Businessman Edward Butler lost control yesterday of his 5-year-old catering facility, the Palladium, when representatives of the Resolution Trust Corp. acquired it at auction with a bid of $1.4 million.
The auction of the castlelike property at 2900 Liberty Heights Ave., one of the few minority-owned catering facilities in Baltimore, was a foreclosure sale on behalf of John Hanson Federal Savings Bank, which was placed in conservatorship last month and is now under RTC control.
Hanson began foreclosure proceedings more than two years ago, claiming that Mr. Butler's group had defaulted on a loan of more than $1.4 million. Yesterday was the third time the building has gone on the auction block; the previous two times Mr. Butler made last-minute payments to satisfy the first mortgage holder and the auction was canceled.
Jerry Whitlock, a trustee appointed by John Hanson, said that the RTC and Hanson officials will work jointly to find a buyer for the 30,000-square-foot facility, pending ratification of the foreclosure sale by the Circuit Court of Baltimore City.
The auction, by A. J. Billig & Co., was expected to have no immediate effect on bookings at the facility, since the previous owner retains title to the property until the sale is ratified.
Furnishings and equipment inside the building were not up for sale, although the auctioneer, Jack Billig, indicated that they may be auctioned off in the near future.
The auction attracted two dozen bystanders but generated little bidding.
One prospective buyer was Raymond V. Haysbert Sr., chairman and chief executive officer of the Parks Sausage Co. Mr. Haysbert also heads Forum Caterers at 4210 Primrose Ave., a facility that can accommodate up to 650 people.
Mr. Haysbert said that he is interested in buying or leasing the Palladium, which can accommodate up to 1,000 people, and plans to discuss the matter further with RTC representatives.
He said that he believes the Palladium is an important anchor for the Park Circle business park, where Parks Sausage Co. is located, and would like to see it continue as a minority-owned catering facility.
It's "a matter of community pride," he said. "That's why I would be interested in it."