A Divine Auction

May 6, 2010

Author: Neelima Shukla-Bhatt

Source: Sightings


On April 24, about one hundred images of Hindu deities were auctioned off at the site of the former Hindu Temple of Georgia in Norcross, GA.  The images, made of precious metal or wood, which were earlier valued by the temple at $ 4.5 million, brought $89,000 from approximately seventy-five bidders, including practicing Hindus and others. 
The temple had been in the eye of a controversy for over a year, due to several court cases regarding its financial transactions and events following its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2009.  The images were part of the public auction of the property and its assets intended to repay the outstanding debt.  Court documents suggest that the debtors had been given a chance to mend the situation, and the court-appointed trustee in the Chapter 11 case made efforts to work with various representatives and affiliates of the debtor to avoid an auction that nonetheless became inevitable.  Within the framework of bankruptcy litigation, what happened in this case is typical.  Yet the case has been viewed as “unusual” both by the trustee and reporter Andria Simmons, who has covered the story for the Atlanta Journal Constitution since July 2009.  Two aspects of the case contributed significantly to its “unusual” status.