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Originally published Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 4:30 PM

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Judge OKs auction for Berg's MTR bus company

By Seattle Times business staff A bankruptcy auction for MTR Western, the luxury motor-coach company owned by Frederick Darren Berg, has...

By Seattle Times business staff

A bankruptcy auction for MTR Western, the luxury motor-coach company owned by Frederick Darren Berg, has been scheduled for Jan. 12.

Judge Karen Overstreet ordered the auction after hearing from the court-appointed trustee's attorney that the procedure could accommodate bidders who are interested in the vehicles but not the company.

Attorney George Treperinas, representing trustee Diana Carey, said at a court hearing Wednesday that in addition to the already-announced offer from Seattle-based GTO, he'd received two other "expressions of interest" in acquiring MTR Western as a going concern.

Carey has said MTR is the biggest asset in the bankruptcy estate of Berg, who's been charged by federal prosecutors with running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors more than $100 million.

Selling the company as a whole could preserve about 200 jobs, Carey has said.

GTO, owned by local hospitality entrepreneur Howard S. Wright III, on Wednesday filed a revised bid offering the bankruptcy estate $5.5 million, up from the previously proposed $4.25 million with potential performance-based payments of $1 million.

That "stalking horse" offer will be the starting point for bids in the January auction.

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