Auctioneer Questions Police Motives in Tennessee Fraud Investigation

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 8, 2009 at 6:49 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Auctioneer Dean Kruse says police in Tennessee may have improper motives for targeting him and his company in a fraud investigation.

It’s related to a car auction held in that state back in June.

Dean Kruse says he has taken care of, or will soon take care of, all debts related to the June 20th auction conducted in Sevierville Tennessee.

In a written statement, Kruse suggested there might be personal reasons why police in Sevierville are coming after him.

Kruse runs the world-renowned Auburn classic car auction each Labor Day Week-end.

He disputes the notion he owes money to several vehicle sellers at the Tennessee event, telling Indiana’s NewsCenter that everybody's been paid, and if somebody has been missed, we want to know about it.

Kruse was more defiant regarding the police, saying, "The Sevierville detective is a friend of the guy that owes us $97,000 for a car we tried to repossess."

Kruse said, "This is all just a sham to give me bad press."

Kruse has also been accused by the City of Sevierville of bouncing an $8,500 check to rent the community’s event center for his auction.

Kruse says the check "beat our money back from Tennessee." He said, “I'm checking into it, and if it is still due, it will be paid."

A spokesperson for Sevierville says repeated attempts to get payments owed the city have failed, and the mayor of Sevierville confirms that a lawsuit has been generated against Kruse because of the rent check and a few thousand dollars in other expenses alleged to have not been paid.

A representative of the Secret Service in Knoxville Tennessee says that Sevierville police conferred with that office, but that the federal agency has little to do with the Kruse investigation.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Auctioneer's Association confirms someone representing a number of vehicle sellers out of Phoenix Arizona filed a formal complaint with that organization, alleging non-payment by Kruse International.

That complaint was forwarded to the Indiana Attorney General's office.

The attorney general has a policy not to comment on complaints still under review.

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