autographed by country music stars, record label awards and costumes made by an iconic Nashville designer.
“It’s a big collection and is drawing a lot of attention,” said William Lilly Jr. of Iron Horse Auction Co., of Rockingham, N.C.
The company is handling the two-day auction, which begins Monday. People can view the items on the company’s website.
A federal judge two months ago gave permission to receiver Kenneth Bell to sell Rex Venture’s personal property items at a public auction.
Bell, a Charlotte attorney, said Monday that the collection was found in a company warehouse. He said he couldn’t put a value on how much the items were worth, but said proceeds of the auction will be added to a fund for people who lost money in the scam.
The auction is the latest development in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.
Authorities say Burks was the mastermind of the scam, which attracted 1 million investors, including nearly 50,000 in North Carolina.
Rex Venture operated several online ventures, including Zeekster.com, a penny auction site, and ZeekRewards, a business designed to drive traffic to the penny auction.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which closed the operation Aug. 17, 2012, accused Burks in a civil complaint of fraud. The SEC said the scheme used money from new investors to pay the earlier ones. Investigators also say Burks siphoned millions for his personal use. But he has not been charged with a crime. He has agreed to pay a $4 million penalty and cooperate with the receiver.
Burks has told The Associated Press he couldn’t discuss details of the case, but that he never told anyone to invest more money than they could afford.
Long before Rex Venture, Burks, who grew up in Louisiana, worked as a country music disc jockey. He became friends with country singer David Houston, who had a string of country hits in the 1960 and 1970s.
In the 1980s, Houston began performing at nursing homes, saying he wanted to give something back to the community. Burks joined him, opening as a magician who also sometimes sang and told jokes. He worked with Houston until the country singer’s death in 1993.
At the time of Houston’s death, Burks was living in North Carolina.
Several items being auctioned belonged to singer Barbara Mandrell, who performed with Houston at the beginning of her career in the early 1970s. They include an outfit she wore in the mid-1990s: matching blue jacket, pants and boots. She also signed a guitar.
Meanwhile, the victims are still waiting to see if they will get any money back.
Of the hundreds of millions that were paid out to investors, Bell has recovered more than $320 million. So far, 175,000 people have filed claims.
Federal judge approves Zeek fees and expenses
Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 1:58 p.m.
A federal judge approved nearly $1.6 million in fees and expenses this week for the team recovering money connected to alleged Ponzi scheme Zeek Rewards.
The money to be paid to the team of attorneys and data consultants stems from the total being collected for “net losers” of the alleged scheme.
U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen approved about $1 million for attorneys and staff from the Charlotte law firm McGuireWoods, including receiver Ken Bell. Mullen also approved about $622,000 for staff at FTI Consulting, which the receiver hired to sort through the company’s dense and complex records.
The total granted to the receivership team is less than .51 percent of the nearly $330 million collected for “net losers” to date, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte. The money was requested for work completed during the third quarter, from July 1 to Sept. 30.
Including the latest quarter, Mullen has authorized about $5.2 million for fees and expenses for the receivership team. Bell said that amounts to less than 1.7 percent of the total recovery.
Coca-Cola Memorabilia and Collectibles Selling At Auction in Biscoe, NC
Rockingham, NC – October 11, 2013 – It was announced today that The Scott Family, the original and only owners of the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Biscoe, NC, are selling at public auction the Coca-Cola memorabilia, collectibles, equipment and real estate associated with their former business. Bottling operations began at the plant in 1909 and continued until the business was sold to Coke Consolidated in 1990. Even though bottling operations stopped in 1990, many of the Coca-Cola advertising, promotional, point-of-sale and marketing items have remained from the inception in museum quality condition and are being offered to the highest bidder.
The sale will include memorabilia from a by-gone era of independent, small town Coca-Cola Bottlers. The owner is providing a signed and notarized Letter of Authenticity and Certificate of Ownership for the collectibles and memorabilia. Some items are new and still in the original shipping cartons. All the Coca-Cola items and memorabilia are authentic, genuine, and original. Most collectibles are Coke related items but there are also Tab, Sprite, Fanta and Dr. Pepper memorabilia. Items being offered are advertising signage, collegiate collectible bottles, Coca-Cola vending machines, drink boxes, syrup bottles, Coca-Cola clocks, tins, pins, pens, drinking glasses (in original shipping boxes), drink bottle cartons, independent bottler items, Frisbees, ash trays, serving trays, umbrellas, pocket knives, bottle racks, coolers, buttons, caps, crates and napkins. Other items being offered are a 1959 Chris Craft Continental, Victor Victrola Talking Machine, numerous merchandising training vinyls (33 1/3’s) and other items and equipment too numerous to mention.
The auction is being administered by Iron Horse Auction Company through an online auction beginning on October 24 and ending on October 30. “This is an opportunity to acquire some unique, hard to find Coke collectibles that are in museum quality and mint condition. We rarely find Coke items in these quantities and in this condition.” said Thomas McInnis of Iron Horse. This sale presents an opportunity for collectors to purchase an authentic piece of American Coca-Cola advertising.
The bottling facility property and several adjoining parcels will also be offered for sale by Iron Horse. This auction will be conducted through an on-line auction with a live ending on November 1st at the First Bank Conference Center in Troy, NC. The property is being offered in 5 parcels, all located on S. Main Street and Oak Street in Biscoe, NC.
For more information call 910-997-2248 or visit our website at www.ironhorseauction.com.
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For interviews, contact:
Thomas McInnis at 910-997-1555
Iron Horse Auction Company, Inc.
174 Airport Road, Rockingham, NC 28379
North Moore High School Robbins, NC and Pleasant View Friends Church of Eagle Springs, NC to Receive Estate Funds
Rockingham, NC – July 17, 2013 – It was announced today that the Estate of Helen B. Williams has bequested her estate to North Moore High School to establish a Scholarship Fund for local students in loving memory of her daughter, Delilah Ann Williams, who was a graduate of North Moore High School and a Teacher at Elise Middle School and to Pleasant View Friends Church to maintain the cemetery and assist with upcoming projects in loving memory of her husband, George Shelton “Shell” Williams and her daughter, Delilah Ann Williams.
Iron Horse Auction Company, Inc. of Rockingham has been commissioned by the Estate to sell the physical assets of the estate which includes 50.45+/- Acres of Land, A Beautiful Country Home & All Personal Property in the home including many custom pieces of embroidery, quilts and dolls made by Ms. Williams and the Merchantable Timber on the Property.
Kathleen B. Simmons, Personal Representative for the Estate and The Law Firm of Thigpen and Jenkins, L.L.P. of Robbins, NC is handling the legal affairs for the Estate.
Thomas McInnis of Iron Horse states, “Only on a very rare occasion do we find ourselves handling the estate of such a generous member of society. To leave ones entire estate for the betterment of ones community is the greatest compliment that can be paid to an individual. We are greatly honored to have been chosen to handle this important matter for the estate and Robbins Community.”
Personal Property Auction will end on August 8th at 2pm and is Online Only. The Sealed Bid Auction will be held on August 30th at 2pm. The Real Estate Auction will be held on August 30th at 3pm. The Real Estate Bid Center and Sealed Bid Location is at First Baptist Church, in the Fellowship Hall at 651 Hemp Street, Robbins, NC 27325. Enter through white double doors.
For further information, go to ironhorseauction.com or call:
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For interviews, contact:
Thomas McInnis at 910-997-1555
Iron Horse Auction Company, Inc.
174 Airport Road
Rockingham, NC 28379