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Date of Issue: September 24, 2008

Byrne oil painting to be auctioned

How much does former Island real estate developer Robert Byrne have left to his name?

Maybe not a whole lot for the federal bankruptcy case brought last year by disgruntled investors.

But after sifting through Byrne’s reported $33 million financial statement, bankruptcy court trustee Angela Gonzalez may have finally found some personal property of Byrne’s that’s worth selling — a modern art oil painting that could be priceless, or worthless.

The court will auction the painting at an “absolute estate auction” at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Bay Area Auction Services Inc. in Pinellas Park.

Islander Kent Davis, one of the creditors in the personal bankruptcy case, said he has no idea who the artist is or how much the painting is worth.

“It could be a lot or it could be nothing. I’ve never seen it. “It’s probably the only piece of personal property the court has been able to find,” said Davis.

 As there is no reserve price on the auction, it will be sold to the highest bidder regardless of the amount. Davis did not now if the painting was a Picasso or Vidal or some similar well-known artist. Such a painting would likely bring a considerable price at auction, he suggested.

Just a few years ago, Byrne displayed a $33 million financial statement to potential investors. Last year, however, he told the bankruptcy court he had only $500 to his name.

Bay Area Auction Services can be reached at 727-548-9303.