Auction for Abraham properties cancelled

Multiple properties owned by El Paso businessman Billy Abraham to be auctioned off. (KFOX14/CBS4)

The auction to sell eleven buildings owned by William "Billy" Abraham has been cancelled.

The auction was scheduled for 10a.m. at the El Paso County Courthouse, but was cancelled before it even started because he filed for bankruptcy.

This means that a trustee will be appointed, which could be welcome news for creditors hoping to get paid money that Abraham owes.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office was handling the auction.

Three of the 11 properties -- the Caples, Toltec and Newberry buildings -- were going to be sold at a foreclosure sale.

The other eight were originally going to be sold by a creditor of Abraham’s to pay off a debt of a little more than $1 million he owes for a 2015 Juan Gabriel concert. Juan Gabriel's son claims Abraham never paid his father for the concert.

The auction would have stopped once $1 million worth of property has been sold.

Anyone could have signed up to bid for the buildings, but there’s a catch.

"People that purchase the sales have until, or purchased the properties, have until that afternoon to come up with the cash," Stuart Schwartz, an attorney with ScottHulse PC, said.

After Abraham filed for bankruptcy, the city authorized the city attorney to hire outside counsel to assist in acquiring the title for the former Chinese Laundry building at 212 Overland Ave. The property is within the footprint of the purposed Multipurpose Performing Art and Entertainment Center.

Mayor Dee Margo issued the following statement:

Mr. Abraham entered into a contract to sell the property to the City of El Paso but has not been able to deliver the property free and clear of liens. Additional judgment liens were filed against the property after the contract was signed. Because the 212 Overland has been included in a list of properties subject to a writ of execution, council recommended the city explore other options to secure title including the initiation of condemnation proceedings. The filing of the bankruptcy earlier further justifies the action by city, as we try to preserve Trost architectural treasures.

KFOX14 spoke with some people around downtown about what they would like to see happen with some of the buildings.

“They're a historic part of El Paso. They're old El Paso business. They have a lot of history for a lot of people here,” Humberto Puentes said.

"I want the whole city to be like it was back in (the) 1950s,” Francisco Mendez said. “GIs, everybody roaming around the park. All the old buildings -- right now, they are nice."

"Don't tear down! Remodel it," Manny Rivas said.

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