The $6.5 million contents of the buildings at Casper, Wyo.-based Teton Homes Corp. were sold for slightly more than $1 million at a Sheriff’s auction last week.
According to a report in the Casper Star-Tribune, Zions First National Bank made the only bid for the personal property and fixtures – excluding motor vehicles – and its attorney signed the paperwork after the auction.
Equipment on the auction block included woodworking machines, welding systems, work platforms, a 25-foot by 65-foot paint booth, ventilation systems, monorails and hoists, lockers, office furniture, raw materials, and three patents and three trademarks.
The equipment was sold as one lot, and Zions took it all, according to the newspaper.
“Zions had the first lien on the real and personal property,” bank attorney Durham said. Only the personal property – basically anything that can be picked up and moved – was sold.” The future of the buildings is uncertain, he added.
Durham wasn’t sure what the next step would be in the aftermath of the 41-year-old company known for its high-end fifth-wheels bought by movie stars and royalty including Robert DeNiro, Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.
The company was founded in the late 1960s by Robert “Boots” Ingram, who sold the controlling share of the company to Webster Capital Investment Co., in 2005. Webster Capital borrowed $8 million from Zion’s Bank in April 2005, and the note was signed by Webster general partner and Teton Homes Corp. President Charles Larkin.
Last month, Webster Capital announced Teton Homes was contemplating a substantial restructuring but no layoffs. But company officials were telling customers that the company was shutting down. The closure meant that warranties on the all Teton Homes products were void, according to an employee who responded to questions on Sept. 15.
Meanwhile, Teton Homes defaulted on the loan, owing over $6 million. Larkin did not return a call from the newspaper.
Teton Homes’ CEO Chris Braun attended the auction, but said he could not comment. Braun referred questions to Teton Homes official Tom Kim in Colorado. Kim did not return calls requesting comment.
Local business leaders voiced their puzzlement about the fast collapse of the renowned company with 150 employees.
“Yes, it is a surprise,” said Robert Barnes, president of the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance (CAEDA).
Barnes heard the rumors a few weeks ago about possible problems at Teton Homes and was assured the business was restructuring but would not endure layoffs. “We reported that to our executive committee,” he said.
CAEDA and other officials visited the company in late spring to find assembly lines building both high-end recreational vehicles and skeds for oil field man camps, Barnes said.
Other RV manufacturers have fallen on hard times, but Barnes thought the dual revenue streams from RV buyers and oil field service companies would sustain Teton Homes, he said.