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Kiefaber's home auctioned off by state

Auction ServiceCharles TheatreTom KiefaberSenator Theatre

In less than five minutes, Tom Kiefaber said, he was left with nothing.

"They've taken my home, my principal residence. They've taken my job," Kiefaber, the one-time owner and operator of Baltimore's storied Senator Theatre, lamented Thursday morning. He was standing feet from the steps of the Baltimore County courthouse, where minutes earlier his home and 8 acres on York Road in Sparks had been auctioned off.

"My mission at this point is to retrieve my home from this corrupt nonsense," he said.

It was the most recent disappointment for Kiefaber. The theater, built by his grandfather and opened in 1939, went into foreclosure in 2009. The city bought it at auction and, in 2010, handed management over to James "Buzz" Cusack, operator of the Charles Theatre, and his daughter, Kathleen.

Last year, Kiefaber ran for president of the Baltimore City Council — a body he called "a sorry crew" — but lost the Democratic nomination toBernard C. "Jack" Young.

Kiefaber's most recent trouble is connected to the Senator. He had used his home as collateral for a loan on the theater.

He was angry about the auction, saying the city had promised to release his home back to him. But the auctioneer said the city had nothing to do with the sale. The auction was a result of a state lien, said Paul Cooper, a vice president at Alex Cooper Auctioneers, the firm that also handled the sale of the Senator.

Documents show that the city released the property from its lien in December and the state Department of Housing and Community Development appointed substitute trustees — a move typical in foreclosures — to deal with the property in January.

Kiefaber was at Thursday's auction with a video camera, saying he wanted to "make an objective public record."

Also present were Baltimore County sheriff's deputies requested by Cindy Diamond, one of the state's substitute trustees.

"She wanted us to be there to make sure everything was OK," said Sheriff's Deputy Bob Brown.

The auction finished within minutes of its 9:20 a.m. start. While more than one registered bidder was present, the property was sold for a single bid of $75,000.

The buyer declined to be identified and refused to comment.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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