Ken Buhler



Brief Historical Background (1984 - 2006):


By all accounts, auctioneer Ken Buhler was a well-respected Baton Rouge-based antique auctioneer up until the 21st century.  As the new century approached, Mr. Buhler, like many other budding entrepreneurs, felt the internet would fundamentally change the way antique auctions are conducted.  With that in mind, he founded a company, Go Antiques, which went public and was initially based in Baton Rouge with Mr. Buhler as President and CEO.

Initial press releases depicted Go Antiques as a resounding success; however, the company also served as Stanford Investment Group's first investment banking deal.  In reality, Go Antiques' operating results were dismal, and its Board of Directors fired Buhler in December of 2002 and, one month later, the company sought bankruptcy protection.  Predictably, Stanford officials blamed Go Antiques for its demise, while Go Antiques' management blamed Stanford.  Some local prominent investors, including Nanette Noland, who had provided $1 million in initial start-up capital in exchange for stock in the company and who was a Board Member, were obviously quite disgruntled about the way events unfolded.  They therefore sought relief via lawsuits and/or judgments against both Stanford and Buhler.

With the demise of Go Antiques, Mr. Buhler opted to go back to his roots:  conducting antique auctions in the Baton Rouge area.  He owned a large warehouse near downtown Baton Rouge where an enormous collection of antiques and collectibles were stored, both items he owned as well as items which he'd accepted from consignors to auction.  Mr. Buhler had pledged his inventory as collateral for a loan he had with Frist Bank in Eunice.  Mr. Buhler defaulted on the loan to First Bank, and the Bank subsequently attempted to seize ALL of the inventory at Mr. Buhler's warehouse (irrespective of whether it was owned by him OR items he'd taken on consignment).  Consequently, the Louisiana Auctioneer Licensing Board (LALB) had to intervene in the foreclosure process in an attempt to assist consignors with obtaining their merchandise back.  Some consignors were successful in obtaining their merchandise back; however, many were not (it had been sold with no payment to the consignors).  As a result, Mr. Buhler's auction license was revoked by the LALB in 2006.



2006 - 2010:


Ken Buhler's license was REVOKED during this timeframe due to the problems outlined above.




September 20, 2010:


  Ken Buhler Reapplies for Auction License


Mr. Buhler's license was reinstated by a vote of 6-1, with LAPA Pres. Rev. Freddie Phillips being the only opposition.  During his presentation for obtaining his license, Mr. Buhler was less than honest about his prior personal bankruptcy filing (view discrepancies at link above).




October 15, 2010:


 Advocate article - LAPA Pres. Rev. Freddie Phillips:  "Let's reconsider."


Rev. Phillips cites irregularities in Buhler's application approved on 9/20/10 regarding his qualifications for a Louisiana-resident license .




December 6, 2010:



 LALB Reconsiders Ken Buhler's License Reinstatement.  


License reinstatement reaffirmed by 6-1 vote, LAPA's Phillips only opposition despite impassioned plea by Linda Williams, past Ken Buhler victim, for LALB to NOT reinstate license (audio of Ms. Williams' testimony at webpage available by clicking on above link).




June 9, 2011:


Buhler found civilly liable in Federal Court for the fraudulent use of Interstate Commerce Instrumentalities.


Buhler has 4-day trial in U. S. Middle District of Louisiana, after which he is found civilly liable for the fraudulent use of Interstate Commerce Instrumentalities entailing his initial newest auction company, Antique Investment Group (AIG).




January 23, 2012:



 LALB Enters Executive Session to Discuss Buhler License Renewal for 2012.  


LALB enters into Executive Session to consider Buhler's 2012 license renewal due to an extensive investigation into sloppy records entailing the "Rist Hotel Auction," as well as Buhler falling behind on payments to EBRP Finance authorities for back sales taxes.  Note:  LALB Members Steinkamp and Bordelon vote NOT to renew Buhler's license for 2012.




January 8, 2013; March 5, 2013:



 LALB Schedules Hearing for Ken Buhler (and Estate Auction Services) for March 5, 2013 Entailing Complaint by Consignor Judy Fasola.  


LALB schedules hearing for Ken Buhler and Estate Auction Services (a firm owned by his father, Mac Buhler, which employed Ken) for March 5, 2013; however, that hearing had to be postponed until March 26, 2013 as a result of a lack of an LALB quorum on March 5, 2013.




March 26, 2013:



 Hearing Entailing Ken Buhler and Estate Auction Services Regarding Complaint Filed By Consignor Judy Fasola.  


LALB hearing entailing consignor complaint against Ken Buhler and Estate Auction Services.  LALB Attorney Anna Dow testifies extensively to the restrictions placed on Ken Buhler's license in 2010 in order to try and help safeguard the public





May 20, 2013:



LALB conducts special meeting in order to remove all restrictions on Ken Buhler's auction license.  


LALB votes to remove all restrictions on Ken Buhler's auction license.   The LALB took this action as a result of Ken's father, Mac, being found guilty of sloppy recordkeeping.  Soon thereafter, Mac Buhler's bond was cancelled, thus effectively putting Ken out of business because his license was a function of his dad's ability to supervise him due to the LALB's concerns he would defraud the public.  The LALB's means of remedying the problem Ken faced was to merely convene a "hearing" for the purpose of removing the restrictions on his license.





November 5, 2014; January 13, 2015; March 10, 2015; November 10, 2015; January 12, 2016:



Ken Buhler victim, Judy Fasola, confronts LALB inaction on filing bond claim on her behalf.  


On 11/5/14, Buhler complainant Judy Fasola requests to be on the LALB's agenda to voice her frustration at the LALB filing bond claims for other victims but steadfastly refusing to file one for her victimization by Ken and/or Mac Buhler.  On 1/13/15, she returns to confront the board on all the inaccuracies board members stated at the 11/5/14 meeting and state how all of the reasons they gave for not filing a bond were factually inaccurate.  On 3/10/15, the LALB responded to a letter Fasola sent in which the LALB indicated that, notwithstanding Fasola's having called them on the carpet on the inaccuracies, none of it was "relevant" to whether they'd file a bond claim, and they further indicated they had sole discretion regarding whom they file a bond claim for and whom they do not.  On 11/10/15, Fasola, LAPA Vice President Burns, and LAPA President Phillips express concern over the fact Buhler, on 6/5/15, voluntarily agreed to restrictions upon his license identical to those imparted upon him by the LALB in September of 2010 (but which were removed in May of 2013).  All three express concern that no public discussion of this voluntary action on Buhler's part has transpired with the LALB.  On 1/12/16, Judy Fasola continues to vent frustration against Buhler and the LALB upon learning that, on 11/10/15, the LALB voted to file a bond claim for Mark Muller entailing an alleged loss he suffered at the hands of auctioneer (and evangelist) Sean Leteff.








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