An East Coast auction house is staging in the Twin Cities what it's touting as the sale of dozens of luxurious items once owned by multibillion-dollar swindler Bernie Madoff and then seized by federal authorities.
An advertisement in Friday's Star Tribune promises artwork will be offered at the auction Sunday in a Bloomington Hilton ballroom from the world's great painters, among them Picasso, Dali, Van Gogh, Monet, Warhol and Peter Max. The ad also lists fine jewels, watches and handmade Persian rugs, as well as signed guitars from Bon Jovi and Aerosmith.
The hotel said the sale is being put on by Eastern Classic Auctions of Wilmington, Del. Earlier Madoff auctions by the firm were held this year in the Norfolk, Va., Philadelphia and Chicago metro areas.
Madoff is serving a 150-year federal prison term in Butner, N.C., after his conviction in 2009 for bilking investors in a Ponzi scheme that resulted in up to $65 billion in losses.
Friday's ad touted the items as "U.S. Custom seized valuables," but customs spokesman Brian Bell said his agency is not directly connected. He did say, however, that Eastern Classic's previous Madoff auctions "were legitimate."
Bell said proceeds from auctions such as Sunday's go toward a fund compensating Madoff's victims.