Stanford's Tupelo building on auction next week

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – If you want to buy fallen financier R. Allen Stanford’s former office in downtown Tupelo, you’ll have to come up with more than $837,375.
Stanford’s corner-lot business center at 110 E. Main St. goes on the public auction block at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Cleveland Properties LLC, owned by Tupelo Furniture Market Chairman V.M. Cleveland, holds what’s called a “stalking horse contract” bid on the property, to get the process rolling.
Cleveland’s identity was revealed on the auction notice posted on the Stanford Financial Group Receivership website, where information about it can be found.
In April 2010, news of the auction became public for the Stanford Tupelo office, as well as properties owned by James Davis of Baldwyn, who was Stanford’s chief financial officer.
Davis’ property will not be included in next week’s event.
Stanford’s financial and personal world began to crumble in early 2009, under the weight of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
A Texas federal court put the company and its affiliates into receivership, which began to liquidate assets, including the Tupelo property.
Later that year, Stanford, Davis, Baldwyn native Laura Pendergest-Holt, who was the company’s chief investment officer, two other executives and an Aruban bank regulator were indicted on 21 counts of conducting a $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme on certificate of deposit investors.
Davis pleaded guilty in August 2009 and awaits his role as a key witness, when the others go on trial.
Everyone else pleaded not guilty, except the regulator, who is fighting extradition. Only Stanford remains in jail.
Thursday’s auction was ordered by the receiver, with proceeds aimed at bolstering payback to investors.
The Fairpark office was closed Feb. 17, 2009, by the SEC.
Its interior reflects Stanford’s taste for the opulent – green marble tile, dark wood paneling and stone accents with ornamental brasswork.
The 20,000-square-foot office building also has about 10,000 square feet of unfinished space. Fairpark Salon, within the complex, is not in the sale.
The auction is being coordinated locally by Coldwell Banker Tommy Morgan Realtors at its 210 E. Main St. office.
The “stalking horse” bid sets the threshold. If someone outbids Cleveland, the receiver will give him 3 percent of that bid as compensation, but Cleveland also can try to outbid the competition.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.