Online auction firm goes under

The online auction company eCitydeals, which caters to municipal governments

and agencies, apparently has folded.

The voice mail message of Howard Robinson, the company's vice president

of real estate and economic development, said: "I'm sorry to announce that

eCitydeals has closed as a company."

Robinson, reached on his cell phone, declined to comment. A message left

for chief executive officer Larry Kosmont was not returned.

The Los Angeles-based company, launched in April, conducted online auctions

of surplus government machinery, vehicles and supplies.

Several municipal officials contacted in the past several weeks had said

they believed the market for online auctions looked promising even though

many said they were proceeding cautiously. Many commented that eCitydeals

was a cooperative and responsive company and very customer-focused.

Mike Coburn, contracts manager for Newport News, Va., said he didn't hear

anything about the company's closing and eCitydeals has not contacted him.

"Yeah, I'm shocked. Not a very pleasant shock. It kind of leaves me in the

lurch on things," he said, adding that the city had an auction with eCitydeals

that closed Sept. 13. Newport News had sold nearly $67,000 via the Internet,

including motorcycles, sport utility vehicles, refuse trucks, buses, cars

and a welder, Coburn said.

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