More information about the auction can be found at:

http://www.rabin.com/Overview/Auction/sonora-chrysler-dodge-jeep-ram

The business started out with such promise — a new car dealership selling Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles. Full parts department. Service.

But that was fleeting.

Now, the long-shuttered business will be auctioned off next month, piece by piece, lot by lot.

For sale is all manner of stuff, from several replica Frederic Remington sculptures to a fancy leather desk chair to all sorts of motor oil and tires, new and used.

Hazel Tria, who works in auction operations with Rabin Worldwide of Mill Valley, was at the dealership Tuesday and said her company was hired to sell everything on site.

Asked about the heap of used tires at the back she said, “Oh, someone will buy those.”

Also for sale will be 40 cars — 30 them never owned but now two and three years old. Mini-vans, Jeeps, Challengers, dusty with inattention.

Tria’s husband, Craig Smith, was outside jump starting the cars to move them back from Mono Way, where they have been parked since the dealership closed in mid-2017. Also still there was the $52,000 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup that was smashed by a drunk driver last September.

Tria said she expects it to be sold for parts.

The former Sonora CDJR owner, Vince Porter, said in an email Tuesday, “I am with my wife who is Ill. We have a hearing on the 29th re our franchises. We may sell or reopen. I'll let you know next week.”

He said the hearing involves “protecting our franchises.”

What has become of the dealership has been the most-asked question for the newspaper’s Ask The Miner feature, and calls and emails to Porter — and a media representative — have been made and not returned since January.

Porter told The Union Democrat in 2015 when the business was getting ready to open he had more than 20 years experience in the car business and had owned Lodi Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram for almost two years. A representative of the Lodi dealership said earlier this year Porter had been gone from there for quite some time.

Porter intended to build a new showroom on the Mono Way site, which formerly was home to Mother Lode Motors. And he expected to hire 20 to 25 people.

But then, last Aug. 23, an eviction notice was served by the Sheriff’s Office on behalf of Centerra Capital Inc., a Modesto company that owns the property.

At the time, Porter said the closure was temporary and that he was doing some restructuring.

The building has sat unused ever since, the only people on site have been round-the-clock security guards.

Tria said her company is handling the sale for a bank, which she did not know the name of, and all items had to be removed within five days of the sale because a new business was moving in.

A representative of Centerra Capital said she had no information on what is planned for the site but confirmed the company owned it.

Larry Cope, executive director of the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority, said he has been working to fill that space and talked to the new business owner Tuesday, but the owner is not ready to release any information other than that it will be a car dealership.

Cope said an announcement will likely be made in about two weeks.

The auction of Sonora CDJR assets begins at 10 a.m. July 12 on site and online.

Contact Lyn Riddle at lriddle@uniondemocrat.com or 209-588-4541.

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