Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2012 at 3:26pm CDT by 36aa2238

Company: Midwest Public Auction

Location: 1901 N Westwood Blvd. Suite 164 Poplar Bluff, MO 63901

URL: www.invoiceprotectionplan.com

Category: Cars, Motorcycles, Boats, Vehicles

On or around February 15, 2012, we started getting solicitations over the phone and facsimile by Midwest Public Auction to sell some of our RV inventory at their Missouri auction facility. In July, their telemarketer, Melissa, told our Sales Manager that we ?couldn't loose? by placing our inventory in their auction because items always sell for the ?invoice amount? that we want prior to any sell as long as it is within reason AND they approve the amount. She added that if for some reason it does not sell for the agreed upon amount, their ?$40,000 Inventory Protection Plan? would cover any difference between the sold price vs. the invoice price up to $40K. She pushed the fact that it could all be done within a few days max with payment going out within 24 hours of the auction. She faxed us a reference sheet that says: ?Full Payments Available Within 24 Hours of Auction End?. Dealer references included:

Chase Motor Sports, Paducah, KY


Dylan Thompson, Owner

And a bank reference:

US Bank


Greg Whittaker, VP

Dylan Thompson with Chase Motor Sports was very high on Midewst. He offered a glowing description of how ?there is nothing to worry about. You always get what you need out of your inventory. You always get paid within 24 hours after the auction too.? He also mentioned that the owner of Midwest, Donnie M Smotherman, was a millionaire and that Midwest was ?a great place to do business.? He was quite convincing to say the least; it was in his best interest as you soon will see.

When we called US Bank, we were told that the only information they could divulge was that Midwest Public Auction was a depositor at the bank in good standing and that's it. They would not offer one more word beyond this and seemed irritated that they had been included as a ?reference? for Midwest to start with. Other supposed references were contacted but no one returned our calls. We called and spoke to Donnie Smotherman, Midwest's President and Owner. He was very energetic and sold us on their ?protection program? and the auction process. He even admitted to us that he has ?people? in the audience for every auction that ?whip up? the price of every unit.

As a consequence of Melissa's verbal sales presentation of their ?Inventory Protection Plan? trigger, along with the guarantee of selling our units for potentially even more than the invoice amount, we decided to engage with them by offering up 5 recreational vehicles for their upcoming auction. They ?reviewed? every single unit and stamped each one as ?APPROVED? for their $40K Inventory Protection. The original contract had been for 9 units and was signed by our sales manager on August 6th, 2012. We subsequently modified the number of units to be sold down to 5 on Friday, August 10th. This voided the original contract. We asked for a new contract but they did not send one to us to execute. Their drivers were waiting in our showroom Friday morning so we let them pick up our RV units which were to be sold at their auction facility in Poplar Bluff, MO on Sunday, August 10th.

Seeing that we were not under contract with Midwest, we had an employee attend the auction on that Sunday to make sure the process was in our best interest. He was very surprised to see that the auctioneer did not have any information on us, our units being sold, or ?APPROVED? invoice amounts that Midwest had authorized prior to the auction's start. Our first unit sold for less than half the agreed upon invoice amount. At that point, our employee told the auctioneer to HALT any more sales of our property. He was then escorted inside the office to make a ?cease and desist? request known to Midwest management. While our employee was in the office, away from the action, the auctioneer broke from the printed selling schedule and sold all but one of the remaining units for pennies on the dollar. They purposely deceived our employee by tricking him into moving to another part of the premises while they auctioned off our property behind his back. Once this was brought to our employee's attention, he immediately told the buyers NOT to take our Rvs from the lot for any reason. However, the units disappeared within minutes after the auction was over, again, behind our employee's back. When he asked Midwest's management where the units had gone, he was told ?they are being taken across state lines and there's nothing you can do about it. Besides, I just work here!? We found out later that it was Donnie M. Smotherman (Midwest's Owner) who said these words to our employee. We had no idea what he looked like previously so he purposely withheld his identity.

And who was it that bought the units that disappeared? Chase Motor Sports; the same group that was listed as a ?reference? by Midwest's telemarketer. Donnie M Smotherman, the President of Midwest Public Auction, and Dylan Thompson the owner of Chase Motor Sports (and possibly others) work in tandem. It is our understanding from other dealers that Chase is the main buyer at all Midwest auctions.

From a criminal perspective, we are alleging theft by deception and fraud by Midwest Public Auction which culminated in a total loss of $118,663. They acted in such a manner that we lost considerably under false pretenses resulting from Midwest Public Auction's verbal misrepresentations and deceptive actions during their auction process. Now that our units have been transported to destinations unknown and presumably across state lines (according to Midwest management), we are asking the Federal Court to consider criminal proceedings against them. We've also asked for Missouri's State Attorney General to commence with an immediate investigation into their business practices. The FBI was notified as well at 573-335-2511. We were encouraged to discover that the FBI was firmly aware of Mr. Smotherman and Midwest Public Auction.

From the Civil side, we are in communication with over 20+ motorsports, marine, and RV dealers from around the country that feel they have been ?scammed? by Midwest Public Auction. In fact, Dealernews.com penned an in depth article about Midwest Public Auction and its owner, Donnie M. Smotherman, and other accomplices that have been indicted for criminal actions in other states as it relates to ?scam? auctions. The link is located here:


We have asked for our property back but Midwest has declined any assistance. They are withholding all our money at the time of this writeup. Moreover, we have been allowed only $5,000 from their $40,000 Inventory Protection Plan. Since the ?Protection? is not underwritten by a 3rd party insurer, as they would want you to believe, but rather by Midwest themselves, they can divvy and parse the $40K as disclosed in the small print of their contract.

Be extremely cautious with Smotherman and Midwest Public Auction. They have, what others term ?The Perfect Scam? and have hurt many business owners in the process. ?Millions of dollars have been lost by dealers using their auction services? according to the dealers we've talked to. They are considered a predator and scam artist on many blogs and complaint forums on the web as well. Any search for Midwest Public Auction in Google will yield such conclusions.

In our opinion, save yourself a HUGE headache and sell your inventory in a different forum.


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