Press statement released by City Councilor Brad Koplinski:
Councilman Brad Koplinski Introduces Legislation To Push Through Western Artifacts Sale Legislation Will Stop Lawsuit Between Mayor Linda Thompson and City Controller Dan Miller
This evening, Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski will introduce legislation that will allow for the sale of the city’s Western artifacts to proceed. The bill will allow for the final resolution of the matter, which has culminated in a lawsuit filed by Mayor Thompson against City Controller Dan Miller for his refusal to sign the contract for the sale by the Guernsey’s auction house. Mr. Miller has said that it is required for City Council to approve the contract and confirm that any financial impact felt by the city’s budget be allocated for by City Council. The sale has been approved by the City’s Receiver, General William Lynch and is part of the Receiver’s plan for the city.
Councilman Koplinski said, “It is unfortunate that the Mayor and the Controller have not been able to come together on this issue to allow the artifacts to be sold. Everyone agrees that they should have been sold long ago. City Council approved the sale of the items in 2011 by auction and the sale should not have been held up. I am happy to forge a solution to this problem that will end the unnecessary and expensive lawsuit between the Mayor and the Controller. I am hopeful that my colleagues on Council will support this measure that will put needed money in our city’s coffers.”
Mr. Miller has stated in legal pleadings in the lawsuit that “the estimated sales commissions to be paid from the gross proceeds of the sale pursuant to the contract have not been properly budgeted by City Council” as well as a belief that “a deduction of commissions from the winning bid amounts before submission of the net sales proceeds to the City is legally equivalent to the gross amount of the winning bids being submitted to the City and the City then making a separate payment to the auctioneer ‘out of the City Treasury.” Linda D. Thompson vs. Daniel C. Miller, Answer With New Matter Of Defendant Daniel C. Miller To Complaint In Mandamus, filed April 23, 2012, Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.
The legislation remedies the alleged defects and confirms the inaccuracy of that belief. The legislation confirms the fact that Guernsey’s 18% commission from the sale will be deducted from the the gross sales of the artifacts and the remainder will be paid to the City. There are no funds that will come from the City to pay the auction house – there will only be a net gain to the City of Harrisburg.
It is believed that the sale of the artifacts by Guernsey’s will generate at least $500,000 for the city’s coffers. Guernsey’s is one of the top auction houses in the world and has handled auctions such as largest collection of John F. Kennedy items ever sold, Mark McGuire’s record setting 70th home run ball from the 1998 season, and over 5,500 items recovered from the Titanic.