Northwest Territorial Mint is reorganizing
Laura Tennant, Dayton historian
“No one knew in Lyon County that Medallic Art, later, Northwest Territorial Mint, in Dayton, went bankrupt because their CEO and owner was running a Ponzi scheme and had sold all the gold, silver and other precious metals that they were storing for customers and then he got sued and lost millions of dollars in a law suit, which he lost. It was for defamation of character of another businessman and he was supposed to come up with a million or so dollars immediately and that is when the sad news hit that he and his wife or girlfriend were bilking the business out of millions and millions of dollars.”
When Stony and I heard from a friend that Northwest Territorial Mint of Dayton and its associate company, Federal Way, in Auburn, Washington, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March this year, we were concerned since we had bought gold and silver from them in 2012 and had left the product in storage at their facility.
We had a right to worry because we will be lucky to get a dime back from our retirement investment of thousands of dollars. I am revealing our tale of woe in case other local investors are not aware of the situation and to remind others to do their homework before investing their hard-earned money.
Today, according to their website, Northwest Territorial Mint, has reorganized under the management of a U.S. court trustee, Mark Calvert and the company is no longer selling bullion; however, they will continue custom minting, the specialty line of product for which they have been recognized for more than 100 years.
To re-establish their former excellent reputation, company president Paul Wagner is working with Calvert and they are optimistic about their future and are making decisions to get the company up and running again and are optimistic about their future. I wish them well.
NWT bankruptcy startles investors
According to bankruptcy court records that have been released to the public, Northwest Territorial Mint has sold millions of dollars of gold and silver bullion and other precious metals to customers but the product itself had never been delivered to their customers.
We had believed our gold and silver was in storage at their mint, because that was an option we had and this purchase of precious metals was an investment that we could easily resell through them at a later time. Unfortunately, little of any customers’ bullion was actually in storage – the cupboards were bare at the mint.
Seattle Times reported
The Seattle Times business editor, Rami Grunbaum, had written one of the first stories about the company filing for bankruptcy. He said, “The move came a month after the company and its owner, Ross B. Hansen, were hit with a multimillion dollar jury verdict in a defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit brought in Nevada by a Los Angeles businessman.”
“The federal judge’s order in the defamation case indicates the judgments against Northwest Territorial Mint and Hansen totaled $38.8.”
The judge ordered Hansen to pay $2.5 million immediately; instead, he filed for bankruptcy protection.
On May 11, U.S. Trustee Calvert, met with some creditors who have established a website, existingbullionorder.com, to provide customers with information about the bankruptcy and steps they can take to submit proof of their losses. Ross Hansen is no longer with the company.
Money Metals Exchange reports
On May 23, the Money Metals Exchange updated the Northwest Territorial Mint’s status. “The losses to customers who never received delivery of orders plus the losses of other creditors could be has high as $50 million, according to new reports,” and that Calvert recently estimated the firm has $56 million in liabilities and only $6.4 million in assets and he figures the recovery for unsecured creditors will be less than 10 percent.”
The writing is on the wall
We have hired an attorney and have already paid $1,800 for their investigations, which indicate that Northwest Territory Mint, under Hansen’s management, had scrubbed many of their files prior to filing the bankruptcy and our 2012 purchase of gold and silver is not in their financial records. We have a copy of our contract with them that our attorney has submitted to Calvert’s attention.
Incredibly, records for customers, who had more recently bought gold, silver or other precious metals, remain in tact so these investors will have a chance to recover funds or products; however, with the millions of dollars the company owes to creditors, compared to their current assets, shows there just will not be any money left over for some of us.
Stony had understood that Northwest Territorial Mint had our bullion in storage and we could retrieve it at the going rate for gold or silver whenever we wanted; yet, when Stony went in a year ago to get our bullion, we got a lot of bull and the representative noted we would have to take medallions and it would cost us $8 apiece, so we felt we were better off leaving the bullion there because the price of gold or silver might increase and we might break even.
Investing in precious metals is a gamble no matter whom you buy from and that is the way it goes.
Check out Federal Way in Auburn, WA and Nevada Territorial Mint to read the whole story. It really is incredible!