Belle Haven, Va. (The Daily Times) -- Thousands of acres of farmland and other assets belonging to East Coast Brokers and Packers Inc. and the Madonia family were sold at two auctions held this week on Virginia's Eastern Shore, but the new owners may not be revealed until a bankruptcy court hearing next month.
The two Virginia auctions together with two others held in Florida attracted capacity crowds and brought in a total of nearly $69 million, according to a news release.
The Virginia properties brought $16.2 million, including around $13.6 million from Tuesday's auction of agricultural properties and $2.6 million from non-farm assets sold at auction Monday.
All bids are subject to the approval of a U.S. bankruptcy court in Tampa.
Gerard A. McHale Jr., the Chapter 11 trustee in the case, called the auctions an "unqualified success."
"All of these properties were well marketed, and the auctions each day were competitive and professionally run. I believe we've achieved the best results we could have expected at this point," McHale said.
A spokesman for the auction company, Murray Wise Associates LLC of Champaign, Ill., declined to release any information about the winning bidders and said those details will be made public in a court hearing in early September.
The auction sales came after East Coast Brokers and Packers, Inc., the Florida-based produce business started by the Madonias in 1956, filed for bankruptcy in March.
East Coast, formerly one of Florida's largest tomato growers, stopped its growing and packing operations in Virginia last year.
The sales involved over 7,300 acres in Florida and more than 3,200 acres in Virginia, as well as packing facilities and labor housing.
In addition to the company's agricultural assets, non-agricultural holdings were sold at auction, including luxury resort homes and condominiums and the Red Rose Inn in Plant City, Florida.
See Also: $2 million bid for Red Rose Inn is up in the air
In Virginia, two homes in the Bay Creek resort in Cape Charles were sold at auction Monday, along with a home near Chincoteague and several other residences.
The land and building auctions are over, but a large amount of farm equipment belonging to East Coast remains to be sold at auction as part of the bankruptcy case.
The company's Florida farm equipment assets will be auctioned on Aug. 28 in Mulberry, Florida.
Virginia equipment will be sold at a live and online auction at the former Byrd Foods packing facility, 20305 Greenbush Road, Greenbush, on Wednesday, Sept. 4 beginning at 9 a.m.
Both equipment auctions are being managed by Weeks Auction Company, Inc.
"The East Coast Brokers and Packers operations were very extensive, so the inventory to be sold is quite large, including virtually every type of equipment necessary to the business of growing and handling tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons and other produce crops," said Tim Weeks, vice president of Weeks Auction Company.
More than 140 tractors are among the items that will be sold.
In Virginia, items will be available for inspection at the auction site in Greenbush on Sept. 2, 3 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A complete list of assets is available at www.weeksauction.com
. Individuals seeking additional information also may call 352-351-4951.