Auction News

Anonymous buyer scores infamous Dallas sailboat at a bargain price

Anonymous buyer scores infamous Dallas sailboat at a bargain price

benge boat
The anonymous buyer scored the boat for a song. Courtesy photo

An infamous Dallas sailboat that was put on auction due to bankruptcy has sold at what is surely a bargain price.

The going price for one 42-foot sailboat with a 4-cylinder Westerbeke marine engine, V-Drive transmission, two masts, galley, bathroom, and two bedrooms (drumroll, please):

$28,500, plus a 10 percent fee for the auction house.

Named the Whitmar, this is the sailboat that belonged to and was built by Dallas contractor James Allen "Jim" Benge, and it was auctioned off in a bankruptcy settlement. Bidding ended on August 4 at 10 am.

Benge is a contractor who has been sued by at least two dozen subcontractors whom he hired, but then did not pay after they completed the work.

Most of the lawsuits brought against him were from small operators — electricians, flooring companies, drywall installers, steel fabricators, cement pourers, HVAC firms — without the means to pursue to a legal end.

But one lawsuit by Hertz Electric and its lawyer Nathanial Martinez, of Palter Sims Martinez PLLC, won a judgment against Benge. That case went through endless rounds of appeals and delaying tactics, but Hertz Electric and Martinez finally prevailed.

Benge filed for bankruptcy and a trustee was appointed to oversee the auction of the boat, one of Benge's only assets.

Bidding for the auction, listed on Rosen Systems, Inc. began on July 28 (despite incorrect reports otherwise) and ended August 4. It drew seven bidders, with the final bid being placed at 9:56 am by a bidder identified as 3****5.

Rosen Systems is not allowed to identify the buyer. "We don't share customer information," says company president Michael Rosen.

The only requirement for bidding is a valid credit card number.

"The credit card is only for security in case the bidder balks," Rosen says. "Our requirement is certified funds. Typically our buyer will wire the funds."

Bidder 3****5 did have competition in the home stretch, with a competing bidder, m****y, placing bids in the final minutes before 10 am.