Senator Theatre Auction: 2 Views “from the inside”

Yesterday’s Letters to the Editor in The Baltimore Messenger spotlighted views of the auction from:

Paul Cooper of Alex Cooper Auctioneers

Paul Cooper of Alex Cooper Auctioneers

  • Paul Cooper of Alex Cooper Auctioneers
    “Decision to hold Senator Theatre auction outdoors was ‘good call'”
    “I was happy to see you report that a comedian was asked to say a few words before the sale. Tom Keifaber overlooked the fact that this was a foreclosure sale and not a roast.”
  • Tom Kiefaber, owner and whose family built and has operated The Senator Theatre for nearly 70 years.
    “The initial determination to hold the auction sale in The Senator’s auditorium resulted from a specific request from Paul Cooper, a principle of Cooper Auctioneers. We concurred after Cooper’s request was seconded by Larry Jenkins, an attorney for Baltimore City and the auction trustee.”
    “It was a shock when Mr. Jenkins declared that the sale was to be moved outdoors at the last minute, triggering the regrettable chaos that ensued. While we don’t challenge Mr. Jenkins’ authority to order an abrupt change to what had been agreed upon, no reason was given.”
    “…Larry Lancaster, a gifted performer and friend, was there to serve as a gracious emcee to welcome the crowd and set us all at ease prior to the main event.”

    [Editors note: Mr. Lancaster is the comedian referred to in Mr. Cooper’s letter]

We emailed some questions to Alex Cooper Auctioneers this past Monday (July 27) asking them to confirm/deny the “indoor auction” agreement as well as clarification of Baltimore City’s ability to “pause” the auction after bidding had begun. We’ve received no response as yet, but Paul Cooper’s letter appears to acknowledge that there was an previous “indoor” agreement.
Update: Paul Cooper’s response to our email:

To answer your questions:

1. It is customary to consult with the sale trustees before a sale is finalized.
2. Our clients, the substitute trustees, requested the sale be held outside.

Any other questions should be directed to the substitute trustees named in the legal advertisement.

Thank you for your interest in preserving the future of the Senator Theatre.
Paul Cooper

What is expected next?

  1. Ownership will transfer to Baltimore City when/if the courts ratify the auction results.
  2. The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) has been given the job of formulating (with the input of community & business associations located around the theatre) a Request For Proposals (RFP) in which the city seeks “qualified Respondents for the purchase or lease of The Senator Theatre”… More on that tomorrow.

A few more recent links to other Senator auction/”End of an Era” stories:

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