CLAYTON, Mo. – It's another blow for a big-name auction house with deep roots in St. Louis.
A core group of employees from Ivey-Selkirk Auctioneers walked out amid ongoing complaints from clients that they're not getting paid.
One man happened to show up at the auction house in Clayton as our 5 on Your Side crew was there. He did not identify himself but said he was there to collect money eh is owed.
The St. Louis institution since 1830 once had a great reputation, but it's been sullied in recent years by Better Business Bureau warnings and complaints from customers claiming they weren't getting their share of their sold items in a timely fashion.
"It's nuts," said collector Gary Wilson. He did business with the auction house for decades, but recently got his check, months late, only after complaining to the BBB.
"It's a shame when an institution like that starts doing things of this nature," he said.
"I've worked at Selkirk Galleries for 30 years," said Terry Beye. But he and other key employees just resigned.
"Customers really had an issue with slow payment, and that kind of hurt me. I wanted to serve our customers," said Beye.
Now he and at least four other former employees are opening their own auction house in a vacant church in the Central West End.
But for Lance Kunzer, a businessman based in New York state, there's no walking away from the fight to get the $18,000 he says Ivey-Selkirk still owes him.
"They said they were going to send payment in August, and then they promised like 10 times after that," he said. "I called Mr. Ivey today, left a message stating that I will be starting a lawsuit if he doesn't pay me this week."
Kunzer's call wasn't returned Thursday, and neither was 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush's to owner Malcolm Ivey.
Ivey recently agreed to let 5 on Your Side interview him, but then backed out, saying his lawyer advised against it. In an email, he says he is in business by appointment only while he restructures.