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Norton Oil equipment on auction block

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 03 2014 05:04:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 04 2014 12:20:52 PM CDT

Norton Oil equipment on auction block

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. -

A bankrupt oil company that's in the hole millions of dollars is turning to the auction block.

On Thursday, Norton Oil in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, put everything it owns up for sale.

It's the dismantling of a business--everything for sale to the highest bidder.

Lawn mowers, compressors, and plenty of tools.

"I’m more interested in the trucks and equipment than the heating and air stuff,” said Randy Rotondo, owner of Fast Lane Towing and Transport.

The equipment belonged to Norton Oil in Phillipsburg, Warren County, N.J.

Every time the auctioneer yelled 'Sold!', it was another reminder of an end to an era.

“Norton has been around a long time in P-burg," added Anthony Febbo, owner of Febbo Home Renovations. "It’s sad to see it go, but things happen.”

After 74 years, Norton Oil went under in November of 2013.

That prompted more than 200 complaints from customers who pre-paid for oil that was never delivered.

The company's owners filed for bankruptcy in December, owing creditors over $2 million.

"You've got a company like this closing down, you've got a new business starting up somewhere," said Jonathan Yeager, from Best Used Trucks. "We'll sell a lot of our commercial trucks to start-up companies."

A total of 109 items were up for bid. Some vehicles sold for over $50,000.

Many of the buyers were business owners. They say the auction is a way to find a good deal, but also a reminder that this could happen to them.

“Everybody runs their business a certain way," said Febbo. "When businesses go out the way this one did, it’s just the way they ran it. It’s all it comes down to.”

The auction company would not say the exact amount of money made, but they tell us it was a little over $250,000 -- still not enough money to pay off creditors or to reimburse customers who pre-paid for oil.