Board fines Blue Hill woman, denies renewal of auctioneer license

Posted Aug. 15, 2013, at 4:33 p.m.

BLUE HILL, Maine — State officials have denied a local woman a renewal of her auctioneer’s license and imposed fines totaling $12,500 for violations of laws regulating auctioneers.

The order of the state Board of Licensing Auctioneers against Angela D. Nevells, who operates Coastal Auction in Trenton, was announced on Thursday by Anne L. Head, commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.

In a news release announcing the board’s action, Head also urged the public to refrain from engaging Nevells or other unlicensed individuals in auctioneering services.

Nevells has advertised auctions for Aug. 18 and 25 in Trenton, but she may not legally conduct those auctions, Head said.

Nevells was not immediately available for comment.

The board held a hearing on June 5 into two complaints against Nevells. In an order dated Aug. 8, the panel found — by a vote of 4-0 — that Nevells committed nine violations of state law governing auctioneers. The board imposed fines of $1,500 for each of eight violations and $500 for another. It also denied her request to renew her license, for which she had applied on March 26. By the board’s action, Nevells is no longer licensed as an auctioneer.

The board found Nevells committed two violations each of failure to have a written contract with a consigner, failure to remit money and failure to account for property. She also was found to have committed two violations of the law against “gross negligence, incompetence, misconduct or violation of applicable code of ethics or standard of practice” and one violation of the law against “fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

Nevells attended a hearing the board conducted at its June 5 meeting in Gardiner and testified before the panel.

One complaint was filed by Katherine Landre of Jupiter, Fla., who asked Nevells in July 2012 to auction most of the items in her house in Bar Harbor.

According to a finding of facts contained in the board’s order, Landre, testifying by phone from Florida, said she never had a written contract with Nevells. The auctioneer never paid her or provided her with an inventory of the property, and an inventory later given to her attorney was not accurate, Landre said. Nevells, in her testimony, admitted there was no written contract. She said she paid Landre from the auction proceeds but offered no proof of payment.

The other complaint was brought by Dana Grossman on behalf of her parents, David and Carol Cook. Grossman met with Nevells at her parents’ home in Harrington in March 2012 and arranged with Nevells to auction the contents of their house, according to the findings of fact. In her written complaint dated Nov. 2, 2012, Grossman wrote that she had not received any information or payment from Nevells.

Nevells responded to the complaint in a Feb. 2, 2013, letter to the board in which she disputed Grossman’s claims. She gave Grossman a statement listing all the property sold to date and deposited a check for $2,928 into her parents’ bank account, said Nevells.

Grossman testified that she never received statements or an inventory from Nevells and confirmed that her parents’ bank account had never been credited with any funds from Nevells. In addition, the board found no evidence that Nevells had paid the Cooks.

Head said Thursday that consumers can get more information and a listing of licensed auctioneers by calling the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation’s at 624-8525 or visiting the agency’s website at www.maine.gov/pfr.

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