A Serbian immigrant in metro Atlanta paid $23,500 for a slab of the Berlin Wall with a storied history not only in Germany but also in Georgia.
Ray Stanjevich, who owns three Friends American Grill restaurants in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, said he heard about the auction the day before it took place. He wanted to own a piece of history but said he had no immediate plans for the wall.
The 8,000-pound slab standing 12 feet tall came to the United States in 1991 and has been displayed at various functions around Atlanta, including a 20-year Berlin Wall anniversary celebration in 2009 at Colony Square. It has been displayed at Suwanee City Hall for the past few months.
This time, it was auctioned to reimburse victims of an Atlanta-area Ponzi scheme in which local wealth manager Benjamin DeHaan defrauded clients out of millions of dollars, which he used to buy a home and invest in certain businesses.
A little more than $1 million has been recovered through the sale of Mr. DeHaan’s assets, according to Greg Hays, of Hays Financial Consulting, the court-appointed receiver in the case. Mr. Hays said the wall was unique, but it wasn’t the most bizarre thing he’s recovered in a case. He once helped authorities seize a fountain pen collection worth $2 million in Charleston, S.C. The highlight was a pen encrusted with 1,400 diamonds in the shape of France‘s Mont Blanc mountain range. The collector paid $175,000 for it; Mr. Hays liquidated it for $150,000.
For more on the Berlin Wall case, read: Now’s Your Chance to Own a Piece of the Berlin Wall.