It was a concrete symbol of the Iron Curtain, a 12-foot tall wall that encircled West Berlin, marking the line between Communism and Democracy. A huge hunk of history, this four-foot wide portion of the wall is on display in front of Suwanee City Hall.
If you like it, you can have it. For a price.
“It is definitely for sale!” exclaimed Bill Frye. “Bid early and bid often, people.”
Frye is one of 57 people federal authorities said had been scammed by a man named Ben Dehaan and his investment company, Lighthouse Financial Partners. Together, the SEC estimated victims lost a total of $7.5 million.
Greg Hays was named to liquidate Dehaan’s assets in order to recover everything possible on behalf of the victims.
“This is actually the final asset that we have,” said Hays. “We a house and some other investments that we sold and some cash that we recovered.”
So far, however, the recovery process has returned just $1 million to investors like Bill Frye.
Built in the early 1960s, the Berlin Wall became synonymous with governmental tyranny and oppression. In 1987, President Reagan stood before the wall and thousands of cheering West Berliners, demanding of his Soviet counterpart, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Two years later, the wall came tumbling down.
Dehaan reportedly paid $90,000 for the chunk of history that now stands before Suwanee City Hall. How do you set an auction price for such a remarkable piece of history?
“The answer is, we don’t. By advertising it as an absolute auction, no minimum and no reserves, we let the market speak,” said Julien “Jeb” Howell III, president of Auction Management Corporation.
Still, scam victims like Bill Frye, who said he lost 20-percent of his life savings in the Lighthouse Financial Partners Ponzi scheme, said they are hopeful.
“The more money we can raise, the better it is for the investors,” said Frye.
Where will this wall segment end up? Hays said there’s no telling.
“We hope this piece finds a good home at a museum or a school, or some other facility where the public can learn from this,” he said.
Over the weekend… Hays and Howell discovered this section of the wall may have been painted by celebrity artist Peter Max. That could boost its worth from thousands of dollars to millions. The auction takes place in front of Suwanee City Hall Saturday. You can also bid online.