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Paula T. Dow,
Attorney General

Division of Consumer Affairs
Thomas R. Calcagni, Director

 

 

For Immediate Release:
June 29, 2011
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
Neal Buccino, 973-504-6327
 

State Division of Consumer Affairs Coordinates with Local Police to Stop Allegedly Illegal Auctions

NEWARK– An art and jewelry auctioneer who had planned to conduct business in Tenafly, West Orange, and Summit this past weekend was stopped from doing so and was cited in one town for allegedly violating state laws governing auctions.

Gavin Abadi, the owner of Balfour Park, Inc./USA Artsource, was cited by the Tenafly Police Department on Sunday for not having books and records available for inspection, as required by state law. The Atlanta, Georgia-based company, which is believed to have operated under at least a dozen other names, has been cited in other states, and in some cases had its auctioneer's license revoked, for violations it committed in those jurisdictions.

The company stages its auctions in hotels, and auction locations change weekly. Notice of the auctions generally is provided through mailings to local residents.

"The prospect of buying something at an auction, as an investment or for personal enjoyment, can be tempting. We want to make sure our laws governing auctions are followed and that records exist to verify any claims that are made about the item up for auction," Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.

State law requires auctioneers to:

  • maintain books and records;

  • make books and records available for inspection by the mayor of the municipality, the head of the police department, and/or the prosecutor; and

  • obtain a license from the municipality when selling jewelry or silverware.
The State Division of Consumer Affairs alerted the three police departments to information it had received, which alleged issues with the authenticity of some items up for auction. The items included fine art, jewelry, rugs and bronze statues. The auction scheduled for Saturday in West Orange did not take place for failure to have a permit. The auction scheduled on Monday in Summit was cancelled by the company because it did not secure a permit from the town.

"Auctions run by transient outfits are often hotbeds for frauds and scams," said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs. "This action demonstrates how quickly the Division, in partnership with local law enforcement, can act when these out-of-state enterprises refuse to comply with our laws."

Calcagni urged consumers to research fully the history of any auction company before purchasing any of its wares, and to contact the Division of Consumer Affairs if they believe that they have been taken advantage of.

Balfour Park, Inc./USA Artsource lists Abraham Avi Asher as its Chief Financial Officer. He is believed to be Gavin Abadi's cousin.

Balfour Park, Inc./USA Artsource is believed to have used the following business names in the past:

Lyndhurst Auctioneers
DA Auctioneers
D & G Auctioneers
DRJ Auction Services
State Liquidation Services
Under the Hammer
Gavins Estate Liquidations
Gavin Adadi
East Coast Financial
Eastgate Trading
S.A. Autions
Gavins Auctions
Southern Star Auction

Investigators Raquel Williams and Ediz Laypan in the Division's Office of Consumer Protection assisted the local police departments in this matter.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint, or who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website, www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov , or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.

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