Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2006

Wickie's Wisdom

Is the Lighthouse Auction System Right or Wrong? You Decide.

By Timothy Harrison


According to the reports, the recent government auction for Smith Point Lighthouse had some suspense to it with two people bidding against each other. One bidder was registered as Angel and the other as Killer. Angel placed a bid of $35,000 and Killer placed a bid of $40,000. Then, three days went by before Angel upped the bid by $5,000 to $45,000. Within hours, Killer countered by upping the ante another $10,000 to $55,000.

On the last published day of the auction, Angel raised it to $5,000 and Killer countered with a higher bid, bringing the total to $65,000.

Now this is where it gets really strange. Although this was the last day of the auction, government bureaucrats decided to extend the auction one more day, apparently to see if they could get more money for the lighthouse. They were right.

Angel bid again and Killer countered that. The government officials were now excited and extended the deadline again for the close of the auction. By now, the auction was at $120,000. The government officials were really seeing dollar signs and extended the auction deadline again.

Suddenly, a new bidder appeared on the scene, Trimac, who bid $125,000, which was countered by Killer at $130,000. The bidding war went on as the price went up to $170,000 with Trimac at the helm. The bidding came to a halt. Trimac, whose real name is David McNally, won the auction, as we reported in the last month’s issue.

While the government raked in extra money by continuing the auction an extra day each time the bidding went up, how fair was that? Can you imagine if all the eBay auctions kept prolonging the final deadline for bidding? Can you imagine if every public auction was continually extended to bring the price up? It would wreak havoc on the private sector and destroy the auction industry.

The real shame here is that the money that could have gone into fixing up the lighthouse — or any other lighthouse — was instead used to purchase the structure. What a shame. There are many lighthouses across the nation that are in desperate need of funds. If the government is going to follow this policy, then the money raised from the lighthouse auctions should be given to legitimate nonprofit organizations that are trying to save lighthouses and so desperately need the funds.

That’s my opinion and I welcome yours.

Tim Harrison

Editor & Publisher

Lighthouse Digest

P.O. Box 250

East Machias, ME 04630


This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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