INDIVIDUAL LICENSEE ISSUES:
Early in his auction career, and perhaps as a harbinger of episodes to come, Mr. Kunstler had a complaint filed against him by a fellow auctioneer (Theodore Carbone). Itemized below are a few excerpts from Mr. Carbone's complaint:
"I was asked to come down to appraise all the equipment and assist in the deal using my technical knowledge of that equipment. They had absolutely no experience in machinery or equipment of any type.....Their initial offering to me was a minimum of $10,000.........From the inception, I found their attitudes and morals not consistent with honest business people or auctioneers. At the point of the third sale, it became evident to me that not only were they unethical but also dishonest. There were employees as well as customers who expressed extreme regret and dissatisfaction with Mr. Kunstler's methods of operations.......Shortly after the second sale, it appeared to me that they had no intention of honoring their end of the contract. I literally paid their bills out of my own pocket....approximately $1,200 which I was not reimbursed.....nor did they pay me for my personal equipment which sold at their sale......Because of their actions, they have put me in terrible financial trouble."
The LALB ruled against Mr. Kunstler, ordered him to pay a $500 fine and remit the money due to Mr. Carbone. When Mr. Kunstler failed to adhere to the Board's directive, the Board revoked Kunstler's auction license. Meanwhile, Carbone had to procure legal counsel to force the payment issue with Kunstler. Carbone ultimately did have to sue Kunstler, and the matter was finally settled upon Kunstler placing funds in escrow.
Another complaint was filed against Kunstler for allegedly failing to provide automobile documentation in a timely manner after one of his auctions.
Yet another complaint was filed entailing the practice of alleged shill bidding.
Yet another complaint was filed alleging that Kunstler "stole" a trailer, placed it in storage and, when the complainant's father, William Wolf, went to his place of business to retrieve the trailer, the complainant states that Kunstler threatened to "shoot him" if he did not leave. The police were called out, but they indicated it was a "civil matter." In Kunstler's response to the complaint, he emphasized he'd "spoken with Jerry Pepper" (attorney for estate sale) and that there was to be no auction of the trailer. Instead, Kunstler's assertion that he would store and sell the trailer via private sale for the highest possible price. Since no auction was alleged to be involved, that left the LALB with no jurisdiction. Kunstler concluded his response by indicating to Mr. Pepper that "we will assert our right for unpaid storage and hauling fees.
Also, on Kunstler's 2005 Louisiana auction license renewal, he answered "yes," to whether he'd been subjected to prior disciplinary action in another state as well as to his auction license in other state(s) having been suspended, revoked, or refused renewal.
Kunstler has also encountered other minor issues during his Louisiana auction career. He's been fined a couple of times for trivial ad violations, and he had to respond to an assertion that Forum 35 may lack appropriate credentials to be afforded the status of a charity for auction purposes.
Most recently, Kunstler has made headlines in the auction circles in Louisiana for his having sued Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The actual lawsuit is against the City of New Orleans and Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams. Kunstler avers in the lawsuit that Assessor Williams, along with the Louisiana Tax Commission "failed to review the Parish's tax collection procedures and thereby created an "illegal" tax against Kunstler's two condominiums for which he paid $225,000 in 2003. Kunstler therefore alleges that illegal interest (as a usurious interest rate) ensured. The suit seeks refunds of the allegedly-illegally assessed excess taxes and "illegal" interest. The suit further alleges "malfeasance in office," thus permitting court costs and attorney's fees to be recovered. Jindal is named as defendant for having "known or should have known" of the practices and failing to adhere to Louisiana's Constitution (Article 4, Section 5A) and issue an executive order to remedy the alleged illegal practices.
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