Auctioneer business practices led to arrest

Last week, 64 year-old Ponte Vedra Beach resident Robert Wayne Flemister, who once owned San Marco Auction Company LLC in St Augustine, was arrested; then released after posting a $10,000 appearance bond — insuring his return to face third-degree felony charges stemming from the way he handled customer’s money and property.

Licensed as an auctioneer business owner by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on 5/12/2010, after numerous consumer complaints, the Florida Board of Auctioneers moved to revoke “Wayne” Flemister’s state license on 11/30/2011.

Details of Flemister’s business practices first came under public scrutiny on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., when the Florida Board Of Auctioneers convened at the Casa Monica Hotel in St Augustine.

Board Chairman, Michael Moecker, and Board members H. Fred Dietrich, III, and Billy Wayne Collins, heard from Department staff members, including; Executive Director Anthony Spivey, Government Analysts Terri McEwen and Lisa Kirkland OSteen, Prosecuting Attorney LeChea Parson and Assistant Attorneys General, Khai Patterson and David Flynn.

Case Number 2010-058613

The Department filed an administrative complaint May 23, 2011, alleging that Flemister failed to either pay for, or return, six Persian rugs shipped to him by Mr. Shlomo Besharim.

Further, Flemister failed to provide Mr. Besharim a full accounting from the auctions of the rugs, and failed to keep auction funds in a separate account, as required.

Chairman Moecker made a motion for San Marco Auction to pay costs of $1033.28, ($1,000.00 for each violation) $2,000.00 fine and revocation of AB 2944 because of aggravating factors including danger to the public, no attempts to correct the violation and the length of time since the violations occurred.

Case Number 2011-003827

The Department filed an administrative complaint April 22, 2011, alleging that Flemister failed to either pay for, or return, a rug that was auctioned on behalf of Mrs. Draper. Further, Flemister failed to provide Mrs. Draper a full accounting from the auctions of the rugs and failed to keep auction funds in a separate account as required.

Mr. Dietrich moved that San Marco Auction shall pay $2,000 ($1,000.00 for each count), costs of $426.93 and restitution of $345.00, revocation of the license because of aggravating factors including danger to the public, no attempts to correct the violation and the length of time since the violations occurred.

Case Number 2010-098237

The Department filed an administrative complaint May 23, 2011, after the complainant, Mr. Wambold, contracted with Flemister to sell a Bronze statue; which sold at auction for $1,590.00 in May of 2010 — then, Flemister failed to pay Mr. Wambold approximately $1,350.00 in auction proceeds.

Mr. Dietrich moved that San Marco Auction Company pay $1,000.00 in fines, $1,455.76 in costs, and license revocation because of aggravating factors; including danger to the public, no attempts to correct the violation and the length of time since the violations occurred. Additionally, Flemister was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,350.00.

Case number 2010-048299

The Department filed an administrative complaint May 23, 2011, charging that Flemister failed to execute a written contract with Mr. Chatel prior to the consignment and auction of jewelry. Mr. Chatel is owed over $2,305.00. Flemister made a partial payment that was made in the form of a check drawn from a non-escrow account.

Chairman Moeker made a motion requiring San Marco Auction Company to pay fines of $3,000.00 (three counts) costs of $626.00, revocation of license because of aggravating factors including danger to the public, no attempts to correct the violation and the length of time since the violations occurred, and restitution in the amount of $2,305.00.

Case number 2011-002419

The Department filed an administrative complaint May 2011, after the complainant, Nir Shaham, contracted with Flemister to consign merchandise. After sold, Flemister owed Shaham approximately $23,000. Flemister submitted checks several times. Both checks were returned for non-sufficient funds.

Mr. Dietrich moved that San Marco Auction Company pay fines in the amount of $2,000.00 (2 counts), costs in the amount of $752.00, revocation of license because of aggravating factors including danger to the public, no attempts to correct the violation and the length of time since the violations occurred, and restitution in the amount of $12,871.00.

Chairman Moecker moved to add an additional aggravator because of Flemister’s failure to use an escrow account, as required by law, the misuse of funds and the severity of the offense.

Case Number #2011003091

The Department filed an administrative complaint May 2011, after two sisters, Mrs. Hardie and Mrs. RauHofer, contracted with San Marco Auction Company on August 25, 2010, to auction items from their mother’s estate.

Flemister conducted an auction on September 26, 2010. Many of the items were sold. The sisters never received payment for the sold items — or an accounting of what was sold and what was left unsold.

Chairman Moecker moved that San Marco Auction Company shall pay $2,000.00 in fines ($1,000.00 for each count), $657.28 in costs and revocation of the license because of aggravating factors of the severity of the offense and failure to respond to the subpoena, and $941.85 in restitution.

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