The auction required a letter of credit from the bank and a certified check in the amount of 5 million made out to the Bank of New York as a deposit to be able to bid. The check was written on one of our escrow accounts. They were the owner’s representative and were conducting the auction. Most likely the owner had other major financing with them or an open line of credit and the property was collateral.
Jeanna had delivered the check at ten. I was surprised that she did not come to the auction, but then I found out that she was having a business luncheon at her house with out of town managers.
Marcy, Jason and I went into the building where they had set up the registration desk, filled out the paperwork and gave the security deposit and letter of credit to the official. I had not opened the letter until I prepared to hand it to the banker. Jeanna had written the credit limit for 30 million. I showed the letter and the check to Jason saying “Our limit is for the two together.”
As a teenager I had accompanied Dad to several auctions. They always had the best tasting hot dogs, hamburgers, crab cakes and in the summer, the best hand-cranked ice cream around. Local churches and fire department Ladies Aux always did the food at these events as fundraisers.
Dad had taught me the basics of bidding, even letting me buy some small things. I remember the first time he let me buy a bike so we would have an extra one to let my friends go riding with me. It was the proudest day of my life to hold up the buyer’s number when the auctioneer yelled “Sold.”
It had been so long ago I did not think I was up to the task on something this important. I asked Jason to do the bidding. To my surprise he declined and said, “You face the auctioneer and I will face you. I will tell you when to bid but you are doing the bidding. Do not bid unless I nod to you.”
While we were waiting for the auction to start Chuck Rustone from QT Banking and Trust – the bank we had used to buy the gym and where I had my personal checking account – came over and we talked. Mostly it was about Jake and how he was doing, when I was expecting him to come home. I did not have much information to give him other than the general things I knew.
The auctioneer started reading off the procedure for the auction; the dimensions of the property, the building and the property restrictions. He then opened the bidding at 20 million. After jawing around with no takers he started going down. He ended up at 1 million before someone bid. He carried out the verbal dance for 2 million before Jason signaled and I bid 2. Someone bid 3, then from the side 4, and then I bid 5.
Chuck, who was still standing beside me, turned so he could watch Jason and me. The auctioneer worked to get 6 and I came back with 7 as soon as he turned, before he could blink. He worked the crowd trying to get 8 and finally did. A guy down in the front went for 8.5 and I had my hand up for 9 as soon as he looked.
The auctioneer worked the crowd again trying to get 9.5, with no takers, and dropped to 9.25. No one took the 9.25 even after he tried for five minutes before he finally said, “Sold.”
Chuck shook my hand and said, “Congratulations, if you need us we are just down the street.” Marcy sent a text to Jeanna, Jenny and the rest, “It went for nine and we own it!”
The three of us went back inside to fill out all the paperwork and write the final check for 4.5 million. There were $500,000.00 in taxes and fees that the buyer had to pay on a property sale that large.
Among the many papers we received was the original engineering drawings of the shopping center; dozens of different ones all rolled up and tied. At the office, I laid them out on the table intending to go through them over the weekend just for fun.
Friday night was the last big dinner. Marcy rented the largest dinner room at the inn and paid for a full course meal. Janice and Lisa and their families were to be there along with all my mates and all the families.
Midwestern Bank and MAAR were going to announce that they were going to complete the full scholarship for Janice and Lisa to go to college at AACC.
The rest of the weekend went that way; celebrations, parties and family get-togethers, one after another. I had to work at the college on Saturday in my official capacity as head of security. There were no problems; it was more of a public relations day for my department.
All but a few of the students would be gone after today. Many had cleaned out their dorms already. All the possessions that they wanted to take home were boxed and bagged waiting for their parent’s car.
The HR and IT departments had dumped the job of accounting for all the college’s student issued electronics and laptops on my department. It came in the form of an e-mail three weeks before graduation along with a list of all the equipment and serial numbers.
By some small miracle all had been turned in by graduation. I would have felt bad to be cause of a student not being able to walk across the stage and that was the penalty.
I did get to sit with the families of my mates when they walked across the stage. I was as proud as any of the parents. The discussion of our family business and each of their involvement with the parents had happened several times. There was only one discussion of the rings; it came from Vicky’s mom, but all eyes and ears were on the conversation.
Vicky as innocently as she could said, “We are one big family and the rings are a symbol of our commitment to our family.”
One important and surprising thing did happen late Sunday. I had been so busy that I had not asked how the interview sessions went with Roseanne and Corry. I gave them a hug and congratulations as they came off the stage. They were whisked away with family before I could talk to them.
Sunday afternoon after most of the people had left I got a few minutes to talk with my family and some the conversation about the interviews.
Marcy said, “You should have been there. For Jason’s assistant interview he gave all the applicants 10 pages out of the new HR manual we have been putting together when they started the interview. He let them have ten minutes while he was reviewing their resumes to read and digest the material.”
“Then he gave them four what if issues and they had to argue the pros and cons of each based on the information in the 10 pages. Roseanne aced it. Her being on the debating team was perfect training. Jason wants her for his assistant. And Corry, I think we are going to try as an administrator. She handled the test and data interpretation as good as any of the other applicants,” she said. “And she offers suggestions for improvements to the work flow and got along very well with Susie Q, Sabrina and Janice.”
“They both know they have jobs but not what they are yet. They are starting Tuesday,” she said.
Edit by Alfmeister