Valley Investments property sold at auction
Philip Rand Lochmiller’s trash was Debbie Dunham’s early Christmas gift.
When FBI agents sorted discarded items in a Dumpster behind Valley Investments’ office at 1445 N. Seventh St. in Grand Junction, they came across an undisturbed, clean red box that held a pearl and diamond-studded ladies Rolex watch, according to a local attorney.
Lloyd Quesenberry, whose law firm was appointed to the receivership of Valley Investments’ estate, said the FBI later linked the watch through sales records back to Valley Investments.
Appraised at $2,500, the Rolex was sold at auction Saturday morning for a cool $1,300 to Debbie and Paul Dunham of Clifton.
“Apparently, he thinks it’s a good deal,” Debbie said. “Needs a battery, though.”
Power may or may not be an issue for a golf cart that was pulled out of a shed owned by Valley Investments in Mack at the Country Living Park. “It’s like your first wife … you get her home, and that’s what you’re going to get,” auctioneer Steve Claypoole yelled over a public-address system, opening bids on the golf cart. He unloaded it in about a minute for $1,000.
An antique fire truck, two Cadillac sedans and a sea of knickknacks were offered, and some sold, at auction Saturday in Country Living Park, a mobile home park that was operated by Valley Investments.
The Cadillacs sold for a combined $7,600, while 76-year-old Bob Tillotson made the trip from Granby to successfully bid on a 1955 GMC fire truck, hose and sirens included. “Lower Valley Fire” was scrawled on the passenger and driver-side doors in faded paint.
Tillotson, who paid $2,400 for the rare truck, said he’ll have it hauled to Granby, where it will join his roughly 50 other collector vehicles.
“I’ll fix it up, paint it, maybe put it in a parade,” he said.
For the few high-dollar items, several auction attendees panned the offerings from Lochmiller’s business venture as trash. Mounds of old sheet rock and siding, stored away in a shed, were sold together in one transaction.
Lewis Anderson, who made the trip from Cedaredge, wasn’t impressed.
“My girlfriend made the observation, ‘Isn’t that what (Lochmiller) was?’ Trash?” Anderson said.
Approximately $51,000 was raised from Saturday’s efforts. Proceeds will go to the coffers of the receivership estate, while a good portion of the auction dollars will end up paying professional fees and various court-mandated expenses, Quesenberry said.
Valley Investments clients who lost money in high-yield investments offered by Lochmiller and company are unlikely to see much from Saturday’s auction.
The receivership has estimated about $5.5 million in total assets for Valley Investments might be recovered. Some 400 investors lost more than $30 million, and several of them turned out Saturday to watch, not to bid.
“I can’t buy what I need to buy,” said one investor, 77, who spoke on condition he not be named. The Grand Junction man said he handed over nearly $1 million to Lochmiller over several years, starting in 2003, and now holds first-trust-deeds that authorities assert to be worthless in what they have alleged was a Ponzi scheme.
Victims were told their investments were secured by deeds of trust, presented as collateral, Quesenberry said.
“It’s certainly possible there might be 10 deeds on one of these trailers,” he said, pointing to a lone unit in the Mack mobile-home park. “It’s the receiver’s position that they can’t all be valid.”
Lochmiller along with his son, also Philip R. Lochmiller, along with an employee, Shawnee Carver, were indicted by a Denver grand jury last week on multiple charges.