The thrifty, the nosy and the curious turned out in droves at the estate sale of bankrupt Richmond socialites Allen Meade Ferguson Mary Rutherfoord Mercer Ferguson.
The sale, the proceeds of which will go back to the bankruptcy estate to pay creditors, began Thursday and was scheduled to run through the weekend.
People rummaged through the Ferguson’s 6,100 square-foot home, which sits at 6111 Three Chopt Road, just up the street from Country Club of Virginia. Almost everything in the house was up for sale: furniture, china, rugs, books, art and a ton of knickknacks and trinkets. The home itself is under contract, listed at $1.69 million.
Traffic was heavy enough for the sale early Friday morning that parking was hard to come by on nearby side streets. And just about every room in the house, the two-story guesthouse and the detached garage was occupied by bargain hunters and tire kickers, an indication of the interest in the Ferguson’s story.
The couple, known for Allen Ferguson’s ties to an old Richmond investment banking firm, Mary Ferguson’s family rug business and their philanthropic efforts, declared bankruptcy in March, their wealth having apparently eroded.
In addition to the liquidation of their personal assets, their business interests, which include the rug businesses and some commercial real estate, are set to be auctioned next month.
Their personal bankruptcy case is still being unwound after at least one lender discovered recently that the Fergusons allegedly admitted to the bankruptcy court that they exaggerated their net worth in attempt to secure loans.
A lawsuit filed by Union First Market Bank in September claims that Allen Ferguson, who is the former chief executive of old-line bond firm Cragie Inc., admitted at a creditors meeting that a $2 million bond account and $1 million in deferred compensation listed in financial statements “simply did not exist” and that the statements were provided with the intent to deceive the bank.
Several other banks have filed extensions with the court in order to investigate similar claims, according to court filings.
The estate sale is being managed by a local franchise of Caring Transitions, a national estate sale company. The bankruptcy trustee was tasked with hiring the company to run the sale. It is compensated with a percentage of the sale’s proceeds.