A northern Minnesota police department that had been looking forward to getting more than $40,000 for a motorized recliner has had to repost the item on eBay with bidding starting at $500.
Proctor Police Chief Walter Wobig said Tuesday that he spoke with corporate officials at La-Z-Boy a day earlier. They were concerned about the auction post using the company's name even though the chair is custom made and isn't a La-Z-Boy. The chair was seized after a drunken driving arrest, and police decided to auction it off after the owner pleaded guilty last month.
Wobig said he made an agreement with La-Z-Boy to tell people not to use the brand name. At the same time, company officials said they would allow the police department to finish the auction, Wobig said. However, La-Z-Boy had also contacted eBay, which decided to take down to item from its Web site on Monday night. Once eBay decided to take down the posting, Wobig said he had no choice but to start the auction over again.
The recliner -- complete with a cup holder, front lights, a rear tag light and motor -- was back on eBay Tuesday morning with bidding at $2,550 and two days left to go.
"I'm trying to get the bids back," Wobig said. "Everything's the same, so I hope the bidders come back."
Wobig said the whole thing was disappointing, especially because the winning bid on the first auction would have been more than $40,000. Some of the money from the auction goes to the state prosecutor, and the rest goes back to the city. Wobig said the police department had hoped to use some of the money to buy new equipment and pay for training.
"A windfall like this would have meant a lot to a small city like ours," said Wobig, adding that Proctor, like many cities, has faced budget cuts because of state local government aid cuts.
Wobig said he hopes the disappointment will end on a good note when the auction wraps up later this week, even if the winning bid isn't as high.
"Whatever I can receive for the taxpayers is more than what we had," he said.