On June 13, SCM received the following emailed press release from Russo and Steele regarding a 12-acre parcel of land currently under dispute by the firm and the other Scottsdale-based auction house, Barrett-Jackson.

Scottsdale, AZ (June 12, 2007)- Russo and Steele has held the same parcel of land since 2002 and after reapplying for their parcel of land, located in North Scottsdale just South of the 101 Loop Freeway and East of Scottsdale Road, from the State Land Department Russo and Steele discovered that Barrett-Jackson is not happy with just Westworld, but now is applying for their parcel for vendor trailer parking.

Over the last six years, the State Land Department has renewed Russo and Steele’s lease without incident. However, due to the growth of Russo and Steele’s event, they submitted an application for renewal this year that encompassed an additional section of land on November 6th, 2006. This expansion required them to submit a new application for both parcels. The additional section of land required a revised application that was submitted on March 22, 2007 and which included a fully certified site survey, all applicable fees and an endorsement letter from the City of Scottsdale Economic Vitality Department. Then in February of 2007, as requested, Russo and Steele prepaid their estimated lease amount.

On May 3rd, 2007 Barrett-Jackson submitted a conflicting application for the exact same parcel. On June 6th, 2007 Russo and Steele were advised by the State Land Department of Barrett-Jackson’s application. This action by Barrett-Jackson has now caused Russo and Steele’s application approval to be delayed and will further trigger a lengthy administrative review process. Despite Russo and Steele’s confidence that their claim and arguments will win out in the end, there is still the chance that the lease may go to sealed bid. If this occurs, Barrett-Jacksons vast financial resources will undoubtedly give them the upper hand.

The facts are clear:
1.Russo and Steele has set a precedent of occupying this location for the past six years in good standing.
2.Russo and Steele’s application was submitted well in advance, and the lease payment for the previous parcel has already been accepted by the State Land Department.
3. Two years ago The City of Scottsdale purchased 52 acres specifically for Barrett-Jackson’s parking and storage needs, since no other event at WestWorld uses nearly as much.
4.This action by Barrett-Jackson can only be interpreted as a malicious, intentional, and anti-competitive act.

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