Items from prostitution sting put on auction block - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Items from prostitution sting put on auction block

Tuesday, the District Attorney's office sold off items from hotels busted for housing prostitution and drugs.

Sixteen sofas sold, and piece by piece, art, vacuum cleaners and televisions followed.

"Came out to get a deal!" auction participant James Scott said.

Scott paid $225 for a room full of linen that had been seized from a hotel shutdown in a prostitution sting.

He planed to use the towels for pool party guests who do not bring their own.

"They exhaust my towels," he said. "Now I have enough new towels for everybody!"

Problem Solved? Not exactly.

As it turned out, auction rules ultimately prevented Scott from collecting his winnings. Anyone and everyone was allowed to bid in the auction, including the original owners of the hotel rooms.

In the end, the hotels went on the auction block, intact, at a price higher than the sum of all the bids on all the items combined.  Because they were willing to pay this high price, the original owners won all of their stuff back.

The law requires both the auction, and that everyone is allowed to bid. The district attorney's office said it wants to recuperate the cost of the prostitution sting and to eliminate havens for prostitution.

"This was a very blatant activity here. We're hoping after this experience that's just not going to be happening here," John Campbell of the Shelby County District Attorney's office said.

The hotels can re-open when they comply with code enforcement regulations.

The District Attorney's office is threatening closure and property loss again if drugs and prostitution once again become an issue.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney.

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