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CACHE COUNTY — He was an Olympic gold medalist, tried to be on the "Biggest Loser," opened a gym, and now Rulon Gardner is filing for bankruptcy. As a result, the Cache County Sheriff's Department cleared out many of Gardner's personal possessions which will now be sold at auction.
In 2007, Gardner took out a large loan from a California lender with plans to invest in a Wyoming geothermal energy project. He defaulted on that loan the following year, and attorneys have been trying to collect the money since. The loan totaled about three million dollars.
"Once somebody files for bankruptcy, that kind of stops things, but we're very interested to see what his bankruptcy estate holds," said Clay Alger, the attorney representing the lender. "We think it might have some valuable assets."
By court order, hundreds of personal items belonging to Rulon Gardner will now be sold at auction. As a world famous sports figure, he has plenty of sports memorabilia. Much of it pertains to his career, but he has other collectables too, and everything, it seems, is autographed.
"Yeah, there are a lot of high-end autographs," said Rob Olson, the owner of Erkelens and Olson Auctioneers. "There are Steve Young collectibles, Nolan Ryan, and other baseball figures."
Yeah, there are a lot of high-end autographs. There are Steve Young collectibles, Nolan Ryan, and other baseball figures.
–Rob Olson, auctioneer
Several vehicles are also being auctioned including a Ford Excursion and a couple of Harley motorcycles.
"It's decked out with all the Sydney Games logo," Olson said. "It's also signed by Willy G who is the senior vice president of Harley Davidson."
Among the other auctioned possessions are jewelry, guns, ammo, tools from his garage, laptops, a gas grille, and a huge safe filled with watches.
Gardner has disputed the debt, saying that he was a victim of a fraudulent real estate deal. He and his attorney's will be meeting with creditors in a couple of weeks to discuss the issue further. Gardner also wants to stop the auction, which is planned for October 27th.
For sports collectors, there are plenty of items to look through, but perhaps nothing quite like Gardner's framed photo and the Olympic judges scoring sheet when he won the Gold Medal in Sydney.
"It's the only one that I know of and here it is framed, ready for auction," Olson said. "That is definitely a unique, one-of-a-kind item which you are never going to see again."