PORTLAND -- The state attorney general sued a Portland auctioneer and antique dealer Thursday for defrauding her customers and of elderly abuse.
John Kroger said in his lawsuit that Lucy Knopf, owner of AAA Team Auctions at NW 8th and Flanders, used multiple business names to hide her deceptive practices.
Fees she charged customers exceeded the amount of money they got in return for items brought to her shop. Kroger includes an elderly victim in his suit.
"Even if you are a savvy customer, you might get ripped off," Kroger told KGW.
Contacted at her shop, Knopf declined comment.
Customers told KGW that they signed agreements with Knopf to sell their antiques and personal items and then pay Knopf a small percentage of the sale.
Darlene Baker, daughter of a victim included in the suit, said Knopf "gets the money herself and no one else gets it.”
Knopf promised to sell a lot of her mother Baker's mother's personal items. Her mother was 93 at the time and has since passed away.
“She had a silver tea set that Knopf took, art deco stuff that was in the 20’s and 30’s and her life collection of books which there must have been at least 400,” said Baker.
Though Knopf was supposed to let the Bakers know when she sold her mother's items, Baker said Knopf never called once.
"I’m angry because Lucy Knopf held my mother’s possessions hostage until we paid her some hefty fees," said Baker.
"My mother said 'why should I have to pay for them, they were mine to begin with?' and I said apparently when she took them they became hers," recalled Baker.
Kroger said Knopf's deception extended beyond the fees, and that she used numerous business names over time “to confuse consumers and attempt to conceal the multiple complaints against her.”
"So what we have," Kroger said, "is an on-going pattern going back a number of years trying to rip people off, take advantage of them including senior citizens and that obviously has to stop.”
Kroger wanted Knopf to pay a fine of at $25,000 for each count in the suit and pay back the people who claim she owes them.
He also wanted her to stop using different business names to conduct the same activities from the same location.
Go here to file complaints with the state Attorney General's office.
Have a consumer complaint you want KGW to know about? Call (503) 226-5041 or send an email to email@example.com.