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Auction bidder acted on behalf of 'actual' buyer

February 10, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -The man who placed the highest bid during the auction for a downtown Martinsburg restaurant did so on behalf of a local woman who at the time did not want that information public, the man said.

Ron Collins, an insurance agent in Martinsburg, said Friday that he could not reveal his intentions after the Market House Grill was auctioned Thursday morning.

"I could only do what I was told to do," he said.

Collins said he was bidding on behalf of a friend, Janice Brody.

Brody disagreed with Collins, saying she did not know why he didn't indicate he was bidding on someone else's behalf.

Brody said she was working at her Martinsburg hair salon at the time of the auction and could not attend in person.

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Collins said he and Brody entered into a verbal agreement before the auction that he would act as her agent during the sale. Brody did not pay an agent's fee, he said.

After the auction, Collins spent several minutes answering questions from reporters. He did not say he had bid on someone else's behalf.

An envelope containing a required deposit of $5,000 in cash that Collins gave the auction company was Brody's money, Collins said Friday.

Collins said that, legally speaking, he owns the restaurant because he signed paperwork after the sale.

"I bought it," he said Friday.

Most likely, Brody or one of her relatives will buy it from him, he said.

Brody, who formerly owned a bridal shop on North Queen Street in Martinsburg, said her son-in-law and daughter will run the restaurant. She said she owns the restaurant because she paid the $5,000 deposit through Collins.

"I did buy the restaurant," she said.

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